CLC is one of K-pop’s most baffling failures right now. Despite having a great line-up, the backing of a well-known agency, and a couple of really good singles (“Pepe” and “No Oh Oh”, of course), Cube Entertainment’s follow up to 4minute have never come close to cracking the Gaon 100. To put it in perspective, CLC are on about the same level as SONAMOO (another non-charting rookie) and far beneath groups like DIA and APRIL. At this stage, I would say LABOUM are more popular.
Cube already tried revamping the group by increasing five members to seven, to match the trend of large numbered idol groups, but it didn't work out. Now, in a last ditch effort to get CLC popular, the group’s cute concept has been completely scrapped for the edgy, girl crush image that made their former sunbaes 4minute famous.
The group’s new single, “Hobgoblin”, is a rehash of 4minute’s “Crazy” from the same producers that blessed us with that hit. There’s plenty of trap-tinged electro pop out there, and perhaps on its own “Hobgoblin” wouldn’t sound so blatantly like 4minute, but CLC have gone even further by having one of the member’s mimic HyunA’s iconic helium-voiced rapping. On top of that, all of 4minute’s signature styling and choreography have been transferred to CLC. HyunA herself has been credited as a sort of creative and musical director for this comeback, which explains a lot.
With that said, there's no denying that CLC have absolutely nailed this transformation. The fierce, fashion-forward concept matches them just as well as the cute stuff did, which is really a testament to what a talented group of girls Cube has with CLC. Inspiration from one of the best 4minute singles ever isn't really a bad thing either, especially when 4minute are no longer around to give it to us themselves.
I'm not usually a fan of agencies recycling groups, but if BLACKPINK can be 2NE2, then why can’t CLC be 4second? “Hobgoblin” is the best thing CLC’s done since their vintage Wonder Girls-inspired debut “Pepe”, and if they stay on this path, they could end up fulfilling the need for more fierce girl groups.