2016 was the year of disbandment for many long-time favorite Korean pop girl groups (e.g. Kara, 2NE1, Rainbow, 4Minute) and it seems like 2017 will follow suit with veteran act Wonder Girls recently announcing their disbandment. Released by the four remaining members, Yeeun, Yubin, Lim, and Sohee, “Draw Me” is an appropriately melancholic yet ponderous farewell single.
Part of what made Wonder Girls so well-loved was their skillful blending of retro elements with current music trends. This was evident in their debut single “Tell Me” being built around a sample of Stacey Q’s “Two of Hearts” and the 60s Motown-influenced “Nobody” (the first Kpop song to ever chart on the Billboard 100) to more recent hits like the synthpop dream “I Feel You” off their 80s-inspired album Reboot to last summer’s 70s-inspired beachy rock tune, “Why So Lonely.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that “Draw Me” is immediately reminiscent of Crowded House’s 1986 hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Lim’s usually peppy rap verses are slow and somber, and while the rest of the group and their instruments sound appropriately dejected to match, there’s a hint of hopefulness in the overall tone. On the surface, it’s a ballad of lost love, but being their farewell single, it takes on a second meaning of looking back on the heyday of the group’s success and good times between them. Like Crowded House, WG implore the listener not to dream it’s over.
With the pencil sketches of the members’ faces on the album art being indiscernible from their 2017 selves to their 2007 selves, the fan-dubbed “retro queens” paint, or rather, draw us a picture of women who never lost the passion for their music over the course of ten years. Despite building his success on their backs, Park Jinyoung, the CEO and founder of their label JYP, gradually shelved them in favor of his boy groups, an unfortunately common occurrence in the Korean music scene. In an attempt to regain public interest, the dance group reinvented themselves as a band in 2015 to critical acclaim yet abysmal sales due to lack of promotion. Considering this, it’s unsurprising that there’s no accompanying music video, no album, no fanfare to speak of for this swan song. There isn’t even a video from the official JYP Youtube account. A sadly fitting end for another jilted girl group, the only thing left to say is “Another One Bites the Dust.”
Check out a few other retro hits:
Their debut single Tell Me (Disclaimer: this music video hasn’t aged well)