First Impressions: GOT7 Debuts With "Girls Girls Girls"

Usually when I'm drawn to new groups I write the usual single or album review, and end it at that. But this year I want to try things differently, and write down my initial thoughts beyond the music. These posts will be less technical, rather informal first impressions -- critical, but not as focused as single reviews. What I want to do is take a look at the debut as a whole, as a composite of various aspects of music, performance, and maybe in the future I can even look into marketing.

Because as much as I'd like to say that K-Pop idol debuts are only about the music, and that the choice of song is the be all and end all, at the end of the day that's just one part of several. K-Pop idol debuts are about the package, they're about presentation as much as they are about content. And so when looking at a debut with a critical eye it's important to remember that while the debut happened because of the music and therefore it must remain the central aspect, the music has the power to affect so many other factors, and can tell us a lot about the rookie group.

GOT7 is JYP's first boy band debut in years, and apparently the first in a series of JYP debuts this 2014. Two members, JB and JR, were formerly known as JJ Project, and to say I loved "Bounce," and the entire package, would be an understatement. So at the very least I was curious about this debut, mainly to see how the dynamic JJ Project established would be improved on, or changed.

"Girls Girls Girls" is nothing special, if you look at it strictly as a song. It's disjointed, the hook does little to pull the song together and has weak recall despite being extremely repetitive. It's bare, but the scarcity requires effort to be fully appreciated. It doesn't grab you.

But, as a debut single it does its job. 

To me, the main goal of a debut is to introduce the group, as a group. When we introduce ourselves to new people we try as much as possible to show our strengths -- we state what we do for a living, or where we study, all of which come with their own set of assumptions ("oh you must be smart," or "you're creative"). In the same way, the debut single is our first encounter with the group as a musical entity and so it's supposed to show off what they can do with their music.

"Girls Girls Girls" is GOT7's introduction, their "resume" of sorts. If that's the case, by simply taking a closer look at the song we can actually conclude a lot of things about them as a group.

As a whole "Girls Girls Girls" is a performance-centric song -- it makes sense the most when it is seen together with the choreography and staging. This is an ideal direction for a debut, simply because it forces us to look and listen, giving the group the best chance at introducing themselves. It's a chance to show off a wide range of abilities -- not just of the musical nature. The backflips, the stage presence, those are things that add to vocalists, and it's what make them performers. The video also highlights that -- as it's basically the seven of them performing. It's simple, but a straightforward and effective mode for their introduction.

As far as their actual performance is concerned, there's also a lot to say. But the big picture is that "Girls Girls Girls" has showed this as a style GOT7 has mastered enough to execute with comfort and confidence. As serious as the song sounds, with the "urban" loops and sharp production, their performance brings an element of mischief and effortlessness. It's mischievous in the playful sense, not the arrogant sense, because it's very obvious that they're genuinely enjoying themselves on stage. It's like there's a spring to their step, despite all of those steps being choreographed and calculated. They're comfortable -- they move with accuracy, but perform with grace.

Line allocation within the song shows not only who does what, but also the extent of their abilities -- JB gets a lot of lines, as does another member, and they also get the most vocally-demanding lines (relative to the song, of course), the rest are distributed among a few others. The rappers' roles are also established but since I'm not familiar with names and faces yet, I'll save that for another time. And as far as how these roles will translate to their live performances I'm optimistic. JB and JR during their time as JJ Project were one of the most stable live performers I had seen promoting "Bounce," which was a much more physically-demanding performance. And seeing that they get a considerable amount of exposure on "Girls Girls Girls," I'm not that worried.

Like all other debuts, it's too early to tell how GOT7's career will unfold. But at the same time, first impressions are crucial because they will either keep people interested, or turn them away -- first impressions matter. And this first impression shows potential, which in my opinion is the perfect middle ground for a rookie group. Through a well-put together package they've shown what they can do at the moment but at the same time they're not setting the bar unreasonably high, the operative word being unreasonable. There are expectations now, of course, but they are more out of curiosity than they are out of requirement. This leaves room for the group to experiment without potentially debilitating pressure. Their succeeding releases can only raise the standards set by "Girls Girls Girls," and that's a very good thing.
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  1. This is why I love your opinion. GOT7's debut is enough to keep people interested, and it can only improve from here.
    I'm sure 1-2 months from now, they're going to make a comeback with a great song and have people know them enough to become more and more successful.

    JYPE simply gave GOT7 a push, and their momentum will slowly pick up speed. Also maybe they can know how to market them by slowly studying their fan base.

    We'll just have to wait and see.

  2. I really love your opinion too. Just stumbled upon this blog and i'm agreeing with most of what you say, from exo to jj project and so much more!

    Guess i'm glad these boys brought a little fun to the current kpop scene. They really look like they enjoy every single performance, which makes it very enjoyable to watch. Being a very young group, I see lots of potential in them and i believe it's only a matter of time before they achieve success. Their debut performance on m countdown was stable too! (AARRRGH BUT LOW RES).


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