Are you tired of the dark, sexy concept? Fear not because the fierce, foxy ladies of After School are back with a bright, sexy marching band concept and the newest addition to their group, Lizzy! I’m really excited because for their third single Bang!, all the girls learned how to play the the snares to match with their concept. Will they have another chart-topper on their hands?
1. Let’s Do It – This track gives me very strong High School Musical vibes, which is not exactly a bad thing. As an intro track, Let’s Do It appropriately sets the mood for the concept of their third single. It’s fun, youthful, high-energy and shows off the mad drumming skills that the girls have worked on for five months.
2. Bang! – This song is pretty strong. It’s an attention grabber from the get-go and you find yourself interested because the beats are so strong. However, I think what gives this song its strength also contributes to its downfall. Too many things going on, like the drumming and the Pirates of the Carribean-esque melody to the chipmunk cheerleaders, makes it sound a little messy. The song isn’t without its merits, though. It sounds like a really fun song to perform and I’m interested to see how the girls will incorporate the drumming into their performances. It’d be a damn shame if they wouldn’t be able to do so live given that they spent so much time working on it.
3. With U – Ah yes, the softer side of After School. I’ve listened to this song several times now and while I think that it’s a pretty good song, I think it lacks…something. I think. I’m not such a huge fan of them that I can differentiate their voices, but I like the harmonies and the way it shows off the girls’ vocal chops. The only thing I worry about is having another When I Fall, where Gahee, Jungah and Raina were the only ones singing, with the other girls looking like props in the background.
General Comments: I think that pop music (hell, maybe even all music) can be broken down into two aspects: production and performance. Most idols usually just contribute in the performance aspect, so I think that it’s really commendable how much Gahee and the rest of the girls put into the actual production. Gahee came up with the concept, wrote the lyrics for With U and took part in finding choreographers and a drum coach who trained the girls for five months.
The only complaint I have with AS is the rotation concept. In my opinion, Gahee, Jungah and Bekah are the strongest out of the original line-up, with Jooyeon and So Young kind of falling flat in comparison. Their succeeding releases had So Young leave, Jooyeon improve and Uee, Raina, Nana and eventually Lizzy come in. While I do appreciate the recognition that Uee brought to the group, she’s just very average as both a singer and a dancer. Raina was a pretty good addition because her vocal prowess gave AS a chance to make more vocal-intensive songs but I still don’t see what Nana brings in and Lizzy seems a little bit like overkill.
I’d give the girls a 5/5 for originality. It would’ve been so easy to stick with the dark, sexy concept that’s been permeating the idol scene these days but AS took a risk and I think it paid off because it made them stand out. As for actual execution though, I’d have to give them a 3 or 2. Like I said, I like Bang but it sounds messy, and With U lacks some serious oomph despite being kind of really heart-wrenching. Still, I’m pretty sure that when it’s time for them to perform onstage, they’ll be bringing fierceness onto the table.