Friday K-Pop Fiesta - March 15th, 2024

Groups that experiment with their sound make my list this week on the Fiesta.

Friday K-Pop Fiesta - March 15th, 2024
(G)-IDLE's Minnie sings while Miyeon vibes in the group's "Fate" Live Clip.

I've never really gotten the whole debate that comes up among long-time fans of a group or soloist about whether or not they "lose/forget their sound". The reason being that music is something that changes over time for an artist. While we can expect some level of the core elements that got us into a K-Pop act to remain, I feel some evolution has to be expected in order to see how artists grow as performers. Combine that with the fact that there's likely to be improvement over time and it's hard to come back round to an argument that says someone's music has departed significantly from what and who they are.

Like it or not, when a group plays with their core vibe, or even pivots slightly, that is what their sound is. It just feels more realistic than expecting the same exact thing every time. So as such, I've seen that who I've been listening to this week are very much experimenters, looking to do more than just more of the same. Let's take a look!

Chung Ha - "I'm Ready"

Regular readers and subscribers know that I just wrote about Chung Ha yesterday on pretty much the overarching theme of this week's Fiesta, but she's worth mentioning again just for the fact that "I'm Ready" is the comfort food to "EENIE MEENIE"'s experimental mood. This B-side is pretty much the driving and energetic track and dance pop that we're used to seeing with Chung Ha. I actually thought this would stay an intro, but having a full song is a nice bonus treat for her comeback after two years.

Even though this is still more in what people think is Chung Ha's wheelhouse, there's still little pieces and parts that feel and sound different. It's faster paced than a typical Chung Ha song, for example, and the bridge build-up to the end has her showcasing the lower-toned singing that she makes the centerpiece of the album's title track. Either way, this is good stuff and well worth turning on for your drive down the highway at night.

(G)-IDLE - "Fate"

An uplifting and light-hearted rendition that departs a bit somewhat from the girl crush and badassery concept that IDLE has exuded lately in their releases might seem foreign to the group at first glance. Yet fans will tell you that they are well-suited to these kinds of songs given their long history of fun B-sides like "Escape", or "What's In Your House" or "Paradise".

For "Fate", whose live clip, unfortunately, doesn't include Shuhua (as she's on a break due to health concerns), the group taps into not just music that feels bright, but also a setting that suits the airy lyrics and music. Picking out the idea of a few school friends trying out how good they sound together seems appropriate to this song, and is ideal for if you want a boost.

Red Velvet Wendy - "Wish You Hell"

Wendy's my favorite member of Red Velvet, and for her to take a title track for her 2nd solo album and have it not be a ballad is a bit of a surprise. To have it also be this deceptively happy tune that actually is full of spite is even better. Red Velvet's main vocalist has, I think, always deserved a bit more exploration in both concept and song style, and this checks all those boxes.

This is definitely one of those songs that the MV just elevates, as Wendy smiles and casually sings for the camera while pulling out tools that only someone on a tour of revenge might utilize. It's a reversal of the clean idol image that the industry tends to present to the general public and the result is a whimsical, yet sinister song that makes me certain I never want to cross Wendy and get on her bad side.


So I'll admit it - I'm really just more of a casual follower of BTS. I'm more familiar with their edgier, earlier work (like "No" for example) so when the group got big and created this globally endearing (and perhaps necessary) image of fun pop songs, it seemed like they flipped a coin concept-wise.

But with the group breaking away from each other to pursue solo projects for a while, we're seeing many of them explore that earlier, more serious mood, and if Jungkook's "Seven" didn't convince you (uncensored or otherwise), V might with "FRI(ENDS". The struggle of being stuck not being able to take the next step from friends to something more, the idea that everyone's found success in that but you, and oh yeah - that thing about V getting hit by a car multiple times - these aren't the same high-flying vibes from "Dynamite" and "Butter", but that's honestly a good thing. One day, BTS will come back together to dominate global charts once again, but until then, these solo projects give each member depth that fans will appreciate.

Affiliate Stuff

(For transparency: I receive a cut of all purchases through these links and partnerships I’m a part of - feel free to check them out!)

  • Notion still remains one of the best productivity tools I use to keep myself organized!
  • waterdrop continues to be the place I go to encourage more consumption of water through vitamin-filled, zero-sugar flavors