G-Friend is such a weird anomaly. A J-pop inspired group with C-list visuals and a small agency that shamelessly copies Girls’ Generation and APink, yet somehow they’ve experienced an unprecedented amount of success for a rookie girl group.
What’s G-Friend’s secret? Is it all down to their ties with SM Entertainment, or is there something more? Is their flawed beauty more relatable to teens and appealing to uncle fans? Is it the nostalgia factor of their music and concepts? Is it sajaegi and savvy media play? Maybe it’s all of the above?
As expected, the group’s new single, “Me Gustas Tu” (Spanish for “I Like You”), is already a big hit on the digital charts, and it’s not hard to see why.
Produced by “Glass Bead” hitmaker Lee Gi Yong Bae, “Me Gustas Tu” is right on trend with literally everything that’s popular this second: early 2000s bubblegum production, innocent concept, summer-friendly. Add in heavy J-pop influences in the form of artificial electric guitars and the styling of the music video and you’ve got a group that’s both incredibly derivative and wonderfully fresh all at once.
Making the title Spanish (and subsequently the chorus too) instead of English is also a clever way to make G-Friend stand out and offers further proof that music has no language (something us K-pop fans are always telling the non-believers).
“Me Gustas Tu” is basically a Japanese, Spanish, Korean hybrid!
Even G-Friend’s choreography is strong and distinctive while their live performances are synchronized and energetic. This is probably a result of their SM connections, which gives them access to some of the best choreographers around.
Overall I can’t say that I like G-Friend more than the groups that inspired them like APink or vintage SNSD, and they haven’t surpassed the other cute rookies like Oh My Girl or Lovelyz. But I don’t particularly like them any less, either. I’m loving all the new girl groups these days for different reasons, and the return of the innocent concept is nice after last year’s sexy craze.
I just wonder how long G-Friend can last. With the way they’re going they’re either gonna rocket straight to the top like APink did, or their bubble will burst and their fleeting stardom will be chalked down to some of the factors I mentioned before.
Until then, I’ll be watching. This shady group fascinates the hell out of me!