K-Pop debuts can be tricky things. At times, they’re the best song a group delivers. Sometimes, they’re the only song a group delivers!
But, debuts can also be huge wtf moments in an artist’s career. In this feature, I’ll be looking back at debut songs through the prism of time, re-evaluating how well they hold up and how representative they are of an artist’s eventual singles run.
Debut Date: April 7, 2011
With Brave Girls’ unprecedented resurgence this year, it seems like the perfect time to flashback an entire decade and look at their debut. For me, the group’s music never truly reached its potential until 2016’s Deepened – despite these early singles being Brave Brothers productions. It doesn’t help that the group has endured a revolving door of members. This debut-era iteration includes none of the four members who are currently promoting, making them an entirely different act who just happen to share the Brave Girls name. No wonder they couldn’t get a foothold in the industry until this year!
Because of this, it’s best to look at Do You Know (아나요) as the debut of the Brave Girls brand rather than a lasting idol group. Compared to what we hear from them these days, the track isn’t a bad introduction. Brave Brothers’ familiar melodies tie everything together, giving the song a sound that’s distinctly K-pop. However, it’s surprising to hear how subdued this song is — especially for a debut. Do You Know isn’t flashy at all, sounding more like a 2NE1 b-side than a “throw down the gauntlet” entrance to the industry.
Throughout the entire track, I’m reminded of other 2011-era songs that share this style. Do You Know doesn’t benefit from these comparisons, coming off as a copy rather than a trendsetter. The hooks are comfortable but dull, and apart from the occasional touch of brass, the instrumental is pretty forgettable. The girls give a competent performance, but the song doesn’t allow for any flourishes that might set them apart from their peers. Things would get more upbeat with their follow-up So Sexy, but this is a pretty inauspicious debut.
Does the song hold up?
Not really. It’s very of its era, but not always in a good way.
Is the song stronger or weaker than most of the artist’s title tracks?
It’s definitely one of their weaker title tracks.
Does the song represent the artist’s music going forward?
Not really. The Brave Brothers sound is there, but the group would go on to develop a much more energetic discography.