secret i'm in love
The return of my fourth favourite girl group SECRET is a cause for celebration, but it’s also a time for facepalming and “FML” groaning. Now that they’re back to their sexy style, all Western K-pop fans take it as an opportunity to put down the group’s cutsie hits. (Because according to Western K-pop fans, the only acceptable concept is either fierce of porno, as they’re so used to seeing their pop stars hyper-sexualized before they’re even legal that they can’t accept any possible deviation from that.) The same thing happens to poor sweet A Pink, and it used to happen to Girls’ Generation before “The Boys” came along.

Before we proceed, let me just go on record right now to say that the timeless retro anthem “Shy Boy,” the world’s No. 1 children’s lullaby “Starlight Moonlight,” and the heavenly but underrated Christmas classic “I Do I Do” are all perfect K-pop songs. But so are SECRET’s sexy hits, and as anybody with eyes knows, SECRET are one of the few K-pop groups that can really slay a provocative concept without looking like pre-teens playing dress up.

The group’s new single, “I’m In Love,” sees them swapping long-time composers Kang Jiwon and Kim Kibum for trending hitmaker Duble Sidekick, who brought Hyosung some unexpected solo success with May’s “Good-night Kiss.”

“I’m In Love” is archetypal K-pop, with so many hooks and beat changes that even the glossiest American hits would look slender by comparison. SECRET hopscotch from piano-laden ballad moments to brosteps wub-wubs and speedy dance-pop, as if they’re racing a musical obstacle course. It’s hectic, but not in an intentionally disorientating way like “Red Light” or “I Got a Boy.”

Aside from the group’s one foray into electronica with the Shinsadong Tiger-produced “Talk That,” “I’m In Love” marks a new sound for the quartet without completely eroding Kang Jiwon and Kim Kibum’s years of hard work to make SECRET K-pop’s answer to Beyonce or Amerie. As a fan, I appreciate that Duble Sidekick still bothered to preserve the group’s sound by filling the song with as much sassy brass as possible.

I have yet to meet a SECRET single that I don’t end up obsessively stanning for, and while my feelings for “I’m In Love” are more “I’m In Like” right now, that’s just because it needs a little time to sink in. However, it’s impossible not to get some instant gratification from the music video, which would be SECRET’s best sexy MV if “Poison” didn’t already exist.

All the members have had vampish makeovers; most noticeably Sunhwa and Hana, who have sexed-up new looks to match their new faces. (Both of which are living testaments to the power of great plastic surgery.)

In terms of sexy girl groups, SECRET are the true successors to Brown Eyed Girls, so there’s really nothing to fault in this T&A fest. Outside of the constantly evolving Hana, Sunhwa –aka the bastard child of Kim Tae Hee and Jun Ji Hyun– is the standout for using her new act-dol status to give an Oscar-worthy performance that echoes Lauren Conrad’s most dramatic moment on The Hills.

lauren conrad gif

What I’m really amped for is SECRET’s live performances. They’re one of the top when it comes to live singing and dancing, and the “I’m In Love” choreography is off the damn chain. There’s already some epic fancams from a rain-soaked performance at a recent K-pop festival.

Unfortunately, “I’m In Love” is already flopping harder than “I Do I Do” on Melon right now, but hopefully things turn around soon, or the song shows some serious “Good-night Kiss” longevity. As a hardcore fan, I don’t think I could handle my girls tanking for a second consecutive time.

  • Marhaebwa

    Yes to this!
    I found myself stanning super hard for Hana, for she is rocking that blonde weave!

    True classy sex appeal. Please take note, nugu-groups!

    • Stadium

      Hana yes, she was trying to push Hyosung out of that top spot the whole time I nearly would have made her my bias right there and then. She’s been pushing for my top spot ever since Poison…

  • Mandy

    I like the song but don’t love it, but I don’t want to see them flop because those fan cam performances look awesome

  • T-ara the best

    her dancing flows really well. smooth like birds,

  • png

    I’m checking Melon right now at 10:45 EST and they’re at #15, so it’s not THAT bad but we’ll see.
    On another note, “Short Hair” has some amazing staying power. My favorites MAMAMOO are still in Top 50, something many rookies would kill for

    • Yeah when I wrote this it was #20. It kept bouncing from between 15-20. :(

      • png

        Ugh…WINNER just debuted so Secret has dropped so quickly. I don’t hate WINNER, but of course this had to happen right at their comeback. Well, Secret usually promotes along side big-name acts so it’s nothing new. As long as they stay within the Top 50 for a long time, it’s all good.

  • KingBeaArthur

    Hyo & Hana ruled that mv! They all look amazing! As a Duble stan I like the song a lot. I hope it doesn’t flop.

    Glob bless St. Hana.

    • You used to call her “Burger” and refused to say her name and now all of a sudden she’s “St Hana” and you’re stanning!

      As a true fan I’m glad I supported queen zinger since Madonna days

      • KingBeaArthur

        I only called her Burger b/c of that pic she posted on Twitter saying she wasn’t a burger! I didn’t and still don’t know what a goddamn zinger burger is!

