I was pretty late getting into Produce 101, but I heard so much about PRISTIN (then known as Pledis Girlz) before ever watching the show.
On social media, they were arguably the most anticipated trainees from the competition, which isn’t a huge surprise. International K-pop fans have been dying for Pledis to launch a worthy follow-up to After School for years.
The ten-member troupe finally debuted this week with a six-track mini-album, but before I talk about that, can we just talk about the group’s name for a second? PRISTIN sounds like the name of a washing detergent, or a botched spelling of ‘pristine.’ Personally, I would’ve gone with PRISTEEN; not only does it sound closer to ‘pristine,’ it also ties in with their brother group, SEVENTEEN!
Anyway, a questionable name is really the only problem I have with PRISTIN. The group’s first single, “Wee Woo,” is not only fantastic, but also totally unique at a time when many other rookie groups are copying the sound of their sunbaes.
Produced by SEVENTEEN hitmakers Bumzo and Anchor, “Wee Woo” feels much more restrained than most K-pop tracks. It’s largely driven by one addictive guitar riff, while the chorus sees PRISTIN gently emulating the sound of an ambulance siren. I know that sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. There’s some other interesting touches too, like on the bridge when the girls start singing in a ghostly, trance-like state about casting a love spell on a crush.
“Wee Woo” is definitely something a little different from what’s out there now, but in a far more restrained way than say, SM Entertainment’s experimental pop. Because of this, it’s received a mixed reception online from K-pop fans who are writing it off too quickly. If people give “Wee Woo” a real chance, they’ll realise it’s another “Rookie” type of track that becomes irresistibly catchy after a few spins.
The music video is admittedly a little TWICE-ish (okay, a lot), but I’m sure PRISTIN will come into their own with a few more singles. Their energetic choreography is already setting them up as a dancing rival to GFRIEND, and their bright concept is a split from the overly cute and innocent trends dominating K-pop at the moment. Now we just have to wait and see if PRISTIN can hit it big like After School did, or if they become another underrated girl group like Rainbow or Nine Muses.
Hear us on SBS PopAsia Digital Radio
Listen in 24/7 on Digital Radio, by downloading our free mobile app or by streaming live here on our website.
Download the app here: