01/02/2022 – I Really Wanted to Love This

So, in the world of K-pop, SM Entertainment recently put together a supergroup made up of members of Girls’ Generation, Red Velvet, and Aespa, all led by the Queen of K-pop BoA (as if they weren’t busy enough?). With the rush of the holidays, I barely had time to even process this, because it’s an unreal lineup: you have the superstar vocals of Taeyeon and Wendy, the crazy dance talent of Hyoyeon and Seulgi. It’s also an opportunity to educate myself, as I’m not studied enough to be able to tell BoA from newcomer Winter. I know, it’s shameful, I’m sorry. Karina is easily identifiable because she’s the one who looks like Taeyeon. I mean, it’s uncanny. And the group is called Girls on Top, a BoA callback that’s only too appropriate given the star power. They debuted their first song at SM Town Live 2022 over New Years, and, uh, I don’t know. I don’t even want to say it for fear of turning into a pillar of salt, but it’s bad.

It’s the instrumentals. It sounds like when a little kid discovers the tambourine in the toy room, it’s repetitive, discordant, and just awful. I checked several times to make sure my headphones were plugged in correctly, because sometimes they’re not, and the system audio comes in distorted. I’ve seen the video twice now, and apparently this is the real deal.

It should be a slam dunk for me, but so far, “Step Back” is easily the worst debut song I’ve heard from any group. Everything else is 100%: the dancing, the vocals, the outfits. But the production is such a far cry from the beauty of Red Velvet. I know I can’t expect Girls on Top to be the same thing — it shouldn’t be — but I don’t want this amazing opportunity to go to waste. Or rather, I don’t want to be left behind.

In the meantime, I’ll look forward to the supplemental material. It’s a thrill to watch any combination of these idols link arms in choreography, and I want to see the shenanigans they get up to behind the scenes. Wendy and Seulgi aren’t the maknaes anymore, and Taeyeon isn’t the leader. The mind boggles.

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