“I’m unsure if we are able to say that we’ve helped outline Okay-pop”7 min read

Okay-pop in 2023 stands at an important crossroads. As new teams burst onto the scene, every one seemingly shinier than the final, the attract of the subsequent huge factor might be irresistible. On this quest for being the trendiest, it’s straightforward to get caught within the glittering whirlwind of change. But, amidst this attractive chaos, there’s a poignant magnificence in artists who stand agency, embracing their fact and elegance.

When Pink Velvet launched teasers for his or her third studio album, ‘Chill Kill’, there was familiarity within the foreboding, fiendish nature of all of it. A dimly lit room, pensive faces, an empty chair and that signature spellbinding backbone tingle – it represented a celebratory return to type for the SM Leisure lady group, who’re closing in on ten years since their debut.

“I positively felt the strain,” Seulgi candidly tells NME. “Because it’s been some time since we now have ready a full-length album, we needed to verify the album contained our colors. It was not straightforward to mix the ‘Pink’ and ‘Velvet’ ideas in a single album, so it was a problem.” That’s the group’s namesake, mixing in infectious “Pink” pop songs with darker and mature “Velvet” ones, to main success.

The group’s final full-length album was the beloved and critically lauded ‘Good Velvet’ in 2017, which featured the hit tune ‘Peek-a-Boo’. Pleasure’s rainbow gown from the music video went viral, distracting from the plot the place the members are sirens who lure pizza supply boys to their spooky demise. Reflecting on the success of ‘Good Velvet’, Irene shares that she is “actually honoured” by the legacy it has created. “I’m simply realising and intensely shocked that six years have handed,” she added.

Prior to now 9 years, Pink Velvet have launched nicely over 100 songs, spanning over a dozen mini-albums, many OSTs and several other Japanese releases amongst them. This time round, although, the central theme for ‘Chill Kill’ was to evolve. “As our progress and Pink Velvet’s storytelling are integrated into the album, I feel it has a fancy but mature ambiance to it,” says Yeri. She doesn’t simply imply storytelling like how some artists bear their soul, however extra akin to the narrative of a movie or tv sequence. Not all of them are as grim as committing homicide – although there are a number of – however they galvanise many followers to craft their very own theories.

“I’m unsure if we are able to say that we’ve helped outline Okay-pop, but when others suppose so, this could be an honour” – WENDY

“‘Chill Kill’ is an album that carries a clearer narrative than any of our earlier releases,” says Wendy. “Each content material for the album, such because the tracks, choreography, teaser pictures, trailer and music video, are woven right into a single story.” She playfully leans into all of it. “I feel it’s extra enjoyable for followers to interpret the story by themselves, they usually have been doing a lot better than us.” Birthed from that may be a sonically assured and masterful report, one that permits Pink Velvet to return to their roots and bloom fuller.

The place the group actually shine, some followers would argue, are on their album cuts – in any case, they aren’t referred to as the “B-side Queens” for nothing. “If I have been to select one, it could be ‘Underwater’,” says Seulgi. “It’s a dreamy but cosy observe that appears like submerging into water, and its heat makes it excellent for the chilly winter days.” As chief of the group, the motherly Irene recommends one thing for the well-being of their followers. “The extra I hearken to ‘Wings’, the higher I prefer it. It’s a observe that displays huge energy from hopeful lyrics, and I’d actually advocate this tune to ReVeluvs who could also be going by powerful instances.”

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Irene and Wendy of Pink Velvet. Credit score: SM Leisure

The album additionally was a chance for Pink Velvet to think about their very own evolution as artists and other people. With such a journeyed profession, comes knowledge. “I’ve heard that the method of 1’s maturity is much like breaking out of an egg. My tranquillity might be disrupted by the method of self-improvement or the affect of fine individuals round me,” says Pleasure.

“I realise that I’ve develop into extra mature as soon as I recognise that the ache was part of my progress, shattering my very own world,” the singer provides sagely. Pleasure’s commentary attracts parallels to Pink Velvet’s place on this “new world” of Okay-pop. As soon as heralded as vanguards of their period, they’re perceived by some as a part of the “outdated guard” – alongside contemporaries TWICE and BLACKPINK.

“As our progress and Pink Velvet’s storytelling are integrated into the album, I feel it has a fancy but mature ambiance to it” – YERI

Pondering again on their affect, the quintet maintain it humble. “I’m unsure if we are able to say that we’ve helped outline Okay-pop, but when others suppose so, this could be an honour,” says Wendy, who additionally touches on their latest look at Primavera Sound Barcelona 2023 as the one Okay-pop act. “I used to be glad that we have been capable of introduce not solely Pink Velvet’s music but additionally Okay-pop to a broader viewers.”

It’s a street paved with hardships, however loads of laughs too. Each Okay-pop group has intimate moments that develop into web memes and cherished inside jokes for his or her fandoms. Yeri shares one such reminiscence. “I bear in mind consuming ice cream whereas we have been doing a dwell stream. There have been two kinds of ice lotions and somebody made a meme referred to as ‘Variations between ice cream A and ice cream B’. One was tender ice cream, the opposite was onerous, so our facial features was so completely different once we tried every of the ice cream, and evaluating the 2 expressions was hilarious. I can nonetheless bear in mind how a lot I laughed once we first noticed that meme.”

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Seulgi, Pleasure and Yeri of Pink Velvet. Credit score: SM Leisure

Honest humour and a real bond with each other are essential elements to their longevity. One ethos that retains them grounded by the unevenness of the music trade are sagacious phrases they as soon as acquired. “The recommendation to not rush and to maintain my very own tempo, together with the encouragement that it’s okay to take a break when issues get powerful, have helped me throughout onerous instances,” Wendy says. “Listening to these heat phrases permit me to utterly give attention to myself, with out evaluating myself to others.”

Regardless of their self-perceptions, Pink Velvet have indelibly outlined and formed Okay-pop, not simply in increasing the bounds of the style but additionally exemplifying a few of its highest peaks. With their ‘Chill Kill’ album, they not solely remind listeners of their profound presence amid shifting tides, however college new teams on the way to obtain an everlasting legacy.

For these questioning about what’s subsequent for the group, Irene assuages issues. “This third full-length album was launched after 6 years, and we plan to give attention to album actions in the meanwhile,” she says, whereas teasing that the members additionally “plan to fulfill followers by completely different solo tasks”. As for a US tour, she says that they don’t have “particular plans” simply but, however “hope to have the chance to fulfill you there sooner or later”.

Pink Velvet’s third studio album ‘Chill Kill’ is out now

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