Is there a ‘meh’ option?
Co.Ed School (seriously, could they not have thought of a more creative name than that?) is Core Contents Media’s response to the positive reception of last year’s collaboration between T-Ara and Supernova, which spawned the hit single Time To Love. There are 10 members in the group, four girls and six boys, all of whom are between the ages of 14-19 if my math is correct. They debuted last September with Too Late, which they followed up with Bbiribbom Bbaeribbom and the softer I Love You a Thousand Times just this month.
If I were to be completely and brutally honest, T-Nova did the whole mixed group concept a hell of a lot better than Co.Ed did/is doing.
There’s way, way too much autotune on this song and had they eased off on the processing, I might have liked it a little better. The implications of overdoing the autotune in a song are never good, especially during debuts – it usually means that the idols don’t have the vocal chops to pull off the song. Some manage to get away with this because they’ve proven that they can do without (YG artists come to mind – Se7en, Big Bang and 2ne1 all use the effect to excess but they have consistently good live performances) but if you watch Co.Ed’s lives, you have to wonder if they’re even using their lapel mics. The backing track is too loud and Chanmi is pretty much the only one who projects enough to be heard above the noise.
Standard idol ballad is standard but they can sing. On the other hand, it highlights another problem – does Co.Ed really need to have 10 members?
I think that the reason why T-Nova worked so well is because they were put together in a way that you actually felt like they were a group instead of a collaboration project. Not all the members of both groups were included in the song and there was actual thought behind the inclusion and exclusion of these members. For example, Boram and Q-Ri weren’t in the song because even if they did have the vocals, I don’t think they have the stage presence to be able to keep up with seven stronger people. I mean, I don’t even notice Boram half the time when T-Ara performs.
I felt that the other members were grossly underutilized in the first song as well but in this one, I felt like it was a group of two soloists (namely Chanmi and Soomi, who are admittedly the best singers) with eight backup singers to provide harmony here and there. Yes, everyone gets to sing but with the way the lines are divided, you might as well just have Chanmi and Soomi, and maybe Yoosung sing the entire thing.
The amount of processing in this song is making my teeth itch but that’s beside the point. If I had been put in charge of this group, I would have cut about half of them out already and it would hardly make a difference. I suppose my other gripe is the segregation – Korea, is it really that difficult to have boys and girls do the same choreography? Must you insist on having girls do nothing but make cutesy faces at the camera? What’s the point of having a co-ed group if you’re going to separate them anyway?
Overall, this debut could have been handled a lot better but I’m not writing them off just yet. Please please please have more mixed choreography and harmonies in your next song. PLEASE.