These days, more and more girl group seem to be veering towards a mature sound. Does that mean the classic “cute concept” is dying out? In a new interview with ReacttotheK on YouTube, K-Pop producer David Amber, who’s made songs for groups like TWICE, EVERGLOW, and IZ*ONE, talked about which trends agencies are looking for these days.
Back in 2017 and 2018, David Amber worked on two of TWICE’s biggest bubblegum hits—”Heart Shaker” and “Yes or Yes”.
Since then, the group’s sound has taken a turn towards the mature. From “Fancy” to “Cry for Me”, TWICE has been experimenting with a less cutesy sound and image over the past few years—and finding plenty of success. But what does that mean for the future of the cute concept?
During his interview with ReacttotheK, one fan wanted to get David Amber’s opinion on the cute trend. BTS fan Lexi on Twitter asked whether Amber thinks companies “are looking for a more powerful sound for girl groups“, and whether “there’s still space for the bubbly, sugary pop“.
do you feel like the companies are looking for a more powerful (mature maybe) sound for girl groups? Why is that? And do you think there's still space for the bubbly sugary pop some ggs still do? i personally love the style, but I'm seeing less and less with the current releases.
— lexi 💜🌈 (@joonssbabe) December 14, 2020
First off, Amber clarified that there are always “trends in music“, and that includes K-Pop. Naturally, that means that neither cute concepts nor mature concepts are here to stay permanently. That said, Amber went on to explain that the current trend definitely seems to veer more towards that powerful and mature girl crush sound.
The “phenomenal success” of BLACKPINK, Amber explained, is a big reason for this new trend. He revealed that fans are probably going to see “smaller groups that want to appeal to an international audience” try out the BLACKPINK-style sound in the future in the hopes of broadening their fanbases.
Naturally, his insight makes perfect sense. In the past, K-Pop groups appealed primarily to Korean and Japanese audiences, where cute concepts always went down well. Now that companies are finding more opportunities to profit in the U.S. and beyond, it makes sense that cute concepts are no longer the zeitgeist.
“That being said, there’s still groups like IZ*ONE“, David Amber noted. While IZ*ONE has a big international fanbase and does have more mature songs in its discography, the group has also done remarkably well targeting Korea and Japan with their cute songs.
In the Asian market, cute concepts… it’s good, you know? It works. So yeah, I think right now we’re probably seeing a bit of a swing towards girl crush and mature.
— David Amber
David Amber also explained that there’s room to mix both ideas together. Even in a “powerful” and “badass” song like “Lovesick Girls”, he says, there’s still a fun melody and upbeat chorus.
Ultimately, Amber reminded viewers that “music changes so often, just roll with it“. While it might be a while until cute, bubbly songs take center stage again, they’re likely not disappearing for good.