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Summer is go time for girl groups

Female acts use the season as a chance to show more skin, get more attention

July 13,2015
Various female idols have released teaser images that match with their cool summer records. Girl’s Day. Provided by each agency
For fans of K-pop girl groups, summer means excitement despite the sweltering weather. With the start of the hottest season in Korea, major female pop acts including Sistar, Girls’ Generation and Girl’s Day have released their special summer albums.

Girls’ Generation. Provided by each agency
After Mamamoo unveiled their newest record, “Pink Funky,” on June 19, Sistar soon followed with “Shake It” on June 22. Other female groups have also been debuting seasonal songs one after another. Girl’s Day, for example, unveiled their latest track, “Ring My Bell,” on July 6, and arguably the nation’s top female idol group Girls’ Generation followed suit on July 7. The trend is expected to continue as a line of other groups is getting ready to announce summer albums in July.

Although listening to the melodious voices and watching the cool dance moves of those female singers is enjoyable to their fans, the summertime comebacks for idol groups are really quite predictable, since many of them have been releasing summer records for the last few years.

Mamamoo. Provided by agency
So, the question is, why does summer mean girl group hits? Unlike K-pop boy acts that have a solid following consisting of young, female fans, the level of popularity a girl act receives for their albums differs every time depending on how much attention they garner from the public.

Sistar. Provided by agency
And one of the best methods for female acts to attract fans is to showcase their slim figures and show off some skin while dancing along to upbeat rhythms, all of which are a good match for summer. Hence, summer has become the target season for many girl bands for making annual comebacks and releasing new tracks.

Seo Hyun-ju of Starship Entertainment, Sistar’s agency, made this point clear in her comment, “Summer is the best time for Sistar to naturally appeal with their sexy image in the hot weather.”

“Also, the group’s latest summer song, ‘Shake It,’ along with their previous summer songs ‘Touch My Body’ and ‘Loving You,’ are all upbeat dance tracks that perfectly match the ambience of the season.”

Culture critic Kim Heon-sik also admitted that summer is the ideal time for girl groups to present new albums because they can expose more skin during hot weather, which he said plays a crucial role in winning the hearts of their fans and garnering attention from people who were not normally interested in them.

Kim explained the reason.

“As the number of Korean girl groups has mounted up to as many as 100 these days, the competition has become very fierce,” he said, adding, “Since most other concepts [such as sentimental ballads and strong vocals] have all been previously performed by former female acts, the public has become jaded about those styles of music. So, the uncharted territory that will still work to attract the audience is ‘exposure,’ which can be best done in the summer.”

The level of influence that a girl group’s exposure has is clearly proven by the case of Stellar. Even though the female act debuted in 2011, they could not receive significant public spotlight until Thursday, when they released a teaser image before their upcoming album, “Vivrato,” which comes out July 20. In a photograph that is being called the most revealing among those of all other girl groups, the four members are wearing red dresses with high slits that expose a great deal of skin. Even though the image has been at the center of controversy for its inappropriateness, it certainly did work to catch the attention of a myriad of Internet users.

Although too much skin exposure may be frowned upon, if it works to help a girl band catapult to stardom for their summer album, they can not only earn immense popularity, but they can also make further plans to extend their performance period through September, even after summer has passed.

September is a popular month for girl bands because various music events such as university campus festivals, where various idol groups are called on to perform, are all scheduled to take place. As a result, after actively performing based on their summer records throughout July and August, those girl bands aim to be invited to the stage in those festivals to sing their latest hits.

Jung Won-jung from RBW Entertainment, to which the girl band Mamamoo belongs, confirmed the fact with her statement, “One of the reasons Mamamoo released their latest album, ‘Pink Funky,’ in June is that the band intends to participate in the line of festivals that are awaiting in September.”

Furthermore, aiming for fall festivals is more evident among female groups than all-male acts because the former are more likely to be invited to fall music festivals due to their comparatively lower prices, according to Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily. While that may sound unfair, it is the reality, since the supply of girl bands far outstrips demand.

BY JIN MIN-JI
[jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]



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