Girls - The 2nd Mini Album (Apple Music Edition)

Girls - The 2nd Mini Album (Apple Music Edition)

When aespa debuted in 2020, the SM Entertainment quartet shook up the K-pop music business when they became the first girl group to have their own AI avatars, opening up an innovative industry to new, digital possibilities. But that wouldn’t matter much if their songs weren’t equally boundary-pushing. The opening title track is all about Y2K R&B girl group harmonies before it explodes with Nine Inch Nails-style distorted synth. The surprises continue from there: There’s the ebullient trap of “Illusion,” the Western cowboy-harmonica influence of “Lingo,” the addictive melody of “Life’s Too Short” (equally delicious in Korean and in English, both available here) and endless hip-hop-pop with synth detours, like in the group declaration of “Let’s bring it back to ’90s!” of “Dreams Come True.” In full, Girls is built from the kind of driving, badass pop SM Entertainment has become known for, molded by these Apple Music Up Next stars into something uniquely their own.

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