Feb 2, 2016
Not Much Impact With Imfact's "Lollipop"
It's another year and that means another round of fresh rookie groups, from both smaller and larger companies. We know now that both SM, FNC and Fantiago have plans to debut new boy groups this year so already there's going to be a lot to talk about, but first up in 2016 is Star Empire's new group Imfact. The company is behind groups such as Ze:a (or more so their successful members Kwanghee, Siwan and Hyungsik) and more importantly Nine Muses, a.k.a my precious babies. I am still very skeptical about this debut because I know these boys will have it hard, going by the experiences of their labelmates, and I don't know from where they're getting the money but hey, why not? Imfact consists of five members and debuted on January 26th with "Lollipop".
Imfact's "Lollipop" is...well, interesting to say the least. I don't dislike it but I can't say I love it either, which I suppose isn't a terrible thing knowing how some rookie releases can be. The song is an uptempo track with a lot of energy and ambition, but the end result does feel a bit messy and almost a bit overambitious. I kind of see where they're going but I think the flow of the song sounds unnatural at parts as it has some strange transitions, and the vocals and rapping are pretty terrible. I don't know if the boys themselves actually are as bad as the song makes them out to be, because if they're not than Star Empire did them real dirty with the vocal production. Overall the song is still alright to listen to maybe once or twice, but that's honestly about it.
The concept of this debut is pretty standard, which means it's mediocre and seen before, but again it's not the worst debut concept I've witnessed either. I do think that the school boy (and school girl for that matter) trope is getting old and overused at this point, and especially if the video isn't very well done (like GFriend's recent one for example) it feels rather gimmicky. With Imfact they've also gone for a kind of playful, almost rowdy kind of vibe as they portray students that really only want to have fun and party.
Ok, it's not that bad but I really am getting tired of this trope, and thus this debut feels kind of annoying to me. It's also kind of sad because they're not bringing anything new to the table at all, and while I don't expect them to do something revolutionary I don't really get a sense of who they are as a group with this MV. It's mostly playing on gimmicks and cliches, and it's pretty obvious that they're inexperienced because all their actions and facial expressions seem quite rehearsed and stiff. Of course you can't count on them to have it all fully down because they basically just debuted, but I was just expecting something a bit less generic and uninspiring.
In terms of the production quality of the video it's not the worst I've seen either from a rookie group from a struggling company, so I guess Star Empire does have some money after all. The sets, that are seemingly supposed to portray a school building, actually aren't bad at all and the color palette is very bright and saturated. However the authenticity isn't there at all, because anyone can see from a mile's distance that the sets are sets and not actual classrooms. I know I might be unfair right now, but it's pretty hard to judge a school concept without any bias when GFriend's newest MV was one of the best school-based videos I've ever seen in K-pop. Not great timing here, guys.
The styling is not great either, as I think the school uniforms were kind of lazily put together and very unoriginal looking as well as their casual outfits. However the members' hairstyles are my number one complaint, as I cannot understand first of all why there are two pink-headed members but second why one of them is also sporting a bowl cut? The visuals of this group (if there are any) were not highlighted at all in this MV, and although it might sound shallow to say so you can't deny that looks play a big part in getting into a group along with the personality of the members.
Overall I'm pretty neutral about this debut, but I don't think they're off to an amazing start if I may say so. It doesn't mean that there isn't hope though because their flawless seniors Nine Muses had a pretty terrible debut too and look at where they are now. However the most disappointing part about Imfact's debut is not that it's awfully bad or cringeworthy, but that it's so fantastically mediocre. The lack of originality in both song, MV, styling and dance (they just did the nae nae for about half of it) does not make them stand out in any way and there was nothing about any of it that made me want to know more about the group. Who knows what might change in the future but as of now I'm not turning into a fan anytime soon.