Friday, December 2, 2016

Notable Female Rookies of 2015

I've done a couple posts on the notable rookies of 2012 and there were some in 2014, but I never made a post for them for some reason. I guess I was distracted by doing a follow-up for 2012 and other things. Who really knows? I sure don't. Anyway, I feel like so much news about 2015's rookies made a bit of a stir and deserve their own post. This time, I've split them into female and male groups as one list would be too long. I also will only be focusing on 2015 releases and solely basing my opinions of them from last year.

I must admit I wasn't extremely impressed with this group. For the most part, their sound reminds of those jpop girl groups I usually avoid. It's interesting that a kpop group could have such a sound. Their debut song, "Glass Bead", reminded me a lot of a rare favorite SNSD song of mine, "Into the New World", which isn't a terrible thing. I found their debut to be okay and I preferred this song to their follow up "Me Gusta Tu", if I had to choose. It probably will be no surprise that I'm rather picky with girl groups and you'll notice that with further reading of this post. In short, I won't be following these girls too closely, but they're not terrible. From what I heard, they bring back some of kpop's roots back to the forefront.

Rubber Soul
Well, this group isn't exactly kpop, but more khip-hop with a dash of R&B. I want to say I ran into this group on a list of nugus or something. I could be wrong, but either way, I'm happy they've entered my range of vision. This trio of talented women bring back the soul and spirit of American hip-hop and R&B from the late 80s to early 90s. It makes me so happy and warm inside listening and watching videos such as "Life" and "Lonely Friday". I'm looking forward to hearing more of their music beyond the videos and hopefully some new material in the remaining 2016 and into 2017.

Let me surprise you by saying I was very happy with "Pepe". In fact, I'm sure I've shared it with a few friends around the time it was released. I liked the retro and fun sound of the song, the vocals are pleasant, and the visuals were bright and very animated. Sure, it was something I've seen and heard before, but I enjoyed CLC's execution of it all. Unfortunately, "Like" was a bit too cutesy for my liking. The song wasn't as catchy, but it wasn't bad. Sadly, their styling was atrocious and being infantized did become increasingly annoying. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to following these ladies and seeing whether "Pepe" was a fluke or that I will be actually seriously following them.

The Ark
When this group debuted with "The Light", many kpop sites I regularly check went crazy for The Ark. Naturally, I had to check out what the hype was all about. They gave me a similar vibe as D-Unit when they debuted, which is good. These ladies have some impressive rap skills and lovely vocal talent. The video is simple and sweet. I'm not sure if any of the members are featured in the video or not, but the story was very intriguing and different than your typical debut music video, especially for a girl group. Surprisingly, there isn't a follow-up video. So, I hope there's more to come from The Ark.

Oh My Girl
With a name like "Oh My Girl", I was expecting another sugary sweet girl group that I'll be rolling my eyes at and...I was pretty much right with their debut video, "Cupid". It was full of pastels and cuteness you would find in your typical jpop PV. It's not overly infantile and the song isn't that bad. Really, they fit in that same category as early SNSD and GFriend. It wasn't until "CLOSER" was released that the group really gained attention, including myself. "CLOSER" was a brilliant follow-up to the bubble gum colored cuteness of "CUPID". The video reminds me of FLOWER's semi-ballad PVs, which is always a good thing. The choreography is good and the visuals are soft and sophisticated, like a fairy tale. This was a welcomed vulnerable and classic side of the group that I don't get to see often from kpop girl groups.

Pocket Girls
Remember when Wa$$up gained all this attention for their twerking debut music video? Well, Pocket Girls had a similar debut. I believe the members used to be car models or something and you can kinda tell from their physiques that they're not your average girl group. "Bbang Bbang" isn't a terrible song, especially if you're used to the party electronic pop tunes that had been trending for a while and perfected by T-ara. It is a little lackluster, but their vocals aren't that bad. I don't see these girls going too far with their music career. The choreography is overly pandering and awkward in many places, like they didn't practice enough or are missing members. In short, I think Pocket Girls should stick to modeling or something because this music thing has to be a joke. I feel kinda bad for them.

I thought about leaving this other gimmick group that'll probably disappear off my list, but they caused a bit of a stir online as well. I thought they had a music video out for their song "Oppa Oppa", but I could not find anything. So, this dance practice video will just have to do. The song is decent, but it's nothing special. It's pretty catchy and the choreography is...okay. So, what makes this group a gimmick like Pocket Girls? Well, this group is mostly known for their infamous "no panties" fancams. I guess their agency is really pushing the sex thing on them. If that's the case, they'll definitely disappear deeply into nothing this year and probably next year.

With a group name like that and having a debut song be the same title as the group, I was a little skeptical. To my surprise, I honestly enjoyed this cute, upbeat track. The video was brightly colored with neon and pastel colors. Sure, majority of the gestures and imagery featured throughout the video are very cutesy, but it looked like the girls were having fun with each other. Ultimately, there was something about the chorus that was catchy to my ears and the girls had a sweet, yet mature charm about them. I'm looking forward to what else they have to offer their fans.

With a name like "Unicorn", I was tempted not to check this group out. I expected something super girly and cutesy and while there is some of that, there's more than that. In their debut video for "HUK", I had no idea what to expect from the minimalistic introduction, but what I got I was surprisingly pleased with. It was a colorful video filled with plenty of personality. It gave each member their own scene to shine with different glamorous and fun set pieces. It's really a cute song that features the girls' vocal harmonies and range without being obnoxiously cute about it. I'm really curious how this group will develop this year, despite their slightly unfortunate name.

One of the major labels JYP Entertainment was releasing a new group in 2015 and I was obligated to check them out. There was such a big deal made about them. "Like OOH-AAH" proved to be different than their predecessors under the label, Wonder Girls and miss A. They were a young, fresh faced group with a chic and stylish street style that most kpop fans would normally associate with YG Entertainment. I wasn't completely blown away with their cute, sassy, zombie infested debut, but I didn't dislike it in the least. I enjoyed the concept, mixing a fun high school feel with a zombie invasion. Each member had their moments of cute interactions with each other and spotlight scenes to display their unique and quirky personalities. The song is very catchy and I thought the choreography was very fun and suited the mood of the song. I hope JYP gives them the proper care they deserve, because they are rather talented.

Dia Girls
Not to be confused with DIA, this is quartet was one I thought I checked out during their debut, but it was in fact...well, it's obviously DIA. As you can tell that group didn't make the list, even though I think they have more music videos than this one, which is kinda unfortunate. Judging this group by the only music video released, the opening is a little strange, but everything else is golden. I love the sensual, angelic, and mature vocal range of these ladies and it really matches the mood of the song. The visuals are soft and sensual as well. I can't think of that many kpop girl groups that start off with such mature visuals. Usually, they'll go with the typical cutesy and vibrant route, then show off how much they've grown with something more sultry and vocal dependent. So, it was refreshing to seeing something like this right off the bat. I'm not sure if I'll delve further into their music, even though I'm really enjoying this first video from them.

Awesome Baby
Sometimes the most talented groups have the most silly names and this is one of them. When I watched their first music video below, I feared it would be another boring ballad filmed in a sound studio, but it ended up being more than that. Despite the lack of visual appeal, these ladies have voices and I love that! The video switches between a sound studio, street performance, and some solo shots of each member. Their sound was definitely something different compared to the other entries in this list and it made me think of female R&B groups of the 90s. With soulful vocals and energetic beatboxing, these charming ladies definitely kept my attention and make me excited to hear so much more from them. I'm really hoping that other people give them a chance as well, because they do offer something different compared to the big agencies and polished appearances.

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