        Does it really matter how long someone’s been supported when there’s support going their way? Calm down, sweets.

        • Nicole Naeun

          There’s this KFC burger called Zinger, lmfao!

      • Suzy Sooyoung

        Let’s be real, as much as I like Hana she’s the most laughable one in SECRET anyway.

        • Nicole Naeun

          Watch yo mouth, missy! I stan Kween Amazinger since the very first start when her cheek bones are higher than Mt. Everest!

          • Suzy Sooyoung


      • zinger time was the realest shit

  • Db

    Secret’s finally released something worthwhile since Poison.

    I don’t mind it when groups go for cutesy concepts, but in Secret’s case there were some major execution problems. First of all, having them go all aegyo for YooHoo and I Do I Do when they’re in their early to mid twenties is a terrible idea. You can go cutesy, but for the love of god keep it mature (see Nine Muses’ Dolls).

    Another issue I had was that the music is terrible. The songs were just a snoozefest best reserved for nugu groups. That doesn’t mean that nugu groups can’t release great songs (see Tren-D, TINT and BLADY)

    • Bitch no. Age doesn’t matter if you can pull it off, and SECRET can pull it off because of their cute baby faces and aegyo. I admit they went really far with the concepts but I found it cute and silly so it was charming. And Dolls wasn’t even cute concept, it was really chic and elegant.

      And SECRET’s music wasn’t terrible. The production on I Do I Do is fucking gorgeous. It was a jazz pop song that doubled as both a Christmas anthem and a wedding song. I can’t believe the producers even pulled that off, it’s incredible.

      The worst part of I Do I Do was that they were styled in a way that was either unflattering to their surgery, or made them look too different so ppl assumed they had more surgery than they actually did. I was re watching it tofay and even though it’s one of my fave SECRET videos, Hana looks like la toya jackson, sunhwa looks totally plastic and unnatural, and Hyosung looks cute yet bizarre.

      • James Smith III

        Drop that knowledge on him! “Yoohoo” slays

      • yoohoo was just released at the wrong time; they were all still recovering and recovery is ugly as fuck

  • Stadium

    Still love I Do I Do and I will always dance to it. This song is not a poison and definitely isn’t a Talk That with that much flawlessness but I do really love it. I’m glad they’re showing off their fierce style though. However, my favourite song of theirs is Do Better with 8eight Baek Chan so no song will beat it for me. It’s a huge grower.

  • As you said, it’s their best thing since Poison, though it’s obviously not as good. Well, maybe you didn’t say this, but I do. :v Anyway, Hyosung looks so sexy, while Hana and Jieun (or Sunhwa, I always mistake one for the other) look kinda weird, specially Hana. I mean, those new faces are good, but the overall look (hair + makeup + no expression) is awkward for now. But is it really flopping on Melon? I hope it doesn’t, because that would be a shame, specially after Hyoboobs sold a lot with her single/mini album.

  • Quang Phạm

    I do appreciate their cutesy songs as standalone songs but not so much considering they’re in Secret discography. I know they have to change things up sometimes because it’d get boring to see all the sexy stuff, but switching between concepts like yin and yang feels weird. A little change like Talk That is enough.

  • UncleFan

    Hyosung is the Queen of Flawless Bralessness! Loved Hana’s twerk, too.

  • Suzy Sooyoung

    I had the biggest fucking orgasm of my life when first watching this mv.
    They all look incredibly iconic and sexy which is not hard for SECRET to achieve anyway.
    The song is just simply AMAZING. Such a great production and it’s a really fierce song for the summer (please let’s acknowledge anyway that their less fierce songs are fucking flawless too).
    And I don’t know why I can’t get enough of the lyrics and usually that’s something I do not care in k-pop.
    Sadly tho I heard this is flopping :( :( :( :(

    Random Fact: I DO I DO can cure your soul so get on dat shit right now :)

  • Remi

    i am in love love love LOVE with HANA!

  • James Smith III

    I stan hard once again; Hana was so fierce and her vocals were on point.

  • O.

    Sunhwa is my vampire bride kween. *__*

    • sunhwa has been the most flawless kpop goddess ever since 2011(?) when she did the dating show with that gagman and that nanta performance

      i see a lot of people paying attention to how much weight hyosung and jieun have lost though, but imo that’s been happening for a while, and sunhwa is the one who randomly dropped some pounds this comeback cycle :o

      • O.

        You know, I didn’t really notice the weight she’d lost lately — because Sunhwa’s always been tall/thinnish, it’s not as easy to spot the weight fluctuations — but this pic really emphasizes it. :/

        There’s a marked difference between how she looks now and how she looked even during “Yoohoo”. I guess the fact that she’s standing next to Hyosung doesn’t help, because even if Hyosung has lost weight, she still looks substantial.

        Still love Sunhwa, but I hope she takes care of herself. :c

  • Thank you so much for pointing that out about Western fans. It always bugs me when they miss out on amazing songs just because the group isn’t fucking each other up the walls or twerking to some shitty written- on -the- toilet -and- not -well -thought –out- at -all trap beat.

  • t-errorist

    SLAYED. Their styling is amazing. Jieun and Sunhwa look so good.