When rumors of the possible disbandment of JYP's exemplary Sino-Korean girl group, Miss A, began to circulate months ago, I took some time to revisit one of the best groups I've never written about, particularly their last full LP, Hush, an underrated gem of sleek dance-pop. After the recent departures of 2NE1 and the Wonder Girls, losing Miss A would make this winter one of the most bittersweet in KPop history.
For the first time since she was discovered by an S.M. scout on the Seoul subway in 2003, Seo Joo-hyun, known better as SNSD's maknae Seohyun, goes solo, with her EP Don't Say No and its title track. Certainly a proud moment for the legions of Sones who adore her, but a well-deserved step into the limelight for the one who seems to have artistically matured and refined her talents over time more than anyone else in the iconic girl group.
Everyone's favorite chick-band-turned-burlesque-troupe, AOA drops their first Korean LP in their eventful four-and-a-half-year history, produced by the man who saved them with their classic "Miniskirt," Brave Brothers. Taking a cue from the Beatles of KPop, Bigbang, the Angels dropped a duo of lead tracks from the album, Angel's Knock.
The first female vocalist/songwriter/producer signed by Jay Park's independent AOMG label, Hoody (Kim Hyun-Jung), former bandmate of hiphop cult favorite KittyB and guest vocalist on several of Jay Park's most recent singles, finally stakes a claim of her own on the burgeoning Seoul indy R&B scene with a classic disco-flavored R&B number "By Your Side" from her impressive solo EP On and On.
After the confusing personel-fumbling that led to the demise of one of East Asia's most legendary groups, KARA, and the ill-concieved Japanese debut of talented sexy-concept septet Rainbow, DSP Media now places its hopes on a rarity in the world of KPop - a coed group.
With the release of "Wonderland," exiled SNSD fashion plate Jessica Jung fights the good fight, returning without the "Comeback" fanfare of South Korean weekly music shows, undoubtedly due to her rift with KPop's largest entertainment company, SM and its broad blacklisting muscle. After all, SM is making a big push to reap the rewards of the remaining Soshi members with their own solo efforts.
This has been a prosperous season for the youngest wave of new idol groups. Sparkly fresh-faced groups are slipping into the concepts once enjoyed by their sunbaenim but with hits, views and downloads surpassing anything their trailblazers ever enjoyed. BTS brashly invades Bigbang's space, Twice pops the bubblegum queendom once owned by SNSD, Red Velvet bounces through territory once owned exclusively by f(x) and now... YG's new 2EN1, Blackpink.
It's no secret that KPoppa.com considers Mamamoo one of the two South Korean girl groups that transcend the genre so much that their potential Western acceptance is purely a matter of publicity and language barriers. But they made some big mistakes with their latest, the much-anticipated follow-up to their smash hit "넌 is 뭔들."
One of Hallyu's most iconic and beloved groups is back with a Christmas present for their fans, the unstoppable "Queens." Unlike much of their quirky, uniquely campy, and energetic work, though, "Tiamo" is a soft, warm gift.
Continuing the theme of the neverending turnover of talent in the young Korean pop music world, JYP's coy, aegyo-infused monster girl group takes over with their best release to date. With I.O.I facing disbandment due to their unique temporary formation, Twice is poised to inherit (from SNSD) the role of Hallyu's number one massive-cute-fresh-faced-young idol group.