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Korean girl group CLC bring attitude and edge to their beat-forward K-pop anthems, which lean more on fun dance energy than sweet balladry. The first all-girl outfit for Cube Entertainment, the seven-piece CLC debuted in early 2015 with First Love, issuing a blitz of EPs into the end of the decade that kept them planted in the Korean Top 20 until their 2017 U.S. breakthrough, Crystyle, expanded their international audience. In 2019, they hit a chart peak in Korea and the U.S. with their eighth Korean-language effort, No. 1.
Originally a quintet that served a stint as backup for Canadian-born Korean singer G.NA, CLC's first incarnation consisted of leader Seungyeon, Seunghee, Yujin, Yeeun, and Thai member Sorn. They issued their debut EP, First Love, in March 2015, quickly following with Question in May. In early 2016, they recruited new members Eunbin and Hong Kong native Elkie. Coinciding with the fresh additions, they issued their first offering as a septet, the aptly titled Refresh. Months later, they released their first Japanese-language effort, High Heels, which included a cover of Kylie Minogue's 1987 hit "I Should Be So Lucky." Back in the Korean market, they released Nu.Clear that May and their second Japanese EP Chamisma in July.
Shifting in an edgier direction in 2017, they released Crystyle, which included the HyunA-assisted EDM trap banger, "Hobgoblin." While the EP marked their first placement on the U.S. charts at number six on the World Albums list, "Hobgoblin" peaked at number four on the World Songs chart. That summer, Free'sm arrived, an R&B/pop throwback to iconic predecessors like Fin.K.L and S.E.S. While 2018 remained relatively quiet -- they only released a single EP, Black Dress -- they hit a career high in 2019 with their eighth Korean-language EP, No.1. Continuing their musical maturation, the "No"-featuring set peaked in the Top Five in both Korea and on the U.S. World chart, also landing on Billboard's Indie and Heatseekers lists. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
- Seoul, South Korea