Sistar (Starship Entertainment)
The K-pop charts have been a tough battleground for Korea’s top pop groups in July, but the competition has been particularly fierce among girl groups.
While big-name boy bands have generally timed their album releases to avoid head-on clashes, girl groups rolled the dice, with established names returning to the stage at the same time.
Here’s a wrap-up of the summer girl group face-off in the K-pop scene so far, who’s come out on top and what’s to come in the coming weeks.
The first big battle came on June 22, when Sistar and AOA released their new albums on the same day. Although Sistar was the more established group, especially for summer, AOA’s continued success on the charts last year made the match one to watch. Sistar’s new song “Shake It” was a classic Sistar summer song, with high energy and a bouncy choreography that allowed the members to show off their athletic bodies.
AOA’s “Heart Attack” also went with a sporty sexy look, using a lacrosse motif. AOA’s choreography kept to the style of its past songs “Short Hair” and “Like a Cat,” more sultry and seductive than Sistar’s party style.
Next, leggy girl group 9Muses released “Hurt Locker” on July 2. The general costume and choreography concept was sexy, as expected from the “model idols,” with strong group choreography from the eight members packing a punch onstage.
9Muses (Star Empire Entertainment)
The second big match was between Girl’s Day and Girls’ Generation, who both released new albums on July 7. This time, there was a sharp contrast between the two groups’ concepts. In “Ring My Bell,” Girl’s Day had a funky concept with sexy moves mixed into the choreography, while Girls’ Generation went back to basics with a clean, happy and fun vibe in “Party.”
Apink, another summer stronghold, continued Girls’ Generation’s bubbly and innocent vibe with “Remember” on July 16. The music videos from both Apink and Girls’ Generation had a classic K-pop girl group vibe, shot on the beach with the girls playing around and smiling into the camera.
This week will see another showdown, with four girl groups kicking off promotions. Stellar, who sparked controversy last year with their racy costumes and choreography in “Marionette,” will be pushing boundaries again with “Vibrato” on July 20. That same day, hip-hop girl group Sonamoo is hitting the stage with a performance-heavy song called “Cushion.”
Stellar (The Entertainment Pascal)
Those groups will be quickly followed up by Hellovenus on July 22 with “I'm Ill.” Teaser images for that song have the members all sporting different hair colors for a chic look. Meanwhile, girl group GFriend, which is often compared to Apink for its wide-eyed innocent look, will begin promoting “Flower Bud” with title track "Me Gustas Tu" on July 23.
The charts have no obvious winner for the coming weeks, with girl groups old and new duking it out for top slots, “Infinite Challenge Music Festival” likely to catapult participants like hyukoh to the top, and Big Bang’s next project album just around the corner. Competition between girl groups will continue into August, when the Wonder Girls, returning as a four-member band, will be releasing a highly-anticipated album.
By Won Ho-jung (email@example.com