Creating follow-up boy bands and girl groups to established counterparts from the same label is like a chef’s attempt at reinventing their best recipes; they will be derivative by nature, but the point is to take them in a direction that is completely inventive, fresh, and possibly even entirely different from the original. This can easily be applied to the mechanics of debuting K-pop groups, especially those that are set to follow in the footsteps of same-gender groups under the same family tree (i.e., BTOB vs. BEAST, EXO vs. SHINee & TVXQ).
Enter Hello Venus, Pledis Entertainment‘s second ever girl group following After School. Given the fact that Pledis has pretty much wiped the entire style-board clean with After School, it’s going to be interesting to observe how they handle the future of Hello Venus as a girl group and as After School’s newest sister relative.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that Hello Venus was going to take on a far sweeter role under the Pledis camp than After School. While After School has tapped into all concepts — they’ve done sexy, modest, edgy, and sweet, plus their sub-units have further built on each of those concepts — the focal point of Hello Venus is to bring something completely different and uniquely Hello Venus to the table.
Image-wise, and now musically, it’s safe to say that they’ve managed to achieve that goal.
Hello Venus isn’t exactly K-pop cute in the sense that we’ve come to know it over the last couple of years. I’d argue that they’re not nearly as cute as they are graceful and “luxurious” (as they’ve put it). Visually, Hello Venus is pushing the aegyo across A Pink‘s territory, but musically, the cues are pointing in a very clean and mystifying direction, to the point that I feel like Hello Venus may be compromising the entire life of their music by shoving it into a ho-hum box of cute.
“Venus” is a very interesting piece of work, mainly because it’s not as excruciating as I was expecting it to be. In fact, it’s intelligently sweet enough to play with bright and colorful melodies, but not to the point where it could potentially get stuck in a slimy mess of aegyo (i.e., Girl’s Day). Above all else, it’s got a certain edge to it that you hear in most of After School’s tamer moments.
“Hello” and “Love Appeal“, both of which are relatively intense compared to the rest of the album (I could easily see “Love Appeal” falling into the hands of Britney Spears on a day where she’s not wiping the floor with her pussy), are also equally as sweet.
“Venus” is indeed an elegant and bubbly album, but it’s careful not to confine itself into one particular avenue of girl group cuteness. It’s the mystical element of Hello Venus’s debut album that brings an interesting uniqueness to the table that we hadn’t previously seen from Pledis.
It’s a matured style of sweetness, and I think Hello Venus should play to these sophisticated flavors in their presentation, because if done right it could be an incredibly pleasant experience to watch and listen to in the future.