For reasons unknown to me (and most people), Pledis Entertainment decided to let their iconic sexy concept group After School and its unique, quirky and popular subunit Orange Caramel lay fallow after the predetermined retirements of their leadership, first Kahee, then Jung Ah. They then dumped all of their resourses incubating the thirteen-member cutesy boy band Seventeen at the expense of their other, more compelling and mature male group Nu'Est.
From the "Why You Love KPop" folder: Yet another group loses key members and comes out swinging with perhaps their best work ever. This week, it's songwriter Brave Brother's little sisters, Brave Girls. They'd slapped us upside the head after a two-and-a-half year hiatus and completely new lineup with their sultry triphop hit "Deepened" in 2016, followed by the schlockier "High Heels" and now, back to solid, flawless R&B sung with irresistable bad English and unabashedly bold and sexy choreography with "Rollin'."
Kang Dong-chul, a.k.a. Brave Brothers, is one of South Korea's top hitmakers, having practically saved the careers of AOA ("Miniskirt") and Teen Top ("Miss Right"), breathed new life into T-Ara ("So Crazy") and Stellar ("Crying"), and cranked out custom anthems for a veritible who's who of KPop. His musical style is unmistakably R&B, drawing strongly, perhaps more than any composer in Seoul from the new jack swing movement of the 80's in the U.S.
Perhaps filling the void created by the odd hiatus of one of Kang's favorite song recipients After School, Brave Girls packs a sexy concept punch that has few rivals. Fiercely sensual, the group shrunk from a septet to a quintet, having lost their excellent rapper Hyeran to a medical hiatus and Yoojin to her studies. This week, they burst back on the scene with what could easily be their best effort yet, the part bop/part anthem "Rollin'".
As usual, the song starts with some kind of monogram, usually something like "Brave Sound Drop It" so frequently heard in his productions my many artists, but in this case, over a building intro vamp, a purred, "Brave Girls... Are you ready?" And you better be, because this thing kicks in hot, the members trading solos under a steady midtempo track slowly rising in intensity. The sound is synth-driven with trendy high-end warbles and trills punctuated by fingersnaps and a steady percussion track. As the prechorus kicks in, the tempo rises and vocals intensify, led by lead vocalist Minyoung (Kim Min-young) who's pitch is triumphantly stratospheric, snapping off the catchphrase, the mispronounced "Rollin, Rollin, Rollin," which sounds like "Lolly, Lolly, Lollay..." But you don't care. Minyoung fires off some particularly Asian styled responses to the catchphrase, almost ululating as the song hits its highest intensity.
It's a simple number, but performed with a confident, sexy swagger as seen in their 19-rated video (KPop videos are rated with a number that represents the recommended minimum age for viewing), its tamer versions and dance practice videos, and of course their strong live music show performances. This is a group of women that take no prisoners on stage, their choreography is bold and decisive, at one point undulating their hips smoothly while balancing on the top of barstools, a feat you'd only see from a group as adventurous as After School, and very unusual, but very impressive.
This is KPop gold. Love it: