February is already looking like an eventful, star-studded month. It started off strong, with the first week dominated by K-Pop girl groups. While singles from cignature and BVNDIT and an OST from Sunmi were well-received on the local iTunes chart, these EPs from notable names garnered attention in the UAE:
1. GFriend’s ‘Labyrinth’ EP
The quintet returned to the music scene with eighth EP, ‘Labyrinth’, which focuses on being at ‘Crossroads’ as they enter adulthood.
The dance, string-oriented lead single came with a music video that showed a more mature side of the artists. It highlighted their relationship and shed light on crucial moments and mixed emotions that youths face when deciding on their future.
The coming-of-age music video didn’t feature any of GFriend’s choreography but mainly focused on the plot itself. The six-track EP topped the UAE iTunes Pop and K-Pop charts a day after it was released. The track was also a hit in their homeland, sweeping the charts on major music streaming sites including Soribada and Melon.
Their comeback also marked their first release since their agency Source Music was acquired by Big Hit Entertainment, home of boy groups BTS and Tomorrow X Together.
2. Loona’s ‘#’ EP
Loona took over the world with their latest comeback. The 11 members returned more powerful and fearless than ever with their uplifting and message-driven EP ‘#’ fronted by confident lead track, ‘So What’.
The music video opened with an empowering voice-over, before taking viewers on an energising performance with confident shouts about expressing oneself and breaking out of societal pressures and prejudices, all while highlighting their girl crush charm.
The positive response to ‘#’ was evident on the charts. Agency Blockberry Creative revealed that Loona’s EP conquered the iTunes album charts in 56 countries as of Friday, making them first K-Pop girl group to achieve this feat. The all-female act has always been a favourite among listeners in the UAE. In addition to ‘#’, their previous work such as repackaged album ‘XX’ and debut single ‘favOriTe’ topped the iTunes local charts.
What made the rising group’s release all the more interesting is that SM Entertainment’s Lee Soo-man was revealed to have participated in its production, a first for the K-Pop pioneer to do so outside of his company.
3. iKON’s ‘i DECIDE’ EP
Following a rocky 2019 and yearlong hiatus, iKON made their first comeback as a six-member group without former leader BI.
On Thursday, YG Entertainment’s boy group dropped their long-anticipated EP, ‘i DECIDE’, and its lead single ‘Dive’, a dance track with country instrumentals, guitar riffs and a harmonica refrain. The fans’ excitement was visibly shown, when a series of related hashtags surrounding their comeback trended worldwide and in South Korea.
In addition to the lead track, ‘i DECIDE’ features four other songs — ‘Ah Yeah’, ‘All the World’, ‘Holding On’ and ‘Flower’ — which includes contributions from BI who was recognised as being heavily involved in the group’s discography.
His abrupt departure in last June amid drug-related allegations caused the album, slated to be released mid-2019 and had already recorded tracks, to be postponed.
The EP hit number one on the iTunes Top Albums charts in 24 countries, including the UAE. It also took over the local Pop and K-Pop albums charts. ‘Dive’ also charted high on various Korean real time music charts.