After School Shh
It really looked like After School had lost their mojo last year after Kahi left. Their music wasn’t as good, their sales were lower, and their subunit had suddenly become more popular than the main group. All that changed this year when the almost has-beens returned with a vengeance — bigger, better, and sexier than ever before. They made every other girl group on the planet look like a pack of fat ugly slobs with their pole-dancing performances for the divine “First Love,” and then followed it up with one of the greatest Japanese K-pop singles ever released, “Heaven.”

After “Heaven” smashed the Oricon charts (it was After School’s highest-selling J-pop single since 2011 — an amazing feat considering the hallyu wave has been on the decline in Japan for the past two years), AS have wisely returned to the song’s producer, Shinichi Osawa, for their follow up single, “Shh.”

Now, y’all need to understand that Shinichi Osawa is no fucking joke. He’s one of the biggest DJ’s in the world, and he produced one of the hugest hits of Namie Amuro’s career, the wig-snatching “What a Feeling.” He’s the guy you wish your fave would work with. 

“Shh” shifts away from the Daft Punk disco of “Heaven” into ’80s and ’90s EDM — the kind of thing you’ve heard done to death by countless hipster dance acts over the past year, but not yet from an Asian girl group. “Shh” is gloriously mechanical, serving up slippery vintage house beats and Hot Butter “Popcorn” synths as a mildly-aroused After School sing robotically like a bunch of sexy replicants. The first chorus –a spluttering Engrish shoosh sound that eventually forms the words, “secret love”– is genius.

After School Shh

The accompanying video is a total ’90s throwback, and looks like how you might imagine some old behind-the-scenes footage from an Interview magazine shoot to be like. Some of the choreography looks sloppy and rushed, but it just adds to the intentional low budget style of the clip.

“Shampoo” will probably always be my personal favourite After School song and “First Love” will always be their best video solely due to the spectacular pole dancing, but objectively speaking, the group’s never been better than they are now with “Heaven” and “Shh.” The artsy fashion-forward visuals combined with the sophisticated pop throwbacks are unbeatable — it’s so fucking good it makes me feel embarrassed for recently raving about some of SNSD’s new J-pop songs.

If After School keeps this up they’ll be in my main bias list by next year.

P.S. Before getting yo’ life to “Shh,” please take a moment of silence for Kahi’s flawless flop, “It’s Me,” which deserved to be one of the biggest K-diva songs of the year.

  • OH MY FUCKING GOD!!

    i have to spend a weekend offline and when i return i come to find THIS!

    now tell me if i have time to try any western shit like flopney jean or steal-oncé! HELL NO!

    this video got me squealling and bouncing like an exo fan at each sceane. they all look perfection of course that nana bitch is the utmost scean stealer! but the video’s aesthetic is fantastic, the lightning and cinematography are breathtaking and got me desperate for something similar for their korean comeback.

    2013 has been a marvelous year for after school and i hope that 2014 will be even better, with another monumental comeback and the [wishful thinkingly] official release of raina and jung ah’s sub-unit to destroy all the supposed vocal bitches on the k-pop world.

  • roelm

    Don’t know about 90s EDM but this sounds in part like 70s tv series soundtracks (e.g. Mission Impossible) but with electronic instrumentals. Another stand-out track. There is hope in music yet!

    • roelm

      Listening to it some more, it reminds me very strongly of the 80s too due to the synths.

    • Yes can definitely hear some Moroder in there too!

  • raandall

    After School’s music and visuals are so on point this era, they better release a new Japanese album ASAP!

    And ugh that “He’s the guy you wish your fave would work with.” line is so true tho, I wish T-ara had snagged him. If they did a song like the iconic “Beauty Survivor” by Angelababy I would just die

  • byoing~byoing.

    http://jarohndailyword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/ices-brown-rides-it-2-0.gif
    ufff! gurrl you know what this is, it’s a puss-ay popper.

    Seriously though, I knew I was gonna love this tune as soon as I posted it on your FB wall. So GOOD! I’m definitely gonna learn the lyrics to this and Mister before I go to Japan next year and belt it out at karaoke! Also this is how you do low budget film clips! God they look so sexual even in pants and blazers.

  • oneclearnight

    This is soooooo good and the choreography is flawless. Why are they so underrated again? I loved some of their old jpop stuff (Dilly Dally is so catchy) but since they started working with Shinichi Osawa the music has been AMAZING. I love SNSD’s jpop releases but I wish their recent singles had been as good as this (or Heaven). After School’s pv’s have been fab too – seems like Avex is finally starting to give a shit and the results are awesome. I need a flawless album produced by Osawa for After School, stat.

