U.S. digital cable and satellite television channel Fuse TV has recently picked out 11 rookie K-pop groups of 2015 and analyzed their current work and future direction.
Fuse TV gives the 13-member boy group from Pledis Entertainment full credit for debuting with such a large number of members, releasing catchy, well-crafted songs, and producing their own material. (Member Woozi wrote and produced debut single “Adore U” while Hoshi created the choreography.)
Oh My Girl
Although the list briefly references Oh My Girl’s recent detainment at a U.S. airport, Fuse goes on to praise their complex group formations and choreographies and unique songs. They caution, however, that the girl group needs to “solidify their identity” and let individual members shine, a warning that is given to several other girl groups on the list.
A year ago, Fuse named WINNER as one of their Top Breakout Stars of 2015. Now they go on to praise YG Entertainment’s latest breakout group iKON, naming their versatility from aggressive hip-hop to sentimental rap as one of their strengths.
Though it seems that lately everyone and their mothers are talking about the nine-member girl group from JYP Entertainment, Fuse is less-than-impressed with their debut material. They criticize the song’s “confusing” structure and lack of cohesiveness in the live performances. They do praise each member’s star quality, however, and go on to say that they only need better material to help them shine.
Another act from JYP Entertainment, Fuse calls DAY6’s debut EP “one of the best rookie releases this year.” In DAY6, all the group members play their own instruments and don’t participate in music programs or variety programs like other idol groups, focusing on busking and street performances instead. Although Fuse is impressed with their sound, they mention that it wouldn’t hurt to gain more exposure on broadcasts.
While Fuse is skeptical about whether this seven-member act was deliberately copying INFINITE, as fans accused during their debut, they suggest that the septet look for concepts and music that make them stand out in the future.
Although praising Cube Entertainment’s latest group’s debut single for its catchiness, the list suggests that CLC needs to establish an identity like their company seniors, 4Minute.
Fuse notes that in 2015 the trend for girl groups is leaning toward innocent concepts, while the trend for boy groups is hard hip-hop. MONSTA X is a good example of the latter, and Fuse has nothing but praise for their musical work so far, but cautions that they will need to stand out from the other rap-focused groups currently flooding the industry.
Under-the-radar girl group The Ark (and one of my personal favorites) received praise from Fuse for “telling unique stories not usually found in K-pop.” Their debut single, “The Light,” was accompanied by a music video that told the heartbreaking story of a mother-daughter bond, especially hard-hitting in the wake of the Sewol ferry disaster. The list suggests that the group should keep going in this direction.
Fuse praises N.Flying for changing it up from their company seniors FTISLAND and CNBLUE by mixing in hard rap into their rock band sound, but suggests that they still feel raw and need time for their skills to develop. However, they praise their unique, strong concept.
Fuse’s response to GFRIEND, early named as one to watch by media outlets, is ambiguous at best. Although they name GFRIEND as the leader and most successful of the new trend of “innocent” girl groups, they suggest that they need to find a unique identity lest they risk being “nothing but a Girls’ Generation tribute act.”
Do you agree with Fuse TV’s assessment? Are there any rookie groups in 2015 that you feel they left out?