The oddly named Gugudan (Gu9udan) are the first girl group to debut under Jellyfish Entertainment, home to successful boy group VIXX. Given VIXX’s impressive track record and the fact that a few of Gugudan’s members were very successful on variety show Produce 101 earlier this year, many were curious to see what debut single Wonderland would hold.
Sadly, it turns out to be more of the same. The song is beholden to the ever-popular cutesy sound, but goes even further down the saccharine-sweet route. To be fair, the group’s story-like concept is sort of unique, but Wonderland‘s candyfloss audio doesn’t really connect. In its favor is an insanely catchy chorus, which propels forward full-speed over a nimble dance pop beat. Unfortunately, the verses are utterly disposable, offering little in the way of melody and too much aegyo-infused posturing. For a group founded on a handful of super-solid vocalists, I’m surprised that Wonderland doesn’t give them the opportunity to shine. Latching on to current trends is all well and good, but for any debut group to gain traction, they need to feel necessary. As it stands now, Gugudan seems like a copy of a copy.
Of course, VIXX’s debut wasn’t exactly groundbreaking either, and they turned into one of the country’s most interesting boy groups. Gugudan likely has all sorts of unique talent within them, but they need the platform to display it. Next time around, they’d be wise to dial down the cutesy act and focus on a song that’s more than one strong chorus.