The “Girls” downfall


SM Entertainment Co, Ltd.

Aespa has returned with full force for their 2nd mini album, “Girls”. Unfortunately, their overall discography has been a disappointment to audiences.

In just two years, South Korean girl group Aespa has won 32 awards globally, ranked third on the Billboard Main Charts and popularized their entire brand with just a single song. Setting records ever since their 2020 debut, the girls are both a musically and conceptually unique addition to Korean music’s expanding popularity.

Aespa members Karina, Winter, Giselle and Ningning recently released a 2nd mini album, “Girls.” Unfortunately, the highly awaited return of the K-Pop supernovas came as a disappointment. To audiences’ dismay, even the flashy choreography and impressive vocals could not remedy their lack of musicality. 

Overall, there was nothing notable about the discography. By recycling former releases such as “Forever,” “Dreams Come True” and “Black Mamba” the album feels tiresome and repetitive. Although the inclusion of old songs showcases Aespa’s past achievements, fans looking for new songs to put on their playlist will not be ecstatic to see one too many familiar tracks. 

Even the newer tracks in their discography — “Girls,” “Lingo” and “ICU” —-  led to one disappointment after another. “Girls” was a fierce continuation of Aespa’s musical trademark: synth-heavy texture combined with rough bass. However, there was a lack of the strong intensity that had carried the group to fame. “Girls” as a song was highly unmemorable with repetitive, clamorous instrumentals and a predictable song sequence. “Lingo” and “ICU” also failed to assist the album’s desperate attempts to display distinction from their past releases. Simply put — the songs were boring.

Two tracks, “Illusion” and “Life’s Too Short,” were released a month before the album and both turned out to be the most musically satisfying. “Illusion” is a powerful synth-based piece like “Girls,” but was able to create a far softer texture, giving the song a weight irreplaceable by more powerful instrumentals. “Life’s Too Short” asserts itself as completely distinct from Aespa’s traditional style with lyrics about how life’s too short to listen to all of the hate of the world over a surprisingly lighthearted pop guitar rhythm. Unfortunately, the two pre-releases turned out as the only satisfactory elements in the entire release.  

Ever since their debut “Black Mamba,” Aespa has been solidifying their unique cyberpunk music in an oversaturated K-Pop market. However, their once refreshing style may have been repeated one too many times. Their newest songs are stale and formulaic, repeating one or two catchy phrases over hard electronic synths and bass. With unrelatable lyrics that connect mostly to their vague mythology, many audiences are only attracted by the popular dances or instrumentals —- rarely ever does their music feel genuine. If Aespa wants to stay relevant in the rapidly evolving K-Pop market, the group needs to be able to be more experimentative with their material instead of a repetitive formula; before they fade into obscurity. 

“We them girls, We them girls, We them girls.” In contrast to the bold lyrics, “Girls” as an album garnered much disappointment. Although what once popularized Aespa was their repetition, that may now be the cause of their potential downfall. Neither the musicality nor the save for a few tolerable pieces; as an album, “Girls” will quickly be lost to the memories of listeners.