141124_seoulbeats_apinkA Pink is back in action with their latest mini album Pink Luv. This is the six member group’s second comeback this year following their promotions for “Mr. Chu” and fourth mini album Pink Blossom. The initial teasers for Pink Luv hinted at more maturity, and there are some subtle shifts in wisdom showing their gradual movement towards more adult themes. However, for the fans of A Pink’s consistently sweet sound and image, this album still mainly deals with those sugary aspects in spades – showing the changes are but a few drops in a sea of honey dripped tunes.

The first song off the set is “Luv” which is A Pink’s title track during this promotional cycle. “Luv” is immediately familiar as it resembles the 90s pop styling of one of their previous hits, “NoNoNo.” This should come as no surprise since the production was handled by none other than “NoNoNo” producer Shinsadong Tiger. The lyrics are also grounded in a nostalgic glance back at the times — with the girls asking their prior lover if they remember their love story. It certainly is a catchy ditty and shows that A Pink has three very competent vocalists in Namjoo, Bomi, and Eunji.

“Wanna Be” is an intriguing song off the mini album if not for the sole reason that it was penned by Chorong. The song is a mid tempo pop number about wanting someone to fall in love with. The lyrics have an innocent charm that A Pink thrives on.

“Will it happen if this is a dream? Everyday day I think.

Sometimes, I imagine myself in front of you.

I don’t care if it’s a dream, I want to see you (what do I do)

Again today, I draw you out on this especially dark night.”

Lyrically and musically, the “Wanna Be” is familiar territory for the group. The real redemption for fans lies in listening to words written from a member of the group themself.

“Secret” follows as the first ballad off Pink Luv. Eunji has more room to show off her power emphatically here. Also, the girls all harmonize well at the song’s climactic end. Lyrically, the girls wish to express one more sentiment to their lover. “Secret” once again follows this theme of revealing the inner feelings of the girls. It does have traces of melancholic emotions as those feelings are apparently not even on both sides.

I’ve stated before that there are slight nods to more mature themes on the album. You may not think it at first listen, but “Not An Angel” provides those themes in a bubblegum pop package. The title itself may suggest an about face in concept, but the words initially paint a story about a girl who is frustrated with their romantic interest’s perception of her as someone that will just stand by idly. The girls confidently state:

“I’m not an angel anymore.

Tomorrow and the day after that, I want to catch you.

Deep in my heart, a naught wind blows.

Now look into my eyes, I love you.”

While the melody and production isn’t anything ground breaking, it is refreshing to see A Pink take on a more self assured role. Oftentimes, A Pink will settle on this image of the girl who has these inner romantic frustrations that are often not said until an inopportune moment or after a relationship is on the brink. Having them voice their unwillingness to conform to an angelic veneer is a great message to send.

The last song off the mini album is “Fairy Tale Love.” It slows things down a bit and introduces wind chimes to give off a whimsical feeling fitting for the tropical nature of the song. The track is another example of the increasing maturity of the group. Their feelings aren’t as idealistic as they come to a realization that “I’m just getting older, the world is changing and I’m getting more and more indifferent.” The girls sing about their childhood fantasies of being a princess who falls in love with their one perfect love. There is a tinge of disillusionment there as the girls accept they are older, but they still remain optimistic for finding love.

A Pink continues to gain more attention with every new comeback. Here at Seoulbeats, some of the writers have pointed towards A Pink as the next to ascend to the national girl group status in the future. Their ever growing fandom and ability to sell albums could be attributed to their consistent bubblegum pop style and girl next door image. That does end up being their double edged sword as one of the critiques is that A Pink’s discography heavily leans towards a saccharine sound. Perhaps the author Chuck Palahniuk framed it best when he wrote:

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”

While A Pink undoubtedly have some very catchy songs in their repertoire, their dependence on their sugar pop sound and their pastel bright image have them being written off as a one note group. With less room to embellish vocally and less diversity of material to attract a different subset of fans, the girls have to work even harder in developing their brand with their variety appearances and drama roles. Even if Pink Luv doesn’t deviate much from their sweet sound and virginal image, the small nuances in their lyrics signal that A Pink are prepared to take the next steps towards an edgier concept in the near future.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

(A Cube Entertainment, YouTube [1][2], Lyrics via Pop!gasa)