Triple H, the trio comprising female singer HyunA and PENTAGON's Hui and E'Dawn, are already an anomaly in K-pop as a co-ed group. There aren't many mixed gender groups in K-pop, and few of them have been as provocative in their depictions of sexuality and young adulthood in the way Triple H have since debut.
Triple H debuted with "365 Fresh" in 2017, a funk-fused pop song, the video of which depicted scenes not frequently shown in K-pop. E'Dawn's suicide attempts, HyunA's self-defence in the face of assault: they're serious moments set to a contrasting bop of a song. They're not usually delivered in this light-hearted manner, and somehow that's what makes it feel all the more real.
The story Triple H has been selling of themselves in their videos is that of three lost souls, two of whom are potentially entangled in a love affair that doesn't necessarily exclude the third. You see it in "365 Fresh" when we watch HyunA and E'Dawn lie in bed naked, with Hui sleeping right next to them.
In "Retro Future" this undefined relationship continues. You've got E'Dawn and HyunA in a bath together sharing lollipops while Hui sits on the toilet - all scenes that would usually get a K-pop video banned from broadcast in Korea. Elsewhere, Hui and E'Dawn run hand-in-hand with wind blowing in their faces.
All the while, "Retro Future" switches the styling focus to blur the lines between masculine and feminine clothing. Hui wears a pearl harness, E'Dawn is dressed in floral lace and costume diamonds, and they're often just as exposed as their female counterpart.
HyunA has crafted a niche for herself in K-pop as a solo artist who plays by her own rules. She's not afraid of looking not traditionally feminine. She wipes up blood in "365 Fresh" and sits spread-legged with a toy car driving between in "Retro Future". She owns her body and her space, and in Triple H she isn't just an equal to the two men, but the elder talent among them. The narratives are triggered by and develop around her.
Triple H are new: "Retro Future" is only their first comeback. But what they're doing, from their stages to music video storylines and music, is subverting every expectation you could have from major label K-pop.
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