March was dominated by great K-pop tracks from female artists, rookie groups, and veterans alike.
For January and February’s round-ups, we focused on the shift towards serious and dramatic K-pop that’s occurred. After the rocky year the industry had in 2014, it was to be expected that so many artists were turning towards introspection. Well, it’s seemed to have worn off. March essentially returns to status quo for K-pop: bright colors, killer hooks, and tons of fun. But it was also a month dominated by female artists. Typically, I try to strike a balance in the round-ups between male and female artists, but March has seen an overwhelming amount of incredible music by female idols and groups, such that it seemed impossible to leave any of them out. Sorry boys, maybe next month.
Red Velvet also released a video for “Automatic”, a slower, more R&B-leaning track that showcases a ‘90s sensuality. If last year’s “Happiness” left you on the fence about Red Velvet, "Ice Cream Cake" will surely convince you that this is a group to take very seriously.
“Paradise Lost” is dark, gothic, and sensual. Ga-in writhers on the floor like a snake. She crawls amongst clawing, naked men. She seductively sips water from a dripping pipe, becoming the personification of original sin and the temptation of the snake. We, as an audience, are tempted by Ga-in with her powerful vocals and sexual appearance. With “Apple”, though, we get the more playful side of the story. Hawwah dances by herself in the Garden of Eden. She rides bikes, plays with a bouncy ball, and suggestively holds a water hose. The jazzy pop music contrasts the epic backdrop of “Paradise Lost”, but the goal is the same. Despite the protests of Jay Park’s rapping Adam, she eats the apple, and we root for her as she does. The videos and concept take on a feminist stance, turning the story of sin into one of female liberation. In the same statement, Cho Young-chul asks, “Wasn’t Eve an amazing woman who rejected the heaven told to her by others and carved out her own life?” In “Paradise Lost”, Ga-in reminds us that “they’re making up a story so they can control you and me.” As always, Ga-in is the most interesting artist in K-pop, continually pushing the boundaries musically and thematically. Hawwah is no exception.