Created by Korea's biggest record label, SM Entertainment, both groups have managed to achieve some crossover success in the West. Girls' Generation have performed on the Late Show With David Letterman and LIVE! With Kelly and Michael, in addition to their controversial win over Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and One Direction at last year's YouTube Music Awards, while f(x) went viral after recording a Funny or Die parody with Anna Kendrick.
SM has now launched its first new girl group in five years, Red Velvet, and if their insanely catchy first single, "Happiness," is anything to go by, then they're going to be just as big as their predecessors.
Like a lot of K-pop, "Happiness" is an experimental mish-mash of different sounds and styles that you wouldn't expect to work, but somehow does. One minute it's trap, the next it's like Avicii's folk-EDM, until it all just sounds like one big bouncy piece of addictive bubblegum.
"Happiness" was co-produced by Will Simms, who previously worked on similar genre-bending K-pop hits like EXO's "Wolf" and Girls' Generation's "I Got a Boy." The Neptunes' Chad Hugo (remember him?) is the song's other producer, which makes a lot of sense once you've heard it. It makes you wonder why Hugo isn't still crafting huge American hits like his former collaborator Pharrell Williams is -- especially considering that "Happiness" is just as good as anything Pharrell's done in the past year or so.
Despite dropping a killer first single, Red Velvet's already racked up a number of controversies since their debut last week. From claims that their group name and official logo were stolen to some scenes from their music video having to be edited out for possibly being racist and nationalistic, it's been non-stop drama for Red Velvet for days now.
Still, despite the scandals, Red Velvet are still off to an incredibly strong start. The original version of the "Happiness" music video was watched 2 million times in its first 24 hours before being removed and replaced with an edited version, while the song rocketed straight to No, 1 on multiple digital music charts across Korea.
It shouldn't take too long for all the controversy to die down, and if history repeats itself, then Red Velvet should be well on their way to becoming K-pop's next top girl group in no time.
It was always her dance floor.
Few artists have given as much of themselves to their fans as Lady Gaga.
Since being ordained queen of the nightclub (not to mention the pregame, the getting-ready-bedroom-dance, the drag show, and the summer night drive) in 2008 with "Just Dance," the hit single from her hit debut album The Fame, Gaga has continued to surprise fans with constant reinvention. She cemented her place as the pop-artist of a generation with Born This Way and even (as over-produced as it was) Art Pop, and then, shockingly, went on to release a jazz standard's album with Tony Bennett (Cheek to Cheek), a country album (Joanne), and finally become an Oscar-nominated actress for A Star Is Born. Somehow, she pulled off every iteration of herself with charisma and grace.
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Watch Fritz perform at 3PM on Popdust's livestream on Saturday, May 30th.
Fritz Hutchison just released his debut album, Wild Wild Acres.
It's the kind of album that will make you want to lounge in a hammock all day or ride a horse across the country or just drop everything and howl at the moon—it sounds like that kind of freedom. Hutchison is alternatively blunt and sincere, a trickster with a performative flair and a penchant for sunny hooks.