Review: Pink Up by APink

Pink Up by APinkAPink’s last album, Pink Revolution – note: I am not counting Dear, mostly a compilation of rearranged singles – saw the group shift their sound ever so slightly, towards a more mature, R&B-ish sound that made the most of the group’s vocal strengths. That, somehow, did not click with everyone. I liked it, but some were alienated, and while it did well on the charts, the reaction seemed more muted. Is Pink Up the group backtracking? It certainly sounds more familiar, more APink, down to lead single “Five” being an almost note-for-note flip of their earlier single “Luv”. (It’s not unusual in K-pop.) Perhaps the only concession to the last album was second track “콕콕”. And yet I’m not disappointed. I was hoping they’d continue down that path – or maybe I’m just completely into “Only One” from the previous album. But, then, APink has pinned down that innocent sound that does not feel cloying like most stereotypical K-pop girl groups – not even the ones I actually like. It makes sense for them to revisit it, to return to it, even. I don’t know. Maybe it really is just me. [NB]3/5

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Review: Pink Revolution by APink

Pink Revolution by APinkAPink has not strayed from their innocent (but not cloying) lane since their debut, but with Pink Revolution, their third full-length album, the, err, revolution is both subtle and shocking at the same time. Just one listen to the opening track (and lead single) “Only One” hints at a more mature sound that, save for a couple of tracks, builds towards something that’s not much of a grand statement but an expression of intent. Pink Memory was not cloying, sure, but it still had the hallmarks of your typical K-pop “innocent” sound. That album proved that the sound still suited them – especially when they swerve towards ballad territory, especially when Jung Eun-ji is leading the charge – but the entry of acts like GFriend somewhat made these vets stick out a bit. But, again, this isn’t a grand statement. It’s not a “we’re grown up” thing. They never needed to claim that. You don’t even get an inkling of it from the release of their fan appreciation single “The Wave”, which closes this record. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Pink Revolution is how it just happened – they themselves claim the decision to get producing team Black Eyed Pilseung for their lead single came naturally – and it’s so much of a no-brainer you don’t even notice it. [NB]4/5

How to collect Korean pop music, part four: the girl group course

How to Collect Korean Pop MusicA similarly daunting task stares down at us in this week’s installment of How to Collect Korean Pop Music: the girl groups. To our advantage, this means something far more up Rainy’s alley, which means we don’t have to rack our heads thinking of acts worth putting here. (Let this be an apology to the people who told us we missed out on a critical boy group, TVXQ, who are arguably the K-pop scene’s first boy group to amass the following we’d later see with Super Junior and Exo. Yes, we know, we know.)

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Review: Pink Memory by APink

Pink Memory by APinkAPink has been around since well, I don’t know. I mean, “I Don’t Know”. Pardon me, but I did that on purpose and now I sound lame. Slap me for not realizing that Pink Luv was just an EP, and this is just their second full-length album. Just their second, but suffice it to say that APink is in full bloom, and it’ll be spring for them for a long time, methinks. I love how this whole album opens with “Remember”‘s music box-y intro. I got discombobulated when I listened to it the first time, that part in the chorus where the percussion breaks for a second. But I got over it and I now play this soft bubblegum pop track on my way to work everyday. The thing about APink is they stay true to their brand: cute and innocent without any traces of cheese. Or they’re all cheese without being tacky. I have so many good things to say about them, especially Eun Ji, who’s responsible for upping their game right from the beginning. Others are vocally capable but Eun Ji’s voice is still bae. Another song of note is “Promise U”, which was released a couple of months back. I actually ignored it until I was assigned to review Pink Memory, but I totally regret shunning it because that’s one hell of a song. Nothing phenomenal, but it’s so good and sweet and Eun Ji’s part gave me goosebumps. That’s APink for you. [SY]4/5