Apr 4, 2015

CLC's "Pepe" Is Both Amazing and Underwhelming

CLC - First Love

The last group Cube Entertainment debuted was BtoB, a seven-member boy group with talent, looks and endless amount of potential. I think we can all agree that their skills have gone terribly wasted, and it's hard to understand why that is since they're label-mates with hugely successful acts such as Beast, A Pink and 4Minute.

When I heard that Cube were releasing another group I was excited but also worried. Would the five members of newly debuted CLC (Crystal Clear) meet the same fate or would their company step up their game and promote them in a good manner? Their debut song "Pepe" provides no answer to that question.

Right off the bat there's one thing that Cube has succeded with when it comes to CLC, and that is creating a separate image for them. Their two other girl groups have very opposite images and concepts, and now they've found a middle ground with this new, fresh unit. They're nowhere near as cute or feminine as A Pink but not nearly as tough or sexy as 4Minute. All in all, this is the kind of image that has been severely decreasing over the last years, as the market right now is made up of either hypersexualized girl groups with seductive dance moves and sexualized teen girls in school uniforms. That's why CLC's image and concept to me is a much needed and awaited one, and for that reason alone I already really like them.

CLC - First LoveThat's not all of course, as these girls have plenty of tricks up their sleeves as well. Having performed guerrilla concerts since way before their debut with live instruments and wonderful harmonies has already given them a advantage when it comes to live performing, and I'm sure that they will continue singing covers and acoustic versions of their songs. Like with BtoB, who possesses enormous talent in both singing and playing instruments, CLC have endless potential to use those skills to their advantage. The main issue is, yet again, their label whom have continuously failed to promote BtoB for their talents and need to step it up so that CLC won't meet the same fate. 

The last 6 months have been absolutely wonderful in terms of good girl group debuts and releases, and now suddenly every group is singing acapella and showcasing their vocal skills all while looking perfect and performing perfectly live. Lovelyz and GFriend are perfect examples of groups that fall into that category, and now with CLC there's another one. I personally love that talent has become relevant again, and I hope that there will be an increase in talented rookie boy groups too, because right now it's all about the girls. As for CLC, there's no doubt these girls can sing, even though their debut song isn't the most vocally challenging.

CLC - First Love"Pepe" sounds like a perfect mixture between the sounds of their two sunbae girl groups. There's plenty of resemblance to 4Minute's "Whatcha Doin' Today?" in terms of the musical sound but it's a preppier, sassier effort. I guess you could describe it like what A Pink would have done if they were given a 4minute track. The song isn't my favorite debut son from a Cube group, but it definitely gets stuck on your mind and works perfectly well for their concept and age.

The video on the other hand, is quite disappointing. Again, it works for them because it fits their image and style, but in the end it's still somewhat basic. Not that there's a problem with that because basic can be good when done right, but this video is still lacking that extra something. The lyrics of the song are pretty good, not because they're particularly groundbreaking but because they are sassy, self-aware and confident, and the video follows the same vibe. I truly like watching them perform because they bring tons of energy and attitude to their stages, and it's easy to see their passion in the video as well.

However, the premise for the video is underwhelming. The sets are decent and I like all the lights and colors, but it all seems a bit cheap for a company that has, and can, produce better videos. There's no distinct plot even though the lyrics are perfect for a kick-ass girl power story-line, and that's a bit disappointing. A large portion of the video takes place in a upside-down turned room with props on the walls and ceiling, and while it's fun and different I see no direct relation to the meaning of the song, other than it possibly meaning the distorted world of the lies the other part in the lyrics are telling. But then again, it could just be a fun little twist on the typical box-set.

A true highlight of the debut though is, apart from the girls themselves, the high-energy choreography and the group's synced execution of it. I'm always on the lookout for girl group dances that aren't based on selling the members as sex-objects, and this one fits my criteria perfectly. Not only are the moves sharp and impressively synchronized and energetic, but it's also a fun routine that you can tell the members are enjoying performing. In fact, plenty of the girl groups that have made comebacks or debuts recently have been bringing their A-game in terms of dancing, and I find it extremely refreshing that the trends have shifted a bit because this time last year it was all about sexiness.

As a whole I'd say this debut was a successful one. And a worrisome one. It's obvious to see how talented and dedicated these girls are and how far they can go with the right music and management, but knowing they're from Cube makes me worried. So far there's been little active promotion of them outside of the music shows, and I know that fans have been complaining about the lack of media play. Although I think the song is good and the video is alright, they definitely need something more attention-grabbing for their comeback, as well as some better promotion on their label's part.

Song: 3,5/5
Video: 3/5

No comments:

Post a Comment