  • Guest

    It’s not for their Korean comeback though so its a little unfair to compare it to Kahi’s latest single.

  • ICONI3

    omg I love this.

  • 364Leinad

    I REALLY loved this video. Something about it was absolutely fantastic. Its one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen and it just was so simple to. It’s kind of weird how kpop groups seem to be better at J-pop than actual Japanese groups are. Song is fantastic. I really hope they release a Japanese album.

    • their sophomore you mean. and me too, but maybe it’s to early for this line-up to release a full nihon album, even with the latest fuck-tastic singles.

  • 364Leinad

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1JPKLa-Ofc Also, are you going to do an article about the return of the drag-queen?

    • I can’t even be bothered with the Beyonce hysteria now, especially since my harsh brand of TRUE TEA will ruffle too many feathers than I’m prepared to deal with right now.

      I’m just blissfully listening to J-pop and K-pop as the Beyonce storm goes on around me.

      • 364Leinad

        Good thing to, this might just be some of her shittest work yet. I hadn’t even realised she came back until 10 minutes ago.

        • I only listened to the clips on Youtube when it came out and watched the MV for one of the singles on Toyaz World and it just sounded like a more top forty version of the alt-urban sound that was once indie and is now completely mainstream and that tonnes of cooler R&B artists like The Weeknd and Tinashe have been doing for the past two years before Bey ever tried it. The marketing for this album is fucking genius and I can’t fault her with that, but the product itself is far from innovative. It’s just great marketing at the end of the day.

          • Bobby

            Hahaha I seriously was WAITING for the hate. I love it. I love how I predicted 600k and was told her time was up and I was crazy. B outsold Miley, gaga, Britney, Katy etc… Yet shes the washed up flop who’s career was over. She sold 800k+ no physical copies available. “#1 chick in the game I don’t need no hype”

            And before anyway gets bent out of shape I love this blog I’ve been coming here for years now but I don’t cry when everyone drags Beyonce and finally she shuts every fucking hater up and of course the Hive deserves to brag. Your fave could never but if they could youd be bragging even more tbh

          • Omg you’re so crazy coming in J-pop posts you obviously have no interest just to search out Beyonce comments! And you’re flipping out like I wrote a whole bit on her comebck when I didn’t even download the album yet alone devote posts to it.

            I could easily write a scathing piece on this comeback if I wanted while STILL giving credit to the marketing, which is amazing, but part of the reason I backed away from this blog is so I didn’t have to be involved in this stuff any more. I didn’t bother listening to Britney Jean until it was on Spotify (I haven’t even heard the whole thing but it was pretty basic from what I spun), I listened to like half of Prism before turning it off because it was dull, and I just went through some of those Youtube clips of Bey when she first dropped it because everyone was going crazy. Before this I’d basically HAVE to listen to all these stupid top forty albums and give my opinion, even if I didn’t care about them. Now I can just remove myself from the whole thing of Britney and Beyonce and just pop in here occasionally to post about some Asian pop stuff for fun, or maybe a new band if I find them or something. I’m not into Britney any more musically (and haven’t been for a long time), have no interest in stuff like Katy Perry, and obviously I’m not a Beyonce fan and I already listen to a bunch of artists that do the same music as her new album so I don’t need to play that. I was getting sick of trying to keep blogging because I prefer indie Western music, and the pop I listen to is Japanese/Korean stuff. I’m not into the American pop divas or that world any more.

          • BadB*tch

            Preach bitch “I prefer indie Western music, and the pop I listen to is Japanese/Korean stuff”…. fuck ya. Beyonce, Katy, Britney, Miley, Justin these are the top acts in the west???WTF. Bland, boring, uninventive.

          • BadB*tch
          • 364Leinad

            This video is quite possibly the greatest thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life

  • Dub

    She She Shecret Lub!

    Shinichi Osawa is a god!!! This and Heaven are perfection. It’s sleek, classy and most of all sexy.

    Lizzy looks hot again! No more ugly bangs for you Lizzy!!!!

  • Aviator

    (bowing my head quietly for Kahi and her flawless single not even scraping top 10…)

  • lildarien

    It’s great when a MV takes one specific angle, and works the hell out of it.

  • KingBeaArthur

    LIZZZZZZZZY!!! I’m going to marry that one, ya’ll. Mark my words – don’t tell Eunjung though…flower pots WILL fly!

    Both the song and the pv are flawless! I prefer “Heaven” overall, but this is still fantastic.

  • AlanaKang

    this was soo flawless! this song and video is everything!

  • Anna

    I’m glad i’m not alone on how I feel about this too!