When the overall concept for tripleS was announced, all I could do was roll my eyes at the convoluted NFT fuckery and hope for the best about the 24-member (TWENTY FOUR!) girl group. Yet despite enduring skepticism about how the group will be handled, the debut of their first sub-unit in Acid Angel From Asia with “Generation” at least provides hope for them musically, which at least could be enough to overpower whatever else goes on.
The new generation girl groups are ruling 2022 mostly because they’ve come onto the scene and made an immediate impression. Obviously the music is a big factor, but they’ve also hit the ground running with a sense of identity and image to draw fans in close. There was of course concern for the timing of this debut in such a competitive market, but what tripleS/Acid Angel Of Asia/AAA/Whatever have delivered with “Generation” is up to the task of matching their contemporaries.
AAA are the next group in line to draw from the throwback late-90s well, fashioning a relatable yet effortlessly stylish image and sound. “Generation” is relentlessly funky and sleek, making sure that “la la-la la la-la la la lah” is embedded into your brain permanently, but constructing a song that’s not overly reliant on that and avoids coming off gimmicky thanks to a melodically-centered chorus follow-up that invokes the “Generation” title and utilizes well-timed “oohs” and shouts of “hey!” in unison.
While not bombastic, unlike other songs in the throwback mode that are slower paced and laidback, for the most part “Generation” is a bit more peppy throughout with a playful energy, and it also features a distinctive peak with that killer high note. That segues well into a conclusion that keeps the built up energy rolling, and the closing segment is effective because of the strengths of the melodies that come before it, reminding the listener of everything to look forward to on repeat listens.
The lore behind the group is probably gonna go nuts at some point since it’s a Jaden Jeong joint, and it sorta does at the end here when the TikTok girls become dark angels or something, but that just adds depth for fans who are into it.
For me though, what caught my eye was the subversiveness that underlined the whole thing, centering around the girls rebelling against what they’re told is proper as well as the snobbishness that comes from adults.
One short scene in particular basically summarized AAA’s entire theme, showcasing the girls having fun in the elevator by themselves, then being confronted, surrounded, and (literally) constricted by overly serious and condescending adults, feeling scared and intimidated for a bit, but basically saying fuck it in the end and doing their own thing.
As I say time and again on this site, it’s not necessarily that anything needs to be new or inventive, especially in pop music. It’s the execution of the vision that’s important and AAA have managed to hit big on both the concept and the sound right off the bat with one of the most impressive debuts in a year full of them.
Truly, I only regret that we don’t know how their story will continue on given the bigger picture of the tripleS group, as this unit alone has proven to be worth the price of admission already. Regardless of where they’re headed, based on the strength of “Generation”, hopefully this AAA sub-unit is revisited sooner than later.