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: January 20, 2014
By the time GOT7 debuted in 2014, it had been almost six years since JYP Entertainment unveiled a new boy group (JJ Project doesn’t count). We just don’t see timelines like this anymore. The K-pop industry has become so compressed. And though JYP hadn’t yet enjoyed the commercial resurgence that would come in 2015, I remember this debut being a pretty big deal.
GOT7’s music would evolve throughout the years, but I’m most partial to their first few eras. At first, the playful hip-hop of Girls Girls Girls felt more like a showcase for the group’s acrobatics than a satisfying piece of standalone music, but its repetitive hooks have a way of ingratiating themselves. Written and produced by agency-head Park Jinyoung, the song’s simple, sing-song arrangement is reminiscent of 2012 hit Like This from senior group Wonder Girls (also written by JYP). Girls Girls Girls’ beat is a bit more idiosyncratic, pulsing along a descending synth riff and processed vocal. It’s an addictive groove, which is important because the production doesn’t modulate much.
The guys offer confident vocal lines over the top. The melody is as repetitive as the beat — an approach likely to polarize opinion. I wasn’t a huge fan of this back in January 2014, but I’ve grown to appreciate the song’s single-mindedness. I especially enjoy the breakbeat that comes in during the rap verses, giving the track a more forceful push. GOT7 would win me over with their second release (the excellent A), but this is a quirky, memorable debut.
Does the song hold up?
Weirdly, it does — especially with hip-hop being such a big part of modern K-pop.
Is the song stronger or weaker than most of the artist’s title tracks?
It’s definitely weaker compared to most of their debut-era work. But, I prefer it to many of their more recent tracks.
Does the song represent the artist’s music going forward?
If anything, it more closely resembles their J-pop output than their Korean material.