SISTAR currently rank as one of Korea’s top three girl groups, while Girl’s Day –despite not having reached SISTAR’s success just yet– have filled the empty spot that KARA used to occupy as K-pop’s most popular pretty princesses.
Both groups have now made summer-themed comebacks at the same time, so obviously it’s our job (meaning me and all of y’all) to turn the art of music into a cheap competition by pitting the two groups against each other.
First up, Girl’s Day!
Producer: Duble Sidekick (recent other work: Girl’s Day’s “Something,” G.NA’s “Pretty Lingerie,” Hyosung’s “Good-night Kiss”)
The music: When I first heard “Darling,” I instantly thought of SECRET’s “Shy Boy” and Jewelry’s terrible “Shy Boy” wannabe, “Back It Up.” Although those two songs came out back in early 2011, we’ve seen a few artists try out jazz-inspired pop this year –like AOA, TVXQ, and IU– so it’s not a surprise to see Girl’s Day jump on the burgeoning trend, too. After all, they’ve been genre-hopping for the past year, having now completely lost the signature synth-pop sound they established with hits like “Twinkle Twinkle,” “Don’t Forget Me,” and “Expectation” (all of which crafted by DreamTea Entertainment’s in-house producer Nam Ki-sang).
The brassy bubblegum of “Darling” is pretty irresistible and it’s undoubtedly one of the better K-pop songs of the summer, but it’s disappointing to see that Girl’s Day no longer have their own sound. They really stood out from the crowd pre-“Expectation,” but now all their hits are interchangeable with other girl groups. Well, not “Female President” (which was surprisingly unique, looking back), but “Something” and now “Darling” could’ve easilybeen handed to others.
Still, it’s a small gripe that’s more reflective of Girl’s Day as a group rather than “Darling” as a song. And I have to hand it to Duble Sidekick for working Girl’s Day’s saucy new image into “Darling” by filling it with sexual euphemisms like “sting love into me like a bee” and “oh baby fresh like soda pop / ticke down my throat.”
Super sweet, but still a little saucy!
Concept: “Expectation” and “Something” –as FUCKING FLAWLESS as they are– looked like little girls trying to recreate “Abracadabra” and “Alone.” But by Girl’s Day mixing their old cute concept with their new status as scantily-clad K-pop pin-ups, they’ve finally found their niche in the sexy concept realm. They’ve done an even better job at the cute/sexy fusion than Rainbow did last year, and if they could just add a little comedy to their act like they used to do, then they’d have found the perfect image for themselves.
If Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” didn’t exist, then “Darling” would be the best girl group MV of the year. Mostly for shallow reasons because Girl’s Day is now the top female visual group next to Girls’ Generation, but that still counts as a valid reason.
Choreography: Adorable! Amazing! Fun! Flirty!
Overall: If Hyomin’s muzak masterpiece “Nice Body” is a 9/10 and AOA’s “Short Hair” is a 6/10 (god I got sick of that song quickly), then I guess “Darling” has to be about an 8/10. (This is my hyperbolic K-pop scoring; if I were being completely objective it’d probably be about a 7 or slightly lower).
Song: Touch My Body
Producer: Rado, Choi Kyu Sung (Rado produced Trouble Maker’s two singles and A Pink’s “My My” and “Hush”)
The Music: “Touch My Body” sounds a bit like HyunA’s “Bubble Pop!,” which sounds a lot like Britney’s “How I Roll.” It’s as if someone took “Bubble Pop” and reduced HyunA down to a guest rap (that would be Bora) then filled the rest with an actual singer (Hyoncè), and overloaded the production with saxophones and electro-pop and trap snares. That sounds utterly amazing on paper, but I’m still somewhat undecided on the final product. I haven’t had long enough with TMB to decide if I’m slightly underwhelmed or 1000% satisfied (the latter usually being the case with SISTAR).
The general reaction I’ve seen to TMB has been an overall meh, but I think we’re all holding SISTAR to impossible standards just because of who they are (something K-pop fans also do to Girls’ Generation). If any other talented 4-member girl group dropped TMB –like BESTie or SECRET– we’d all be slayed from the first play, and y’all know it.
Overall I think I love TMB, and I expect it to grow on the rest of the K-flop community with some time.
Concept: The “Touch My Body” MV looks like a white trash pop art comic book starring a drunk and horny SISTAR in disgusting floral diapers. I started off hating it, but now I’m kind of enamoured by the brazen tackiness of it all. The awkward booty choreography is even worse than the infamous ‘tail dance’ from “SO COOL,” but it’s so bad that it’s almost good once you get over the initial “THIS SHIT IS BENEATH SISTAR!” thing.
If STELLAR got a budget increase and did a summer single, it’d probably be this, and there’s something interesting about a superstar group like SISTAR lowering the bar down to “Marionette” levels when they don’t actually have to. I mean, the lyrics to TMB literally refer to SISTAR’s pussies as big wet moist red swimming pools, so it would’ve been a cop-out if they didn’t trash it up for the music video. From a nugu group this would be desperate media play with a good hook, but from SISTAR it becomes edgy and a little unexpected.
Choreography: Like a really bad gross version of all the dance routines from Beyonce’s last two albums. It’s a mess, but it’s memorable.
Overall: I started out hating TMB and then fell in love with it through this review. “Darling” is so obviously faultless, but TMB’s flaws stick with you in a way that Girl’s Day’s glossy perfection doesn’t. SISTAR actually took a risk by STELLARizing themselves (or should I say ‘FIESTARizing’), while Girl’s Day are playing it too safe in their bid to reach the top. For those reasons, I think both comebacks are ultimately on par with each other for different reasons, so I’ll also give SISTAR an 8/10.
Basically, I JUST LOVE EVERYONE!
Let me know which one you liked the most in the comments below.