Weeekly is yet another rookie group that I’m not super familiar with. I pretty much just know them as the latest group from Apink and Victon’s agency (Kakao M). I can recognize a couple of the members, but I don’t know most of their names. And while I did listen to their first two singles, I don’t really recall what they sound like. (Though I do remember I found them pleasant yet just a little cute and young for my tastes.) So I wasn’t really expecting to be into their latest comeback, but I have to admit: there’s something about “After School” that piques my interest.
“After School” is an upbeat pop song about hanging out and having fun with your friends, mixing Weeekly’s bright and bubbly voices with a light hip hop style beat. While I normally don’t go for these kinds of songs, this interesting blend of sounds caught my attention because it felt fresh and new. Based on the streetwear outfits (SO MANY BUCKET HATS) and some of the more groovy dance moves, it looks like Weeekly is throwing some very slight girl crush vibes into the mix – not in the strong and sassy way, but more in the cool and trendy way. Back when I first got into K-pop, super cute stuff was really popular for girl groups. A couple years later, it shifted to more fierce and powerful music. Now it seems like the trend has settled down somewhere in between the two, and that’s kind of where this comeback is at.
Honestly, “After School” still reads as a little cutesy to me. Especially when I watch the music video, which clearly reminds me of the large age difference between myself and the members of Weeekly. For reference, I just looked up their profile… and I’m slightly more than a decade ahead of the oldest one and twice the age of the youngest one (SIGH). And while I like the choreography and its creative use of props like skateboards and chairs, there’s still a lot of typical aegyo like moves being thrown around – and those have zero effect on me, as I’m not the intended audience. So while I acknowledge that “After School” does have shades of girl crush, it’s not quite at the level that I personally prefer. But at least it’s more fun and fresh and less sugary sweet. (Nothing wrong with the latter; it’s just not something I easily relate to.)
Typically, I tend to avoid K-pop songs that are related to school or talk about school days. High school was half my life ago, and I didn’t have many great experiences back then that I care to remember. If “After School” came out a few years ago, I would have found it incredibly hard to relate to. And truthfully, I still don’t relate to it personally. But I work as a teacher, and this song actually makes me think of some of my students. They’re not quite as old as Weeekly, but they’re a few years behind the maknae – so still closer in age than I am. And watching the music video makes me think of when I leave work and see my students walking around the neighborhood and hanging out. So even though it doesn’t make me think back to my school days, my current job makes it easier to kind of see into that mindset.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
While I like “After School,” I don’t think my interest in it will last long. I’ll probably listen to it on my commute playlist for a week or so, and then I’ll move on to something else. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying such a fun and feel-good song when I usually don’t. I feel like I’m slowly but surely expanding my tastes! I know Weeekly won a few rookie awards last year, and I can certainly see why. They’re clearly talented, and they make music that I know a lot of people will like (especially the Korean general public). They’re still pretty new to the scene, but I’m sure we’ll keep seeing great things from them.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to Kakao M. Music video distributed by 1theK.