generation (access); acid angel from asia (triples)

oct 31 2022

TripleS, stylized as Triple Cosmos, is an upcoming 24 (!!) member girl group. They've gone the Loona route of having subunits debut and release music before the full group does (unsurprising, considering former Loona creative director Jaden Jeong is helming the project), and their first subunit Acid Angel from Asia (AAA) has just released their EP, Access.

It's genuinely a great debut and a great EP, an utter breath of fresh air. Their Y2K/early 90's synthpop sound is nothing new, but there's a reason why these kinds of concepts are so widely liked. It's just good! The tracks are innovative enough to not feel stale, but stay safely within the tried and true conventions of the genre, which I think is a good thing in this case. I love a good deal of "experimental" Kpop, but sometimes you just have to stick with what works.

And this EP just works! It starts out with the title track, "Generation," which is laid back and groovy, but not boring. The song does a nice job at balancing the energy throughout. There are slick, laid back parts ("la la's" galore), but there are also impressive vocal parts and enough instrumental development that the song never feels like it slackens or starts to drag.

Then it moves to the bsides, which are also really good. With an album this good, it's honestly hard to review the bsides, because I just end up saying "it's really good" over and over again. "Rolex" showcases the members' vocals with a high, falsetto chorus. Head voice is a rare thing in the current Kpop landscape and it's something I always appreciate even if I do think sometimes it gets a bit breathy. "Charla" has them put in more belting work, and while belters come a dime a dozen in Kpop, I think it suits the song and they have really nice voices here. The standout bside is "Dimension," which is a bit more dreamy. I think the overall strength of this album is how cohesive it is without every song feeling the same!

Which is why it's such a shame that I can't really wholeheartedly support this group. I've mostly grown out of "stanning" anyways, but there are a few other reasons I can't bring myself to throw myself behind this group. First of all, a lot of the members are extremely young. I personally am uncomfortable with that, and would feel like a hypocrite if I called that out in groups like Ive and NewJeans but ignored it here just because I really like their music. Second of all, the branding of the group is heavily tied in NFTs. They have their own NFT app and tie it to the marketing of the group. I just can't support that either.

Third of all, their creative director is Jaden Jeong, and I honestly think that man belongs in hell. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but I really don't like him. He's horrible to the members of the groups he runs, treating them like dolls instead of people and refusing to see the power he has over them, and has also consistently runs groups into the ground with complicated concepts and lore prioritized over good marketing and music. Ladies Code, Loona, OnlyOneOf; all the previous groups he's been a part of he ran into the ground and then either left them high and dry when he was no longer personally invested in the project, or kicked out by higher ups when his convoluted marketing schemes fail to actually make money. Poor TripleS. I honestly think they're doomed.

But at least we're going to get some really good music out of it before they go!

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