AOA "Angels' Story" and "WANNABE" (2012)
An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie and some underground artists within the scene and provide both factual and opinionated commentary. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your own.
Hey y’all, it’s good to be back. This is the longest season break I’ve taken and it was well worth it. Since we technically never closed Season 5 with AlphaBAT, I’ll finish them for Season 6. Please anticipate -- there’s better organization this time, despite my lack of improved recording habits. This season is going to be fun and I’ve got some things to announce, right after the drop.
You’re tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.
Welcome back, welcome back listeners! I’ve two announcements to share but I want to get into this music first. Before 2020 came to its highly anticipated end, it took a few K-pop groups down with it. None crashed and burned as hard last year as Ace of Angels, better known as AOA, particularly because they haven’t technically disbanded. With a former lineup of eight ladies now whittled down to a trio, it’s likely only a matter of time. We aren’t starting at the end, however. Let’s go back to their debut year of 2012.
AOA is an FNC Entertainment group that honestly had a good thing with their intended plan. When the octuplet was created, the women were promoted as both a dance group and band. Their summer 2012 debut established their teasers and news that theirs would be a group who could play live instruments and dance their buns off, calling it a “transformer concept.” Additionally, FNC Entertainment called 7 of AOA’s members “full angels” and one as half-mortal and half-angel. This created what some of their fans and media would refer to as a 7+1 group. As mentioned earlier, there’s only three contractually bound members at this time: Lead dancer and vocalist Kim Seol-hyun, the face of the group; Shin Hye-jeong, lead vocalist, lead dancer, and visual; and lead rapper, main dancer, and vocalist Kim Chan-mi, who’s also the maknae. So who was in AOA?
There’s former leader and lead guitarist Shin Ji-Min, whose distinct voice made her rap unforgettable. Park Cho-a, former main vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Let me just say, this tiny woman can sing. Cho-a can SING, her voice is incredible and she’s definitely a favorite of mine in the industry. Be forewarned, I’m going to talk about what she brought to the group often. There was drummer Seo Youkyung, the +1 angel/mortal who only performed when the ladies were in band mode. Main vocalist and keyboardist Seo Yu-na, whose voice is so delightful with its feminine flair. There’s an inherent longing in her delivery that we’ll talk about. Finally, former lead rapper, vocalist, and bassist Kwon Min-a deserves all the love and extra protection possible, as she continues to use her platform to bring attention to bullying and depression.
Before we talk about discography here’s the first announcement.
Thanks to your support, A3Day’s been nominated in the Quill Podcast Awards. How cool is that? This is its debut year and will award top podcasts and brands in various categories for their production, innovation, and hard work. I really appreciate the nominations. Even if I’m not selected as a finalist, this is still a huge accomplishment. This feels as good as when I was nominated for a Shorty Award I attempted to originate years ago! You can continue to nominate An Album a Day at quillpodcasting.com/quill-podcast-awards until May 26, 2021.
Across 1 group and 3 subunits -- AOA Black, AOA White, and AOA Cream (the latter being my favorite) -- the group released 3 studio albums, 1 compilation, 19 singles, 6 EPs, and 4 promo singles. They also released 21 music videos and I’ve seen more of them than I realized over the years. I became interested in the group in 2014 so not only was I still super eager to consume everything available in K-pop, I was also eagerly seeking more girl groups to love and support.
Their debut project, “Angels’ Story” was released July 30, 2012, and consisted of 4 tracks: title song “Elvis,” “Love is Only You,” and a ballad called “Temptation” are all original songs, while the final track is a live band version of “Elvis.” Random fact: the group’s fandom used to be called Elvis but now go by Ace of Elvis. Why that name? If you lurk around the Internet long enough, you’ll find forums and conversations that seem to believe that FNC Entertainment thought that AOA would have rock band longevity and chose an idol who symbolized that to them, thus Elvis Presley.
This album is about as long as an A3Day episode and is enjoyable. Cho-a owns the chorus of “Elvis” and Jimin’s voice can’t be missed. Everyone else blends together well and creates a solid sense of musical synergy. This emotion increases with the October 12, 2012 follow-up, “WANNABE,” as the ladies jam out for about 11 minutes. The single album features songs, “Get Out,” “Happy Ending,” and “My Song.”
Before we rank today’s body of work, here’s the second announcement.
Kpop Social Night’s returning this summer, July 10 and 11th! This year there’s over two dozen shows and special guests participating. I couldn’t have imagined the event growing so quickly so fast but it’s for a great cause anyway. Even more exciting? I’m not running myself into a meltdown with keeping it all together! There’s more volunteers this time around and a better hosting platform -- Whova. And just like last year, I’ll be giving away two tickets. Entering is simple: go to a3daypodcast.com, click Link on an episode, and join the newsletter. The winners will be announced June 11th.
Learn more at http://solo.to/kpsnfun
Of the two albums, I must admit that I don’t distinctly remember any song. While not bad, they did not hit a stick-to-the-rib stride until a few years later in their career. Catchy? Certainly. Catchy enough to be an earworm? Not really. Vocals are nice, music sounds like the time period in which it was created but not severely dated, but beyond the hook for “Happy Ending” I can’t pull a distinct harmony or bigger opinion yet to entice a new listener.
Therefore, K-pop fans on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being essential listening and 1 not worth mentioning, the A3Day rating for their debut and second album are both a 4. Please give them a listen nonetheless, my taste is not the final say on anything in music and I look forward to hearing new opinions. Check out the #A3Day Highlights Playlist on Spotify this Friday, as it will feature tracks from today’s albums and past episode’s artists, and I’ll catch you in the next episode, bye y’all.
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