Now that we’ve had a comeback, or at least a comeback video from all the major girl groups, we can see how they have progressed in style, sound, or both.
2NE1 is in a tricky place with their sound. Because their concept stays constant, their sound is the same (which I prefer) but their image has definitely progressed since their debut. When they first debuted a form of their image had already been done (outside of Korea sans Dara’s hair), but I think their partnership with Jeremy Scott has given them the opportunity to carve their own look.
As for the music, “Lonely” was definitely a standout but the rest of the songs (still good) stayed similar to what they have already produced. The good thing about that is that they have created a sound that is very unique to them. When you hear a 2NE1 track you know it’s them. Their sound has always been a little more mature compared to most other girl groups and that’s probably because they have some older than usual girl group members. This leaves them with less room for improvement and growth which can be both a good and bad thing.
Kara’s title song “Step” was one of the strongest for me. I feel like they gained a sense of self with it and you could see that they had gained some confidence as well. This is probably thanks to their success in Japan. You could also see that DSP entertainment put more money and effort into promoting them this round of promotions. There outfits didn’t really do anything for me, but was it just me or did they look like the Spice Girls in their promo picks? Gyuri: Ginger Spice, Hara: Baby Spice, Nicole: Scary Spice, Jiyoung: Sporty Spice, and Seung-yeon: Posh Spice. Anyone? Ok maybe it was just me…
The Girls Generation girls tried something new so I applaud them, but there was very little progression in the sound. I was expecting something along the lines of “Run Devil Run” but as mentioned before, “The Boys” wasn’t awful but it went nowhere. I wanted so badly for them to bring a song similar to “Run Devil Run” because they pulled it off well. Some members pull off the strong, sexy concept better than others (Sooyoung and Yuri), but as a whole they still made it work.
As a whole, SNSD appears to be in limbo right now, but probably because of the company, not them. The girls have expressed their interest in promoting songs like RDR, which is also evident in their performances, but SM just seems to suppress it. There was almost no variety in their songs what so ever in the latest album and I couldn’t even get through 3 of the songs. As for their image, it changed for the better. All of the members now promote individual style and there were no uniforms in sight, which is a huge plus.
I’ve gone through so many ups and downs with this group. I liked their debut song “Lies” but hated “Bo Peep Bo Peep”. Then they came out with “Like the First Time”, which I loved then “I Go Crazy Because Of You“, which I was indifferent about. Their singles have taken me on a rollercoaster ride, but low and behold they release their latest single “Cry Cry” which to me is very reminiscent of their debut sound. Now I can legitimately say they are a very talented group (at least the ones who can sing). Since they have a constant image and sound change I have always been indifferent with them, but if their company can just figure out how to utilize them and stick with it they could really shine. As for their image, I like the bad girl’s vibe that they have going on, but with their constant image change it’s hard to have a clear stance on their progression.
BEG have always been more mature in sound, but I felt like they matured even further. BEG’s “Abracadabra” was obviously made to gain a bigger and more mainstream audience and I don’t fault them for it. By making their sound more mainstream they were able to gain more listeners and make people take notice of their music. Skip forward 2 years later and you see they produced a song that was more typical of their sound. I liked that “Sixth Sense” wasn’t as mainstream sounding as “Abracadabra” and showed off their raw talent. As for their image, they didn’t really push the envelope but stayed very true to themselves. There was already enough going on in their music video which made it unnecessary.
Personally I think the Wonder Girls grew the most. I loved how their sound matured. They brought a nice mix of songs in their latest Wonder World album but the two standouts for me were “Me, In” and “Stop!” They have been on my replay list since the group released their album. I hope they promote “Stop!” in the U.S because they will have already promoted “Me, In” in Korea. I thoroughly enjoyed their album, which is something I usually don’t do unless it’s a YG artist’s album or something outside the Big 3 like One Way. Of course I like some songs more than others but as a whole it was a very good effort. Though JYP said the comeback wouldn’t be very retro the sound of the title track definitely is. And though it might have come off sounding Christmassy, I think it is very appropriate since the Christmas season is approaching. It will be sure to stay on people’s playlist even longer for that very reason. Thanks to this album I’m eager to see what they bring for their U.S. promotions. As for their image it has also matured. “Be My Baby” is still typically them, but if their first teaser is any indication they will take a 180 degree turn for their “Me, In” promotions.
So who do you think has/hasn’t progressed and why?