The Evolution of HELLOVENUS
HELLOVENUS became one of the most anticipated acts to debut in 2012. Dubbed as AFTERSCHOOL’s sister group, as well as the female counterpart of then-rookies NU’EST, the six-membered group was formed as a joint group by Pledis Entertainment and Fantagio Entertainment. Four of the members, Alice, Nara, Lime, and Yooyoung were trainees from Fantagio, while Yoo Ara and Yoonjo were housed under Pledis, where the two of them were considered strong candidates to become new AFTERSCHOOL members before HELLOVENUS came to be. Members Seoyoung and Yeoreum joined in 2014 when the partnership of the two companies fell through, and the group became a Fantagio-exclusive act.
Their Original Pop Sound
Debuting with a brighter, straight up pop sound, the group’s image was portrayed to be more on the lovely and elegant side. Their concept was publicly well-received, with their debut song “Venus” achieving a certain period of longevity on the charts, effectively labeling them as one of the strongest rookie girl groups of the year. As their dance-pop debut track struck well with a lot of K-Pop fans, the group prepared for their return seven months later in December with “What Are You Doing Today?,” a track that progresses in the same style as “Venus,” but is a lot calmer than the more organic track. Unfortunately, while the track performed consistently on the charts, it didn’t meet the same level of results their debut track did.
The New Era
The track that the group is most well known for is their third single, “Would You Stay For Tea?,” the title track of their third mini-album. The track is a lighter product when compared to the group’s past two singles, but it is the most unique, both lyrically and production-wise. The track is a hybrid of dance pop and organic orchestra, and it became their most experimental-sounding track by the time of its release. A good chunk of the song’s amusing element, however, comes from the lyrical value of the track. Where the group’s first two tracks’ lyrics come from a pure and innocent perspective, “Would You Stay For Tea?” flaunted some maturity as phrases like “This night is too long by myself” and “I ask of you until the morning comes” smartly hint at a certain level of curiosity one might feel when in a relationship. Of HELLOVENUS’s entire discography, “Would You Stay For Tea?” may be the group’s best in terms of lyrical creativity.
A Complete 180
In 2014, the group was announced to have turned into a Fantagio-exclusive act due to the company’s mutual decision with Pledis to terminate the partnership. As a result, Yoo Ara and Yoonjo were forced to leave the group, and eventually left Pledis Entertainment. The group then quickly prepared for their first comeback after the revamp, which they initially revealed to be a complete transformation from HELLOVENUS’ original style and sound.
True to their words, the group collaborated with Brave Brothers for “Sticky Sticky,” a sultry R&B-dance based track that came just in time for the 2014 sexy girl group trend. It was a step the group took in becoming more public-friendly with their sound, but it proved to have outdone all the group’s previous works, production-wise. While it didn’t perform as well as it deserved in the charts, the track came with a concept that was more fitting to the skills of the members. Yeoreum and Seoyoung have also proven that they are excellent additions to the group.
The group turned “sexy” up a notch with “Wiggle Wiggle,” another track produced by Brave Sound. As it came quickly after “Sticky Sticky,” it was a comeback that had a below-average music video produced with it. The track, however, remains to be the group’s best effort working with Brave Brothers, as it was a catchy, yet minimal track that was less predictable musically than their previous single. It also featured the group’s best choreography to date as it had the perfect blend of sexy and trendy, proven by the fact that the group’s practice video gained more views than the music video.
The group came back a few months later with “I’m ill,” their third track with Brave Brothers. While it had the same flair of sensuality as their two previous works, it wasn’t as well-received by the public.
Before the group made a comeback with “Mysterious,” the group released a string of digital singles, two of which are collaborations with songwriting team Devine Channel.
The first single of the series, “Glow,” is the group’s first R&B-based title track. It is written in a slow-jam style, features terrific harmonies from the group, and showcases the vocal capacities of the members. It is the best of the three singles and remains to be the group’s most challenging track, vocally. The next two tracks of the three-part project, “Paradise” and “Runaway,” are both fitting of the summer season as both tracks are written with a rock-pop influence. While “Paradise” had a music video produced with it, “Runaway” is the more superior track, with the track playfully switching from time to time.
The group made their long-awaited comeback with “Mysterious” in January 2017 and featured the girls at their glossiest state. Wearing shiny coats, as well as taking on a detective concept, the group came back with a brass-driven pop track that proved to be the group’s best track since 2015’s “Wiggle Wiggle.” While “Mysterious” didn’t receive outstanding results on the charts, it remained as one of the best female releases in 2017 as it boasts of excellent music and video production.
What’s Next for HELLOVENUS?
As the members of the group are currently focusing on their individual schedules, various members have guested on numerous variety shows, as well as being cast in different dramas. Leader Alice even had her own solo single in the duration of the group’s hiatus, so there’s definitely a wide range of activities keeping the six girls busy. Even former member Yoonjo has achieved a winning spot in the finale of KBS’s The Unit, which present HELLOVENUS members even attended, proving that the past members still have a special bond with the current line-up.
HELLOVENUS has had the unlimited potential to explode in popularity for years. Being on hiatus for long periods, however, did hurt their chances. Hopefully, as other Fantagio artists like Weki Meki and ASTRO have had numerous comebacks for the past year, the agency could start cooking something up for the next HELLOVENUS album. After all, any day’s a good day for new anthems like “Wiggle Wiggle” or “Mysterious.”