Gang Kiz was probably a WTF moment in K-pop. They debuted under the shadow of T-ara, sang like T-ara and danced like T-ara. Since they had little of their own, people didn’t pay enough attention to even get them in top 100. They still have to define their image, musical style and selling point. The debut was too soon and it was obvious they were not ready. Probably thinking that maybe they could save something with little money, the recyclers from CCM did what they do better and put out another video for the group (and by another, I don’t mean different):

Let’s try and talk a bit about “Mama” as a self-standing material. The track is awesome: it has the sultriness from “Honey Honey” exploited to the maximum without giving up the spirited cheerfulness. The melodic line hints at the pop, retro sound they included in their album, but the gloominess that constantly shadows the song sets up the depressing mood. The girls do anything to get over their messy break-up, but shopping, partying and hot boys just won’t do it anymore. The whistle is by far the best part of the song. Their voices have a special quality which makes them recognizable; I still don’t have a clear image on what these girls can pull out, but so far, so good.

While the track progresses, the production gets sloppy. The track is the same all throughout and doesn’t have a climax. By the time the second half kicks in, boredom installs. The whistle bit is overdone, the musical layers don’t harmonize anymore and what could have been Gang Kiz’ saving grace turns out to be a mess. The lyrics are no exception. The song’s most enjoyable part, both in terms of music and lyrics, lies in the first verses:

Again today, I get my hair and makeup done
I meet my friends and go party
But why are tears forming?

It’s not heartbreaking, but it conveys very well the feelings they are trying to induce. As the song though, the useless bits take over most of the time and make me unwilling to pay attention. The repetitiveness and the joke that is the “Eotteohkhe?” don’t build up to anything spectacular. Not to mention the awkward rapping, that goes from childish to pathetic:

Tell me MAMA, my heart hurts
I hurt more than the TV, movie, dramas (…)
The more I shine, the darker I get, I’m afraid of myself

The video is another bunch of shots from “Honey Honey” put together (+ a few extras). You know how the MV was made of ramblings and a bunch of nonsensical scenes clumsily assembled? This one actually has a point. The emptiness that the video emitted nicely fitted the lyrics. Unlike the song, the girls finally get over their break-up and before-and-after shots show how much happier they are now. Not very consequent, but I’ll let it slide.

“Mama” draws attention to one particularity that I ignored before: these girls can pull the sexy concept just right. The drama version has no dance, but the scenes display some of their natural charm. It never looks forced, but normal, intuitive and authentic: playing with their hair, getting a coat over their lingerie or smudging their lipstick. It’s even more entertaining since the video is not about seducing; its main plot doesn’t have anything to do with their attractiveness, letting their sensuality be integrated within their personas, without monopolizing their characters.

And now back to the real world: image issues arise again. Their management opposes the idea of a self-standing group. As their album, “Mama” just continues T-ara’s discography. And what are their songwriters thinking? “Mama” isn’t a term coined by Exo, but after a trillion of teasers, of course the audiences will associate the title with SMent’s boy group. Besides the fact that you appear as T-ara’s copycats, you want to go more along the lines of copying?

The video on its own, the song on its own, combined with Gang Kiz on their own could have resulted in a decent release. Add to that some carefulness and you’d have a great song, ready to sweep the charts. Gang Kiz though debuted with the same video, to which you can’t look the same anymore after being promoted with “Honey Honey.” You can’t enjoy the rerelease of a video, where’s the surprise or the anticipation? Then, the track is also like those they released before, with T-ara all over them.

That’s right now their main problem and it’s a big one. Just put out a video, is that so hard? Make a nice song. It’s K-pop, no one expects it to be original. Instead of releasing three MVs for a song that flops from the start, or other two recycled or lazy videos for another song with which you didn’t bother much, why not just make a song, get a box and shoot one better? “Mama,” the boxy version, features the group dancing with no individual shots or anything that could help us get a look at the members.

The cat moves just scream for “Bo Peep Bo Peep” comparisons, the jumping is weirding me out and two wannabe MVs doesn’t make up for the fact that this song doesn’t actually have a promotional video. What gets to me is the potential I spot. Do you know when a photo has all the right elements, from lightening and emotion to model posture and decor, but somehow, the angle is so bad that it ruins the picture? You stare and realize it could have touched you and wonder how could somebody mess with such good material. Gang Kiz is all that. They need to step up their game, lose any T-ara influence and release a song. They have the whole package and I’m praying the gods of their companies to appreciate it. But these pointless promotions won’t get more than a 1.5/5 rating out of my bag.

(Core Contents Media, GM Contents Media, H&GMedia, GameMeca, JCEKPOP)