If you aren’t one of the 14 million views on Hyuna‘s MV Bubble Pop!, then I really want to know how comfortable that rock is. Hyuna had to abruptly stop promotions for “Bubble Pop!” because of them, and had to move on to promoting her second single, Just Follow. Ever since, Hyuna’s been closely followed and Bubble Pop!’s still fresh on the minds of many. Outside of the obvious “obscenity” controvery that surrounded the song, Hyuna’s style concept has been hotly debated as unoriginal. Her accused muse and “inspiration”? Why, it’s the princess Lee Hyori, of course.
Lee Hyori was a member of the old school Kpop group Fin.KL (Fine Killing Liberty) in the late 90s. They were created as competition to S.E.S, who debut with massive success and took Korea’s CD players by storm. After Fin.KL’s 4th album in 2002, Hyori went solo with her first album a year later, “Stylish…E”. This album swept the prestiged “Artist of the Year” awards in Korea and spawned the recognizable singles “10 Minutes,” ” Hey Girl” and “Remember Me.”
Hyori’s image and concept was a “street meets glamour” look. Lots of denim, simple t-shirts, and at times a sporty urban feel. Hyuna even has Hyori’s (admittedly light) tan, something very few Kpop girls adopt due to the beauty ideals of soft, pale skin. Hyori (and Hyuna) definitely embraced the image, and kept the makeup relatively light or only enhanced her eyes. Jewelry was usually something dangly, shiny and trendy, and was very popular at the time. Her hair was kept long, flowing and surrounded her appealing facial features. Her clothes enhanced her legs and other “assets”, yet kept her approachable and cool. Sometimes she dressed up a little or added more accessories, but her overall aura was a stylish, hip and urban glam one. No matter what she rocked, it was usually kept simple and her trademark was pretty obvious.
Watch her“10 Minutes” video and that was essentially her image for the majority of her debut. Hyori’s also had many photoshoots and CVs using the same image, so it’s pretty much ingrained in stone that when you see this look, it’s undoubtedly Lee Hyori. First impressions are very powerful, after all.
Then came Bubble Pop!. Hyuna crashed the party with a similar street meets glamour look, complete with simple tops, sparkly, trendy jewelry and denim. Her high heels and red lipstick signified the glamour. Even her mannerisms were similar to old school Hyori’s. She looked at the camera seductively while swinging her long hair, and her clothes also enhanced her assets. Watch a few of Hyori’s old videos and then “Bubble Pop” right afterward. You can feel the same aura there, and even Hyuna’s promotional pictures for Bubble Pop have the same style. As a fan of both artists, I will admit that it does seem like Hyuna’s concept is eerily similar to Hyori’s old one in many ways. However, it’s just not enough to be a complete clone.
Hyuna’s stylists could have definitely been influenced and inspired by Hyori. Hyuna rocks the concept just as well as Hyori does. Hey, 14 million views can’t be wrong, right? Still, Hyuna brings her own charm to the table, and as similar as the two seem at first glance, there’s a difference, and both remain unique. I have both “Bubble Pop!” and “U-Go-Girl” in my playlist, and in the end, that’s all that counts. Don’t let the controversy cloud your judgment and appreciate both artist’s brands.