We’ve all experienced the dramatic letdown of a group’s comeback not living up to expectations. The K-Pop world holds some of the greatest talent in the world, but some still fall to the wayside in certain releases. While it’s definitely not based on a lack of talent from these groups, these comebacks prove that even the strongest in the K-Pop industry can fall victim to subpar releases.
“RBB (Really Bad Boy)” - Red Velvet
This one may hurt the most—Red Velvet is so full of potential as a group, from their stunning vocal abilities to their creative and eye-catching choreography. The teaser images for “RBB (Really Bad Boy)” were promising, especially when they appeared to be bringing back the absolute magic that was “Bad Boy.” Unfortunately, the song was a total letdown in just about all areas. Many fans, including myself, found the track to be painfully simple both in terms of beat and in lyrics. It felt almost as if the melody were designed to pander to a large-scale audience (specifically the Western market) without taking into consideration the fanbase the group had already built up on their own. It felt very manufactured, and that seems to reign true for most listeners as the music video itself is down approximately 100 million views compared to most of their title tracks.
“Knock Knock” - TWICE
Arguably the nation’s top girl group, TWICE has an immense power over the country of Korea that is seen in nearly every comeback. From Sana’s “Shy shy shy” phenomenon to the “TT” craze and the widely performed “Likey” dance, there’s no question that the group has massive popularity for each release. However, “Knock Knock” is a song that, for the first time, brought up the possibility that this group could go in the wrong direction. “Knock Knock” is at best forgettable and at worst just, not good. With such a strong track record prior to this song’s release, it’s no surprise that “Knock Knock” is largely left out of the list of TWICE’s famous releases.
“Ride on the Wind” - KARD
KARD certainly had a strong start even before their debut, and they were able to showcase what it was that the industry was missing when it comes to co-ed groups. However, their latest release “Ride on the Wind” was so predictable and plain that it hardly left an impression of what the group is capable of producing. A stark contrast to the captivating melodies of “Don’t Recall” or “Oh Nana,” “Ride on the Wind” has a basic EDM beat that seems like an attempt at producing a second “Hola Hola” without as much thought put into the song itself.
“Mamma Mia” - SF9
Let’s be honest here: it was going to be almost impossible for SF9 to follow up the amazing release of “O Sole Mio.” But even so, fans expected more than what they got with “Mamma Mia.” While the track itself isn’t bad per se, it just doesn’t have much of an impact on the listener in any way. The vocals, rap, and melody are very basic and don’t stand out whatsoever. Although part of that may have to do with the concept, there’s not really anything here worth praising, especially when SF9 has shown strength in many other releases both before and after “Mamma Mia.”
“Power” - EXO
Alright, hear me out on this one. EXO is famous for their stellar releases, with some amazing pieces of music such as “Growl,” “Call Me Baby,” and “Monster.” “Power” lacks a distinct melodic line that makes the song memorable, instead exchanging that possible element for a bland EDM beat. What has made EXO so great thus far is their ability to perform tracks that are outside the box musically, and what “Power” lacks is that it is so painfully generic that it can’t stand up against the group’s other, stronger releases. It’s frustrating to know what a group is capable of and watching them flounder in a release, a decision made by higher-ups to the detriment of the members.