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Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Pink – ‘Snow Pink’

A Pink is back with their 2nd mini-album, ‘Snow Pink‘, picking up exactly where they left off. The question is, is this as bad of a decision as we’d immediately think it to be?
The “cute concept” is something that is both reviled and accepted among the international K-pop community – reviled for its lack of creativity where all it takes is a flowery background and “innocent” looks to pull it off, and accepted because of the simple fact that it’s everywhere. So it stands to reason that when A Pink released the concept for their second mini-album, many K-pop fans cringed at the thought of yet another aegyo-packed music project.
But here’s the thing: A Pink managed to surprise with their take on ‘cute’, and in a way that wastasteful.
I’ll be explaining why after a run-through of all five tracks in ‘Snow Pink’.
The album opens with “He’s My Baby“, which sounds like your typical SNSD filler track. It’s a bit of a disappointment considering that their last mini-album ended so promisingly with tracks like “Wishlist” and “Boo“, two interesting productions that sounded like ‘Owl City meets K-Pop’. Luckily, most people don’t expect much from the first track, knowing that gold lies in the second or third.
But there’s one thing that “He’s My Baby” did well —  it successfully introduced the ‘theme’ of the album, which in this case, established that A Pink would be continuing with their bubblegum-pop sound.
Fans of S.E.S. will experience a major flashback with A Pink’s “My My“. It’s like hearing a reincarnation of S.E.S.’s classic track, “I’m Your Girl“, but with a slightly faster BPM to make it platable to modern tastes.
“My My” sounds like something S.E.S. would’ve or could’ve done, and that’s really the charm of this track. This ’90s sugarcoated R&B/pop jam stays true to a classic sound that’s rooted deep within K-Pop’s core. While it’s manifested itself in other forms with great success (see: SNSD’s “Gee“), “My My” gives K-Pop fans old and new a chance to hear that old-school style in its original state.
The EP quickly picks up with “Yeah“, arguably the closest thing to a striking production in ‘Snow Pink’. Underneath all the cute melodies and playful arpeggiated chords lies a dubstep/dnb-influenced percussion. The influence is subtle and falls slightly short of being innovative, but moments like these separates A Pink from being just another cute girl group falling under the shadow of SNSD’s former image.
Like A Dream” sounds a lot like the Koreanized version of “Take A Bow“, a song produced by Ne-Yo for Rihanna back in 2008. While it acts as a breather from the other uptempo tracks in the EP, “Like a Dream” is hardly memorable and lacks the lyrical substance to keep our attention. There isn’t much to say, except that it’s the obligatory album ballad.
Finally, the EP closes with “Prince“, a fast-paced dance pop number that reminds us of somethingGirls’ Day would’ve wanted to release. It commits to A Pink’s elegant and fairytale-like sound palette, which wraps up this album quite nicely.
One of the advantages of using the same sound palette throughout an album is that it makes it cohesive, meaning that the album flows smoothly track by track, regardless of track order. That is exactly what we’re hearing here, and while there’s a threat of listeners getting bored of an album like this, A Pink utilized just enough variation in their EP to keep us entertained.
Unlike many other girl groups today, A Pink isn’t relying on catchy hooks to keep them relevant in the industry. They’re utilizing sweet, grounded melodies, which at one point was the very foundation of K-Pop.
One thing we have to note about K-Pop is that although it goes by trends that switches up every minute, it also supports songs with a pleasant melody and production. This is actually the beauty of K-Pop — no sound ever really expires. You can call some things you hear dated or cheesy, but when done right, it becomes a good pop song loved by everyone.
Sure, there’s nothing innovative or avant garde about A Pink. But just like how we all seem to advocate inventive K-Pop music, we should also appreciate and encourage those artists who keep the music we love listening to relevant and alive. It just makes the whole K-Pop listening experience that much more fun.
I tip my hat and bottle of Snapple to you, A Pink, for bringing us the old with the new.
credit: allkpop

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