There’s a couple of reasons why I am wary of all rookie groups. First, they usually come with a lot of hype, as companies try to bill every single one of them as the Next Thing. This inevitably leads to huge let downs for reason number two. These new groups usually don’t have an identity or a sound that makes them unique. Without the establishment of brand personalities and a solid track record of releases, most rookie groups blend together and fade into obscurity as quickly as they burst onto the scene. Thus, I usually find its better to wait, and see who has staying power and then jump all over them singing their praises/bashing their music. The third reason is that the groups tend to be young, with a mixture of teens and twenty year olds that um makes me a little uncomfortable (when there are eight asses shaking on your screen, and you know that at least a couple of them haven’t graduated high school, well, I suddenly wonder if Chris Hanson will leap down from my roof). Yet, here I am reviewing Ace of Angels’ (AOA) second single, ‘Get Out’. The buzz around the group has been real, and with SNSD and Kara at the peak of their powers, it’s only natural to look ahead and see one of the group’s who’s being tagged to fill the void when those groups eventually break up.
AOA is unnecessarily complex and confusing. They are part band called AOA Black (Choa, Mina and Jimin on guitars, Yuna on keys and Youkyoung on drums make up AOA Black).
and part girl group named AOA White (AOA Black minus Youkyoung and plus Hyejeong, Seolhyun and Chanmi make AOA White).
Their drummer, Youkyoung, isn’t a part of AOA White which is explained in this hilariously epic tale put forth from their company FNC Entertainment. Per Wikipedia:
“AOA was revealed to be a dance group, with some members also playing instruments. Youkyoung (or “Y”) is listed as a “half-angel/half-mortal”, because she is only a member of the band half, playing the drums, resulting in AOA saying they are a “7+1” group. Explaining the concept of their debut FNC revealed that the seven “full angel” members (Seolhyun, Choa, Hyejeong, Chanmi, Yuna, Mina, and leader Jimi) looked on the human world through their crystal ball, and fell in love with the music of humanity. Youkyoung, the “half-angel, half-mortal”, also referred to as the key keeper, became curious about the human world and used the key to visit it with the other angels” AOA_(band).
which is a hell of a lot of words to say, “Youkyoung doesn’t give a shit about your singing and dancing”.
How will AOA manage to mediate between two concepts, involving eight girls, who are all a part of the same group, promoting the same song, only not really? ‘Get Out’ provides some clues as to how far such a concept can go.
The song itself is very good bubble gum rock pop. The popish rock beat keeps things cheery and allows the members of AOA Black to showcase their skills as musicians as it’s that ability which sets AOA apart from most other acts in K-Pop. The singing from main vocalist Choa and lead vocalist Yuna are damn good. Rapper Jimin comes through impressively strong near the end. Her bratty rap voice recalls a mixture of Hyuna and CL, and her ability falls neatly in between those two. Youkyoung’s percussion keeps things moving forward at a steady pace. The five of them know their strengths and never try to step on each others toes when it comes to vocals either, which is a relief. The chorus is usual K-Pop simplicity with the sexy “Ooo-oh-Ooo-oh-oh-oh” keeping the song catchy and fun. Overall, an easy breezy pop song which AOA executes perfectly.
The video exemplifies what is great and also what is problematic with AOA. The good? The five members who play instruments are great.
Choa and Yuna are fine vocalists, Jimin and Mina are suitable rappers, and Youkyoung is a good drummer. They’re all pretty hot and their scenes rocking out in the music video are the most interesting and visually dynamic. The bad? Because it’s clear that the members of AOA Black are good enough to have a future in K-Pop, it makes AOA White… superfluous, unnecessary and confusing. I know it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to put this on film:
but as nice as that is, it’s not like that hasn’t been done before, won’t be done again tomorrow, and forever as long as K-Pop lasts as A Thing. The “concept”, if you can call it that, reinforces this. ‘Get Out’ is disconnected cosplay. That’s it. You’ve got Kill Bill, Lara Croft, Fifth Element, Romeo and Juliet, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Professional, Legally Blond and Harry Potter are all represented with no apparent connection between any of them (some college student will get high and write a critical film studies essay on the thematic elements that all these movies share and I will give exactly zero fucks). It crystallizes the huge problem facing AOA: disparate elements that don’t fit and unnecessary fat that could be trimmed. Now, this could be said of most K-Pop groups. For every Taeyeon, Gyuri, and Hyorin, there’s going to be a Sooyoung, Hara and Dasom. It’s just that when you have an explicit splitting of a group, and one does everything that the other can and more, it highlights the uselessness of the other half. The three members of AOA White that are not a part of AOA Black (Hyejeong, Seolhyun and Chanmi) do not add anything substantial that the members of AOA Black don’t already got in spades. And no amount of hypnotic ass jiggling can hide that.
Now if it sounds like I’m not a fan of AOA’s ‘Get Out’, don’t get me wrong. I like the song. A lot. The idea of AOA Black is intriguing and I hope that they get more chances to shine. I went into reviewing ‘Get Out’ with the expectations of the band being a gimmick to hide the lack of talent of the group as a whole. What I found was the opposite. The band concept is so cool on it’s own that it makes the dance group look gimmicky in comparison (or I just really find girls who can play rock instruments hot. Probably a little of column A and a little of column B. Watching Choa (fake but whatever, the guitars aren’t hooked up because of dumb Korean laws involving music programs which is why you can only hear Youkyoung) rocking that guitar turns me into a wannabe groupie). And as that becomes clearer and clearer, I hope that AOA does the right thing and commit fully to AOA Black. They are far more interesting and intriguing as a pop group than AOA White.
zomg marry me Choa
They can keep rocking those shorts from the music video though. No harm in that.
AOA Black: 25 Potentials out of 17 Intrigue Points (wanna see a real live performance). AOA White: Painting a white wall white. Because it’s redundant you see. ‘Get Out’ as a music video: 5 identity crises out of 5 bad cosplay conventions.