It’s no secret that, in Ok-pop, it’s the lady teams who’re main the way in which proper now. Every launch during the last 18 months or so has felt like a brand new levelling up, a constant elevating of the bar with a number of completely different approaches to creating world-beating music – wholesome competitors from which all of us profit. Because the stakes proceed to ascend, SM Leisure’s aespa are – after months of delays – right here so as to add their newest launch to the combination and, hopefully, set a brand new customary within the course of.
‘MY WORLD’ marks the four-piece’s third mini-album and – aside from the Tetris OST contribution ‘Maintain On Tight’ – their first new materials of 2023. After the blended bag of its predecessor, 2022’s ‘Ladies’, it additionally alerts the group really coming good on their early promise with a group of six songs that every attempt to out-do the others.
Though that is aespa’s first large outing this yr, 4 of ‘MY WORLD’’s quantity may be acquainted. The majority of the tracklist was premiered at the group’s ‘SYNK: Hyper Line’ live shows in Seoul in February, the place followers had been teased with a setlist that was nearly half made up of contemporary songs. However that doesn’t cease the recorded variations from being thrilling additions to the aespa canon, exhibiting their versatility and serving to the quartet make a bid for foremost pop lady standing with their infectious hooks and impeccable performances.
‘Salty & Candy’ leads the pack, throbbing with industrial synth grinds and the type of unconventional instrumental approaches which have turn into a key get together of aespa’s DNA. It’s darkish and all of the extra scrumptious for it, a seductive slink via the shadows of the group’s world. “’Trigger I’m salty and candy / You’ll be able to’t resist this contemporary new deal with,” they hum within the refrain – a self-fulfilling prophecy given how arduous it’s to get the track out of your head afterward.
‘Thirsty’ opens with a rippling melody harking back to Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, subsequent’, however aespa are deep within the throes of flirtation, relatively than transferring on from somebody. It’s fluffily comfortable, encapsulating the head-in-the-clouds feeling of a brand new crush. Bringing issues again right down to Earth with a bump is ‘I’m Sad’ – ‘Salty & Candy’’s greatest rival for finest monitor. As its title suggests, it captures melancholy and longing, however provides the topic a singular, aespa spin on issues. They use the digital world as a metaphor for feeling disconnected from these round them and, as the ladies lengthy for “the actual factor” as a substitute of social media’s pretend facades, Karina observes: “Everybody seems good day-after-day / As if I’m the one one logged out / The space between the world and my coronary heart is / To date.”
By the track’s finish, the group have settled on some type of happiness, and that emotion carries on via to ‘MY WORLD’’s remaining monitor, ‘Til We Meet Once more’. It’s fairly and glowing, a delicate ballad that may very well be a message to their followers or fellow members. “Til we meet once more / Bear in mind once you’re alone / The facility of the music / Will join us,” the four-piece reminds us, though the candy message doesn’t make the track itself extra memorable.
‘Til We Meet Once more’ may be directed at aespa’s new collaborator, nævis, who seems on ‘Welcome To MY World’, one of many pair of name new songs on the document. Within the group’s lore – which has been closely referenced of their earlier tracks – nævis is an AI system that lets the quartet’s æs be seen in the actual world by the members. The character was supposedly debuting at SXSW in March as a part of a VR live performance from aespa, however failed to look.
Right here, she does present up – however is definitely missed. Her contribution to ‘Welcome To MY World’ – a track that builds from whispered foundations to a grand epic – is minimal, solely reportedly singing a collection of “da ra ra di da da” backing vocals and echoing the human members within the bridge. It’s according to the way in which aespa’s lore feels far more refined on this batch of songs – traceable if you happen to look arduous sufficient, however with no mentions of Kwangya to confuse or overcomplicate issues for the informal listener.
‘MY WORLD’ would possibly water down the layers of SM Tradition Universe in its songs, however it doesn’t dilute the sound that aespa have turn into recognized for. Title monitor ‘Spicy’ is a main instance of that, a burst of attitude-filled pop that zips and revs and roars. It’s assured and funky – the type of track that makes you’re feeling like the primary character through confident lyrics (“Inform me what you see / While you take a look at me / ‘Trigger I’m a ten out of 10, actually”) and a wholesome dose of ’90s lady energy spirit. To date, aespa have been the primary characters within the SMCU; now, ‘MY WORLD’ is proving they may dominate different cosmoses too.
- Launch date: Could 8, 2023
- Document label: SM Leisure