Although it’s only been three months since tripleS have started officially releasing music, the rookie act have already garnered a lot of attention for a number of reasons. Most notably, the group are set to have 24 total members who will form various subunits that are all temporary. If the subunits manage to sell 100,000 physical copies of their album, they can become a permanent unit. If not, the girls will disperse until they’re put in another unit within their group.
Furthermore, tripleS have turned many heads with their fan-oriented structure, allowing fans to decide how the members are grouped together by voting on their app Cosmo: the Origin, which is how the project’s first subunit Acid Angel from Asia (AAA) was born. This kind of fan input for an idol group hasn’t really been seen before in K-pop, and it is quite a daring move by record label MODHAUS. With this amount of involvement, some will definitely be intrigued and check out the group, while others will be deterred by the fact that fans have to purchase NFT photo cards to obtain the digital currency necessary for voting.
With 12 members still waiting to be announced to complete the group, there’s been skepticism about whether or not such a project could be successful. However, things start to make a bit more sense after knowing that the one leading the group is creative director and producer Jaden Jeong, who also worked on Loona’s unconventional debut rollout.
While the organization of tripleS is still quite bewildering, the group have released some remarkable music that’s difficult to ignore even if you don’t care to learn about their concept. Their new EP Assemble, performed by the first 10 revealed members, continues the cool atmosphere from AAA’s album Access, but with more noticeable similarities to Loona’s pre-debut work. This is perhaps unsurprising given Jaden Jeong and longtime Loona producers MonoTree‘s particpation.
Thematically, Assemble is all about being honest and chasing dreams as the group rise to the K-pop stage. With title track “Rising” being chosen through a fan voting tournament, the song offers a hip and stylish tone that sounds refreshing among many releases.
Carrying on with the chic mood from AAA’s debut single “Generation,” “Rising” is both sleek and punchy. The layering of the instrumental is extremely captivating, with a satisfying mix of bass, bouncy synths, snare drum beats, and even some zestful record scratches. These interesting sounds are flaunted more in a lively dance break after the first chorus, which is further elevated by the members’ charismatic performance.
As the instrumental intrigues and brings energy to the track, the topline is on the subtler side as it focuses more on showing off the members’ smooth vocals instead of boasting a complicated arrangement. With slick tones, the girls determinedly sing about using all their effort to pursue their dreams in spite of pessimists ridiculing them:
Just nothing like a dream, it’s a déjà vu
The stronger the hardship, I make it true
Just me that I dreamt of, it’s a déjà vu
Gain after pain, the way I make it move
The stronger the rain
The stronger I become
Believe me, just let me
I can make it raise it, recover it now
Also, similar to AAA’s “Generation,” the tune utilizes a memorable “La-la-la-la” hook that is incredibly addictive. It not only appears in the intro and outro, but is actually present all throughout the verses and pre-chorus under the vocal melody. However, the song’s biggest drawback is that it isn’t long enough. Being less than three minutes, “Rising” concludes shortly after its second chorus without a rewarding finale. Adding in another instrumental break could’ve wrapped things up more satisfyingly, but the tune as it stands is still so striking yet effortlessly cool.
Sadly, b-side “Chowall” also suffers from having a short length. While “Before the Rise” works as an album intro, “Chowall” seems to have too much potential to simply be a one minute outro. Like its Korean title “초월,” which translates to ‘transcendence,’ the drum and bass song produces an otherworldly ambience that matches well with the ‘rising’ concept of the EP.
The instrumental is soft and dreamy at first, using “La-la-la-la” lines again to hook listeners, but carries a driving energy with the addition of swift breakbeats. This in tandem with the hazy vocals creates a spellbinding sound that is regrettably not explored further.
As a small consolation of sorts, “Beam” and “The Baddest” feature melodies that are also quite nice and dreamlike. “Beam” in particular is likely to stand out to fans since it was one of the title track contenders from the voting tournament. While the R&B number ultimately lost to “Rising,” its calming air is actually better fit as a b-side for listeners who just want to relax and take it easy. The tune’s languid energy puts more spotlight on the vocals, while the synths in the instrumental brighten the melody.
In contrast, “The Baddest” opts for a darker tone with a bolder and sassier attitude. Lyrically, the girls sing about how doing bad or sly actions is okay if it means reaching your dreams. Though the message is a bit questionable, its blunt expression goes well with the honest subject of the overall album. Its contemporary girl crush flair makes the number slightly reminiscent of Loona’s sub-unit Odd Eye Circle, and it probably wouldn’t sound out of place on their Max & Match record.
Continuing these Loona vibes are “Colorful” and “New Look,” with both tracks being on the lighter and poppier side. Like “Beam,” the latter was another tune featured in the voting tournament and even ended up in the semifinal. Given how the synth-pop song combines retro and electronica sounds to deliver a fresh, sugary listening experience comparable to Loona’s “Hi High,” it’s easy to see why “New Look” was a strong candidate to be the lead single. It has a similar lyrical theme as “The Baddest,” and also connects to AAA’s b-side “Rolex” as the girls honestly voice their materialistic interest in extravagant clothes and other flashy items:
Bye, I don’t wanna waste my time
An out of fashion style
There’s nothing that I like in my closet, why?
I’m a little picky
I like new things
Everyone is like that, right? It’s not weird, is it?
I hate having the same things, new, ooh, new, ooh
Lastly, dance-pop track “Colorful” sounds exactly like its title with many fun, colorful soundscapes that bring so much life to the song. With how varied it is, the tune resembles a variety of Loona songs such as “rendezvous 18.6y,” “Perfect Love,” and “Stylish.”
This, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that tripleS have the same sound as Loona considering they incorporate more trendy Y2K styles and have their own unique group dynamic. However, Jaden Jeong’s particular taste in music is very evident on the EP. Like how he did with Loona during his time with Blockberry Creative, Jaden Jeong is already starting to piece together a compelling and consistent discography for tripleS. With this, the ambitious girl group have the potential to be one of the most distinctive rookies in the K-pop sphere, and are sure to be met with anticipation as their upcoming subunit +(KR)ystal Eyes debuts in the future.
(YouTube . Lyrics via Genius . Images via MODHAUS.)