DSP Media‘s April never quite hit the jackpot with K-pop fans despite their lineup of beautiful girls, catchy songs and an underrated vocal line. While a group’s popularity is more often than not reliant on luck and timing more than anything else, April’s frequent lineup changes and infrequent comebacks did not help the then-rookie girl group build its needed momentum.
While it is important to showcase a group’s versatility, April has never seemed to fully be set on one sound and image, meaning that they never formed a distinguishable musical identity that set them apart from their peers in the industry. April’s last Korean comeback was October 2018’s “Oh! My Mistake”, a promising sleeper hit with an 80s inspired sound that was a gap in the industry that April could have aimed to fill. Unfortunately, they have seemingly abandoned that entirely in favour of a trendier sound and image.
However, “Lalalilala” feels like a fresh start for the group. The track doesn’t stray too far from a title track you’d expect APink and WJSN to release, but April manages to own the concept with a memorable track and impactful performance. A far cry from their early days, the videography of “Lalalilala” is worthy of praise — sharp and well-shot with varied camera movements and framing, it brings out the best of April’s visuals. Coupled with chic and glamorous styling, the girls look stunning in all their various outfit changes, which range from sleek sequinned jumpsuits to ruffled floral dresses.
The set design is also minimalistic but attention-grabbing, with a galaxy-themed colour palette as the centrepiece for many of the scenes against neon ombre backdrops. The result of this is a music video that manages to feel out of this world, aligned with the song’s fantastical feel. It’s clear that their company is pulling out all stops for a successful comeback with an aesthetically pleasing, and eye-catching music video that will definitely impress and interest new fans.
In the music video, the girls are dressed in monochrome, individually asleep in a dark, futuristic-looking room. In their solace, their only connection to one another then comes in the form of their dreams. These dreams are bright and beautiful, portrayed through celestial motifs of planets and galaxies intertwined with traditional fine art. In several dream sequences, the members are also seen as holding and leaning onto each other, a subtle ode to their friendship and deeper connection that transcends the consciousness and visible. As a group that has had a tough time making a breakthrough through the years, this is a sweet acknowledgment of the group’s unity as they seek to make a stronger comeback after their long break.
As their dreams slowly turn to nightmares at the climax of the song with the girls losing connection to one another and the brightness of their dreams turning dark, they jolt up from their slumber. The only indication viewers get of a happy ending is at the final few seconds of the video, when a button labeled ‘dark dream’ is removed from a switchboard. The six members are seen asleep once more, this time reunited as six in a much dreamier and hopeful backdrop.
The only aspect that was noticeably lacking was perhaps the choreography. With the song’s energetic and whimsical chorus especially, there was unexplored potential for more creative and impressive choreography instead. The snippets of choreography shown in the music video are not particularly unique or different, but it has its merits in its seamless flow and smooth transitions. April also nonetheless execute it well, proving their versatility as they perform the track with both grace and confidence as they always have since debut even with their ever-changing sound.
During their absence in the past year and a half, Naeun has been making a name for herself as an actress, with her acting credits including popular dramas A-Teen and Extraordinary You. The new-found and immense popularity she brings about to the group meant that she was bound to get noticeably more centre and screen time, but it’s both heartening and smart of their company to not let Naeun overshadow the other girls too much, allowing each member to get a decent amount of screentime. After all, the appeal of a group is that there are different personalities and talents that provide a balanced and dynamic performance, and the girls of April are indeed capable of that.
Thus far, the general response to the comeback has been positive, and this is undoubtedly April’s most successful comeback since debut. In a time where most girl groups are moving towards girl-crush or diva-like concepts, it might be a smart move on April’s part to keep their gentler, softer image even as they experiment with a new sound. It is important to be different in order to stand out, and “Lalalilala” will definitely be a turning point for April, as a group who may just be finally finding their place in K-pop to gain their long-overdue recognition.
(Source: YouTube. Images from DSP Media.)