Summertime is a highly-anticipated time for K-pop fans because it is around this season a lot of K-pop groups release new music through mini-albums. This is especially important for fans of veteran K-pop groups who’ve been around for some time. Unlike newer K-pop groups like Red Velvet and GFriend, older groups like Girls’ Generation and Sistar are established enough that each of its members may have a list of solo activities that are tantamount. As a matter of fact, these solo activities are the reason why Jessica Jung — the very first member of Girls’ Generation — left the group, and eventually SM Entertainment.
However, summertime is usually reserved for K-pop groups, both old and new, to comeback with something for their fans, even if its just a song. Yet, a summertime comeback doesn’t necessarily mean a summer theme. One must wonder which K-pop group did the theme of “summer” best with their summertime comeback or debut if they’re new?
Before continuing, it is best to detail that a summer theme is one with its typical associations. This means road trips with friends, sunny beaches, picnics, vacation from school, and the like. With that resolved, which K-pop group highlighted such summer themes the best?
Girls’ Generation with “PARTY” — The premier track from their album Lion Heart which released on August 19, 2015, Girls’ Generation’s “PARTY” is probably the most popular song on this list. There are two reasons why that is. The first is that Girls’ Generation is the most established K-pop group featured on this list. The second is many K-pop fans, especially Sones (Girls’ Generation fans), wanted to see how the famous group would function with the absence of Jessica Jung.
“PARTY” is a song which celebrates having a party with friends, specifically a beach setting given most of the lyrics translate to themes often associated to either the beach or tropics. Therefore, the music video had to feature what the lyrics express as it was shot at a beach resort in Ko Samui, Thailand. Each girl, though part of a group, was highlighted with their own particular beach theme shown by the swimming suit they wore, hairstyle they sported, and how they were presented as an individual in the music video. There were some scenes done in a bar used to concentrate on the song’s dance choreography. Summarized, the “PARTY” music video highlighted an exotic vacation on the beach.
Apink with “Remember” — Technically,”Remember” is the second featured track off of Apink‘s second full-length studio album which released on July 16, 2015, Pink Memory. However, it was used as the promotional track for the album since their first featured track “Promise U” was originally a single available for digital download about three months earlier. Given the fact that Apink is a newer group (debut was in 2011), their music videos outside of the studio doesn’t have the same production value as the others on this list. However, this is one of two songs here considered to be more “pure” or “innocent.”
“Remember” is a song in which the singer is telling either a past summertime friendship or romance to remember the good times they had during the season and to experience it again. Therefore, its music video featured far more memorable summertime spots and activities one may have on an annual basis such as yachting with family and friends, house parties, and spending time at a local beach. Something specific to Koreans is the open fields with wind turbines. That area is most likely a part of Jeju Island, a famous island Koreans go to for the clean air and simplicity, especially for those living in Seoul or any of the other major urban cities of the country. As for Apink themselves, they are dressed in the basic fashion one would see a beautiful Korean girl wear during summertime.
Minx with “Love Shake” — This song is the very first EP — released on July 2, 2015 — done by the second-newest K-pop group on this list. As a matter of fact, this is technically Minx’s second song they’ve done as a group throughout the entirety of their two years in existence. By what it seems, it looks like Happy Face Entertainment (Minx’s label) wants to make them the hyper-sexualized cute girls of K-pop. Not only is their music video for “Love Shake” oozing with innuendo, but the fact the label made a “close-up version” music video seems to enforce this direction.
Before analyzing the music video itself, the lyrics for “Love Shake” are best described as the K-pop group flirting by using dessert similes. Lines (translated in English) like “My love is like whipping cream” and “Mix it in and sprinkle it on top,” may come off as having a second (more sexual) meaning. Anyways, Minx did stick to the summer theme with sets featuring a beach and beachside shopping area. But what will be noticed is Ji-U, Su-A, Siyeon, Yoohyeon, and Dami wearing tight low-cut tank tops that show off their core and tight short shorts that show off their legs while they hip-thrust and twerk.
Let’s hope K-pop fans aren’t as mean as they used to be when Sistar came on the scene. Back then, Sistar was “slut shamed” for such a direction, ergo it may happen for Minx too. Speaking of Sistar…
Sistar with “Shake It” — The experts of super sexy K-pop music videos made their return this year with their latest EP released on June 22, 2015, “Shake It.” Just like Girls’ Generation, Sistar is established since they made their debut back in 2010. Each of its members are doing more solo endeavors now. Hyolyn and Bora are partaking in rap careers as well as maintaining their subgroup, Sistar19. Soyou is concentrating on a solo singing career. Finally, Dasom is foraying into K-dramas with a current lead role in The Virtual Bride which is also known as The Eccentric Daughter-In-Law. Summarized, “Shake It” was Sistar’s obligation as K-pop idols they needed to fill.
From what it seems, “Shake It” has the simplest lyrics in which the two verses — one sung by Hyolyn and Dasom and the other rapped by Bora — are only four lines each. They are the only unique parts of the lyrics because the hook and chorus are repeated numerous times. As for its meaning, it is Sistar wanting their fans to “shake it” as in hip thrusting, hip twisting, and twerking.
Now to be fair, Sistar compensated the limited lyrics (though the song is catchy) with one of the most flamboyant music videos in which the summer theme is the end of the school year. There are seven sets (block party, school hallway, classroom, sports field, clothing store, bleachers, comic book dancing stage), a large cast of extras filling in as students, dancers, hockey players, and other roles (the long-haired student, teacher, and two store employees stand out), and numerous set props including a customized fire truck, police car, and inflatable dolls. As for Sistar’s look, their clothing was designed to match with the eccentric style of the music video. However, it is obvious Sistar switched to yoga pants when they started to hip thrust, hip twist, and twerk.
GFriend with “Me Gustas Tu” — This song is actually the second single performed by GFriend, who made their debut earlier this year. This makes them the newest K-pop group out of the others here on this list. Despite being greenhorns, they are getting a lot of attention for their live performance of this song on a wet stage. Two of their members, Yuju and SinB, slipped and fell a total of nine times mid-performance. Still, they continued until they were finished. As a result, numerous news sites — especially ones that usually don’t write on K-pop — reported on the situation praising GFriend’s professionalism and perseverance. Also, this is the second song considered to be “pure” and/or “innocent” alongside Apink’s “Remember.”
Anyways, the official music video for this song was released on YouTube on July 23, 2015. Upon translation of the lyrics, the song is about gathering the courage to start a summer relationship or romance. As for the music video, it is evident it had the lowest budget out of the others probably because GFriend is fairly new. Yet, it stood out not just because the second language it dabbled in was Spanish and not English, but because it showcased the minuet details of a simple summer season. This include crowding around a fan because it is too hot, eating watermelon on the porch, indulging in ice cream at night, a picnic in the woods, blowing bubbles, and a water hose fight in a friend’s backyard. It also helped that the video was filtered with a brighter tone which fit well for the summer theme.
Now the question worth asking is which one of these summer releases, either it be a comeback or debut, best represented the theme of summertime for 2015? If not one of these K-pop songs, which K-pop group did it better and what song?
[Image via Screen Capture of Sistar’s “Shake It” Music Video]