Video Review/Rookie Debut Analysis: AA – “미쳐서 그래 (So crazy)”

Hey, guys. So, I know I haven’t been keeping this blog up at all lately, and I really feel terrible for that. I miss this blog tremendously and wish I could dedicate more of my time to its upkeep (college applications, alas!). But I’ve decided to make it up to you by posting this play-by-play analysis of my favorite new K-Pop rookie group, Double A, and their debut single “미쳐서 그래 (So crazy)“.

So without further ado…

The Group

AA (pronounced and sometimes stylized as Double A) is a 5-member boy band managed by Wellmade Entertainment. Their debut single was released on November 3rd of this year and they had their debut stage the next day. If you’re interested in learning more on the individual members’ personal backgrounds, I highly recommend taking a look at this thread over at the 6theory Media Forums.

Woosang (far left in the picture) is the leader and arguably the member who’s been drawing the most buzz around the group. He’s very tall and has a look that’s been described as “exotic” and “flamboyant” (oh boy) by fans. Prior to joining the group, Woosang was a professional choreographer for stars like Super Junior. Rumor has it he choreographed the entire dance routine for their debut, which, if true, is mighty impressive. Based on what I see in the video, he seems to be the one who has his stage presence down pat. The camera loves him and – what do you know – he can sing! I’ll just come out and say it: Woosang is my bias in this group and I think he’s fantastic.

Aoora (middle) is actually the oldest member of the group, which I find fascinating because I would have thought he was the youngest if I didn’t know better. Aoora has one of the strongest voices in the group and holds up the song really well. My only issue with him is that his movements are a bit exaggerated. If he toned it down a little bit, he could very easily be the star of the group.

Kimchi is the one with the craziest hair on center right. At first I was skeptical of Kimchi because of his look (I mean COME ON), but I ended up really liking him because of his delivery on the pre-chorus. Next to Woosang, he also seems like he knows how to work his gestures and movement just right, so as to be compelling and eye-catching without seeming over the top, which makes him a great addition to the group. He’s also the “visual maknae” of the group, despite being slightly holder than Hoik.

Speaking of, Hoik (far right) is the youngest of the group and also one of the vocalists. His vocals are pretty solid but he has that “quintessential throaty K-Pop guy” voice. I think this held me back slightly from fully enjoying his performance, but since he’s so young I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. My other problem with Hoik is his facial expressions… or lack thereof. Throughout the entire video, he has the same expression. The whole time. The guy doesn’t know how to use his face yet. But again, he’s got plenty of time to learn.

Last but not least is Juwon (center left), second oldest and main rapper (I’m guessing). Juwon was a model before his debut with AA, so it should come as no surprise that he’s handsome and takes great pictures. I worry about his stage presence as well, though. He’s a good rapper and knows how to behave in front of a camera, but he seems a little awkward in his solo shots, so I think he may need some time to warm up to the idea of being on video. Overall though, I like him.

As a group, I feel that AA have a lot of things going for them. Several of their members have extensive professional and educational backgrounds (Aoora studied dance at Seoul National University!) and you can tell that they’ve all honed their craft to some degree. They also are all active on Twitter, which is great for the social networking/promotion aspect of the group. This may be a little premature, but I can see AA being very successful in the future.

The Video

By all accounts, this is a pretty standard K-Pop video. It features the group on a number of different but equally flashy, elaborate sets, with a pretty equal distribution of group shots and close-up/solo shots. The video really shines in the seamless editing from the black/red set to the white one – the result is a really striking visual that only contributes to the group’s aesthetic. I also really like the shaky camera effect toward the end of the video. You don’t see that in many videos and it gave a nice feel to the close-ups.

One thing I feel I must address in regard to this video is the choreography. Now, if you are at all familiar with this group, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the words that have been used to describe their dancing and, really, their entire image (“feminine,” “gay,” and other simple-minded things). Let me say that not only is equating femininity in men with homosexuality an immature and dangerous thought process, it’s also pretty damn stupid when you think about it in the context of K-Pop. In general, Korean fans of male groups tend to demand at least some measure of femininity from their idols because it makes them more accessible and less threatening, and as such it has little to do with their actual or perceived sexual identity. So don’t go around saying that Korean girls like to swoon over a bunch of gay dudes, because it’s really not the case.

As far as my opinion, I find the choreography really interesting and shrewd. Not only does it immediately catch everyone’s attention (you don’t see hip rolls like those every day), it’s also just really hot. I’ve read from multiple sources that Woosang choreographed the entire routine. If that’s true, congrats to him on coming up with undoubtedly THE sexiest dance I’ve seen in K-Pop for months.

The Song

Like the video, I had pretty dubious expectations of this song when it was first sent to me by my friend Chris over at Wanna Play?. In terms of composition, the song is fairly run-of-the-mill, starting with the simple piano line at the beginning and leading to the ambient synths in the verse and chorus. The thing that really makes this song stand out is the vocals. Aoora, Hoik and Kimchi really deliver on their respective lines, and Woosang’s bridge is simply beautiful. I’m less in love with the rap verses, simply because none of the members really seem like rappers to me. Woosang, for example, takes the “I’m going to spit out as many words as possible and put equal emphasis on each one” approach, and Aoora’s rap consists mainly of stock English phrases. Juwon’s short verse suffers the same shortcoming, but he seems to have a slightly better grasp on the technique.

This song has a pretty outstanding melody, which is definitely my favorite part. The chorus is very catchy and easy to sing, and the members’ different verses are all catchy in their own right as well. Honestly, simple though it may be, this might just be my favorite K-Pop song in a while.

Overall

For a while, I was feeling kind of disenchanted with K-Pop. None of the rookie groups coming out were doing anything for me and I felt as though my days as a true K-Pop fan were coming to an end. Now, with the comebacks of Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls, and the debut of AA, I feel like I have something to be excited about with K-Pop again. Honest to goodness, I really love this group and can’t wait to see their future endeavors. AA hwaiting!

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