BABYMONSTER, YG Entertainment’s latest group, has embarked on their journey amidst high expectations and a tumultuous pre-debut phase, including the departure of a key member. With an average age of around 16, the group has made a bold entrance with their debut track BATTER UP.
BABYMONSTER, consisting of Ruka, Chiquita, Haram, Pharita, Rora, and Asa, have been universally praised for their music video performance. A 7th member, Ahyeon, will join the group at a later date.
READ | BABYMONSTER Profile
A bumpy start for BABYMONSTER?
However, despite the praise for BABYMONSTER, BATTER UP itself has had a lukewarm reception among fans.
Many pointed out that the track sounds similar to DDU-DU DDU-DU by YG’s other leading girl group BLACKPINK. Others claim that the track does not have the level of innovation expected from a fifth-generation K-pop group.
Fan reactions to the music video
The music video for BATTER UP has garnered mixed reactions. Fans have noted its stylistic similarities to previous YG Entertainment groups like 2NE1 and BLACKPINK. These include familiar elements like solo segments, extravagant settings, and group dances.
Fans are also calling out YG, claiming their lack of creativity has negatively impacted BABYMONSTER’s debut. Among the comments sighted online:
- “While the song was slightly better than what I expected … I feel like in the current landscape – other groups have debuted with concepts that have both been very different and establishing a concept/identity unique to the group.”
- “Even the production looks dated. I hate to say this but this type of sound, while pleasantly general public-friendly, is not what the crowd usually wants anymore.”
- “[The] girls are very talented but I think YG didn’t do enough to take a hard look at the K-pop landscape to see what’s been working and then trying their best to make their group stand out.”
- “YG is on its last leg creatively. They wont be able get away with recycling 2NE1’s concept for much longer. 4th generation girl groups are too strong, the YG brand doesn’t have the same market cache as it used to. These girls are talented and deserve to be in the hands of a creative team that isn’t operating on autopilot.”
YG founder Yang Hyun-Suk to blame?
Criticism also arose within YG Entertainment. Employees have expressed dissatisfaction with controversial founder and producer Yang Hyun-Suk’s involvement in the video’s production.
Yang Hyun-Suk produced for many of YG’s biggest artists including BIG BANG, 2NE1 and BLACKPINK. He stepped down from the company in 2019 following several legal entanglements. However, he returned to the company in order to work on BABYMONSTER’s formation and debut.
Following the lackluster reception to BATTER UP, employees are reportedly calling for him to withdraw from producing roles.
Future still bright for BABYMONSTER
Despite the rough start, the members of BABYMONSTER still have plenty of support among fans. In terms of musical talent, the girls have a solid foundation. The closing moments of BATTER UP offering a glimpse into a possibly more unique and consistent musical path ahead.
Fans are hoping that YG Entertainment will listen to the criticism, and improve on the group’s future music releases. With Ahyeon expected to rejoin BABYMONSTER in the near future, it could be an opportunity to revamp the group’s musical direction.
As BABYMONSTER navigates their path forward, fans and critics alike will be watching to see if the girls can carve out a distinct identity in the competitive K-pop landscape. We wish the girls all the best for their future!