Fans received some sad news over the weekend when LOEN Entertainment’s HISTORY announced their disbandment after four years together. Following M.I.B and The Legend, they're the latest in a growing list of notable boy bands to call it quits this year.
For most releases, HISTORY were known for their experimental sound and edgy concepts, and this earned them a niche following.
Like their labelmate IU, HISTORY debuted with an organic style that was typical of LOEN artists at the time. Their first single, “Dreamer,” had a ‘70s pop sound and whimsical music video that couldn't have been any more different to the polished electro beats that most boy bands were doing in 2013.
However, they did a total 180-turn for their second single, “Tell Me Love.” The dance-pop track saw the boys adopt a more generic sound and style, making them indistinguishable from the countless other male rookie groups around. Despite lacking originality, the mainstream makeover worked and “Tell Me Love” became the group’s only song to chart (it peaked at No. 85).
HISTORY switched things up again for their third single, “What Am I To You.” The Latin-tinged pop song was produced by Brown Eyed Girls’ producer East4a, and saw the band transform into leather-clad bad boys with killer dance moves to boot.
Before their next comeback, maknae Jang Yi Jeong featured on IU’s acoustic ballad “Friday,” which went on to become one of the highest-selling K-pop songs ever released. LOEN were probably hoping that the popularity of the collaboration would rub off on HISTORY, but sadly it didn’t.
Instead of conforming from the success of “Tell Me Love” and moving back to something safer, HISTORY pushed the envelope even further with their next single, “Psycho.” The jarring, eighties electro-pop track wasn’t just edgy for its bold sound, but also for its Alfred Hitchcock-inspired music video. With “Psycho,” it became clear that HISTORY were targeting older listeners.
They continued to push their provocative image with their next single, “Might Just Die.” Sonically, it was their least commercial track yet, with symphonic strings against jarring electro and distorted vocals. They took things even further with scandalous choreography...
HISTORY’s final single, “Queen,” was released last year. The sexy hip-hop track marked a shift back towards a more commercial sound without entirely abandoning the edgier style they'd worked hard to establish for themselves for the last two years.
Overall, I'm sad to see HISTORY go. They really had their own unique style, and I personally loved everything they did from “What Am I To You” all the way to “Queen.” I hope one day we can see a more adult-themed idol group make it big. Brown Eyed Girls pulled it off, so it's only a matter of time before a male group does too.
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