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Aespa are Resilient and Fearless in New Music Video for ‘Girls’

The single comes a few weeks after the group’s first-all English track, ‘Life’s Too Short’ 

Divyansha Dongre Jul 08, 2022

It’s been a busy month for the K-pop metaverse girl group Aespa. Following the promotions for the all-English single “Life’s Too Short” and the group’s appearance at the United Nations, Karina, Giselle, Winter and NingNing are now out with their latest release, “Girls.” Leading the group’s sophomore EP of the same title, “Girls” wraps up the story established in the first season of  Aespa SMCU (SM Culture Universe).

The futuristic dance single recruits Aespa’s core producer Yoo Young Jin along with Ryan Jhun, Hanif Hitmanic Sabzevari, Dennis DeKo Kordnejad and Pontus PJ Ljung. Infused with rough bass synth, the track is eerily reminiscent of SM Entertainment’s supergroup GOT: The Beat’s “Step Back” and Aespa’s smash hit “Next Level,” especially the opening that draws a sonic parallel with “Step Back’s” introductory instrumentals. However, when contrasted with the group’s earlier singles (“Black Mamba” and “Savage”), “Girls” falls flat. It does, however, weave in a fiercely intriguing electronic bridge that manages to make up for the generic futuristic dance style the track is built around. 

Lyrically, the song follows the nuanced Aespa SMCU, detailing the quartet and their ae (digital avatars) battle with the antagonist, Black Mamba. According to SM Entertainment, the music video wraps up the storyline the group established in the first season of Aespa SMCU, which saw the ae disappear from a world where humans and their digital avatars co-exist. In order to get to the root of the problem, the Aespa members with the help of naevis (an AI system) embark on a journey to defeat the Black Mamba, who is believed to have created the glitch. The music video explains this continuation in detail and concludes with Winter slashing a green levitating rock into two. The repercussions of her actions result in the disappearance of the Black Mamba. 

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A few weeks ago, SM Entertainment unveiled the second season of Aespa SMCU, kick-starting a new chapter in the group’s growing metaverse concept. The second season sees Naevis send off the members into Kwanga (a space with infinite energy and data flow) along with a butterfly to help them navigate through the ever-changing terrains of Kwangya. The mission was simple: destroy Black Mamba and rescue their ae. Right before the girls walk through a portal, Naevis reminds the members of a crucial rule to help them survive in Kwangya – never look back. Upon their arrival, the girls succeed in defeating all odds and evils until they board a train infested with the Black Mamba. The antagonist toys with the members’ minds, trapping them in their nightmares. Presented as hallucinations, Karina is seen crumbling under the pressure of being perfect, and Winter seems timid as she walks through a sea of people gossiping. Giselle’s hallucination sees the rapper suffer from an identity crisis as she too crumbles under the pressures of being constantly photographed. Lastly, we see NingNing come face to face with one of the biggest banes of our times – online hate and trolling. Sensing something has gone terribly wrong, Naevis decides to rescue the members. But here’s the conundrum – Naevis is forbidden from leaving the flat (a virtual space beyond the real world) unattended.

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Aespa’s second EP, Girls contains the pre-release single “Illusion” and the Korean and English versions of “Life’s Too Short.” The release is also accompanied by two new tracks “ICU” and “Lingo” along with the group’s earlier releases, “Black Mamba,” “Forever” and “Dreams Come True.” The EP has recorded 1.6 million stock pre-orders, which is the highest-ever total for pre-sale orders for an album by a Korean girl group.

Earlier this year, the group performed at Coachella 2022. While Korean acts such as Blackpink, Epik High, Bibi and most recently CL and 2NE1 have previously set Coachella’s stages ablaze, Aespa’s performance was particularly notable as they became the first K-pop girl group to perform on the festival’s main stage. Preceding K-pop groups such as Blackpink have performed at Coachella, but their set was at the Sahara stage. On the other hand, 2NE1 – who stirred the right mix of nostalgia and energy with their reunion after nearly six years – were not formally invited by the festival, making Aespa the first K-pop girl group to officially perform at Coachella’s main stage. 

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