written by: McRoth
Given how A Pink have made copying decade old girl groups their thing and slapping a bubbly synth pop vibe on to that facade a success, I was half expecting their first ever album, “Une Annee“, to encompass bits and pieces of both “The Seven Springs Of A Pink” and “Snow Pink” to make my assumption certifiably official. However, not only does “Une Annee” not certify anything, it actually unveils a completely darker disappointment. Rather than copying the girl groups ten years their senior, A Pink have taken cues from current girl groups, quite possibly making this the disappointment of the year.
“Une Annee” finds itself lost between A Pink’s 2011 identity and the 2011 identity of T-ara, one of last year’s top charting girl groups. The equivalence to this particular source of inspiration would be like asking a common man to base an entree around the flavor of a mushroom. They’re not exactly the most inspired ensemble, so for A Pink, a group woven from a very specific thread, to munch off of such a girl group’s current “style” leaves a bitter taste on the tongue. It also brings all the irrelevance that they were so close to dousing themselves with last year down onto themselves in one go.
The album is as plain as its album cover. While it’s as blatantly sweet and cute as their previous music, that’s also partly the problem. The cuteness of their last two mini albums was reinforced by an equally bubbly set of instrumentals and diverse orchestrations, but they lose both trademarks in this album to generic bells and whistles. The lead single, “Hush“, sounds like the first draft of T-ara’s “Roly Poly“. It’s unremarkable and lifeless, and I don’t know how I feel about using those words to describe it when I was singing a very different tune just last September.
“Cat” and “I Got You” are equally mundane, and probably the most out of place within the album, as they don’t even sound like A Pink songs as much as they do lazy T-ara B-sides. The only moments that glimmer with cohesiveness to anything A Pink has ever done come when they give softer elements an opportunity to shine. “Bubibu” and “Step” are cute, as both have instrumentals that would fit perfectly in a MapleStory soundtrack. They’re dull songs, but at least they’re relatively refreshing within the album.
Even so, there’s still something to be said about how uninteresting these songs are when they could be much more than that. A Pink was able to take their softness to colorful places once, but they seem to have lost all volition to be creative and have copped out early by conforming to current trends and lazy styles. Their music flourished like no other synth pop sound in K-pop just a year ago, but today they’re nothing more than ordinary.
“Une Annee” is two steps backwards for A Pink, and one of the most disappointing releases this year. They’ve lost their special quality in an attempt to sound mature, a move that many groups have tried to make but have failed catastrophically in doing so. One can only hope that this was just a hiccup in their trajectory and that A Pink will regain some of their charm back. They better, or else they’ll become even more irrelevant and forever stuck clinging onto the coattails of others.