An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie and some underground artists within the scene and provide both factual and opinionated commentary. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your own.
Welcome back to Rookie Roundup for 2020 Korean idol groups. Today’s lineup is MCND, P1Harmony, REDSQUARE, female super group Refund Sisters, and Secret Number, right after the drop.
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First, Music Creates New Dreams, or MCND, made their debut on February 27, 2020, on TOP Media. The five-member boy group released two EPs in 2020 and recently came back on January 8, 2021, with their third. I appeal to the music production choices made by its members, as they are the sounds of young producers. When a music producer is getting started, there is a stock sound, per se, that we begin with. There’s a sense of understanding of how a song should or could work, but our skills aren’t developed enough just yet. There’s great potential in that area and some audible progression across their current discography. They’re truly a pop-genre group, focusing on hip-hop and R&B more than anything else.
In a similar vein, FNC Entertainment’s P1Harmony is hip-hop and R&B focused, making their debut October 28, 2020, with an EP. I’m not against groups avoiding ballads but when you can hear that a group has the chops for it, it’s a slight tease. A couple of members of this six-member boy group sound like they have the capacity for soulful deliveries.
Taking a departure from the young men, we move over to five-member girl group REDSQUARE who made their debut on May 19, 2020. The young ladies released a single album that is fairly catchy since their debut, as they have already experienced a music label change, signing with a new division of Taewon Entertainment called ICONICMnE. There’s potential but with only two songs to judge and no news of a comeback, their window of opportunity might be closed before they even had a chance to begin.
There’s little to fear about false starts with our next group, Refund Sisters. For starters, this isn’t a rookie group, not in the traditional sense. They fall into the rookie category because they are collectively new to the scene as of October 20, 2020, but individually, they’re established in the industry. Spawning from the television show Hangout with Yoo, Refund Sisters is comprised of the “evergreen” multi-hyphenate Uhm Jung Hwa, the “nation’s fairy” Lee Hyori, Korean-American rapper and singer Jessi, and Mamamoo maknae Hwasa. That’s a heck of a lot of confident female energy to contend against the tv show’s other rookie group, who we’ll hear about next episode. Although I’m not a fan of Refund Sisters’ solo song, it’s awesome to hear the juniors with the established seniors. Also awesome is the fact that all proceeds from their promotions, and the group that came before them from the show, were donated to charity.
Final girl group for the episode is Secret Number of Vine Entertainment. Making their debut on May 19, 2020, the five-member multinational group has similar visuals to JYP Entertainment’s ITZY but the vocals are definitely different. There is a noticeable American vocalist flair that was confirmed when I learned that two members are Korean-American. It’s odd to say, “They sing like Americans,” without having the words to explain what that is, but I will find them and elaborate on it for A3Day Sister Show at some point. Anyway, Secret Number has two EPs thus far and are vocally doing more than what the tracks can handle. These are singers with powerful vocals and hopefully, they’ll have music that contributes to that power more in the near future.
As with previous rookies, none are added to the respective playlists, keeping in fairness with providing them time to gain albums under their belts. Check-in tomorrow for more Rookie Roundup! I’ll catch you in the next episode, bye y’all.
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