4Minute is back, stronger than ever

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4Minute is back, stronger than ever

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Korean girl group 4Minute is coming back to the local music scene after a yearlong hiatus with their latest mini-album “Crazy.” From left: Sohyun, Gayoon, Jihyun, Jiyoon and Hyuna. Provided by Cube Entertainment

Charisma is not something many Korean girl groups would choose to project in the current music industry, which prefers cute, pretty-faced girls to assertive or powerful ones.

But that didn’t stop local girl group 4Minute from pushing ahead with a spunky and independent image in their latest six-track mini-album “Crazy,” which was unveiled at midnight on Sunday. This is their first release in a year.

In fact, the quintet - Hyuna, Gayoon, Sohyun, Jihyun and Jiyoon - even admitted in a recent interview with Ilgan Sports, a Korea JoongAng Daily affiliate, that they “gave up on trying to look pretty on stage.”

“We wanted to show something that only 4Minute could do. We wanted to reclaim that ‘fearless’ image we had back in the day,” said Hyuna, the leader of the group.

The following are some excerpts from their interview.

Q. It must have been hard for you to give up that “pretty image.” How do you feel?

A. Jiyoon: It just crossed my mind one day that girl groups shouldn’t have to feel that pressure to look beautiful on stage. We have other outlets, like dramas or reality TV shows, where we can show off our looks.

Gayoon, what was it like working as an art director on this new album?

Gayoon: Since it involved money, I needed to persuade the company in the right way, so I had to present PowerPoint presentations and hold meetings with company officials.

I had a clear concept in mind that I wanted, but it was so unique that there were some disagreements. I designed the hats and mediated with photographers during the photo shoots regarding the concept.

Were there any issues with the new choreography?

Hyuna: It looks easier than previous dances, but if you follow the moves, you will know that it’s not as easy as it seems. It requires moving a lot of muscles that aren’t usually used when dancing.

Which member befits the album’s concept the most?

Gayoon: I guess Sohyun. She was a middle school student when we debuted. At the time, she looked alienated from the group, but now she looks very natural on stage.

How do you feel about this, Sohyun?

Sohyun: If I had one goal in mind with this album, it would be to woman up. To be honest, I was always the “cute” girl no matter what I did, and I didn’t like that.

Don’t you want to release a full-length album?

Jiyoon: We always do. For every album, we start with a lot of songs, but after sorting that out, we are left with only a few.

Gayoon: Also, the concepts for mini-albums and full-length albums have changed a lot compared to before. If we fill our albums with six top-notch tracks, it would feel complete. And fans also focus on the lead-off tracks instead of the whole album.

Your albums are released once a year. Don’t you want to release more?

Sohyun: Last year, we thought about releasing two albums, but there are some practical limitations because we’re not the only artists in the company. But there’s still hope.

We’re releasing our album earlier [in February] than in previous years [in April]. Maybe there’s a chance that we might be able to make another comeback by the end of this year.

BY PARK HYUN-TAEK [jes@joongang.co.kr]
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