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K-Pop Acts SS301 And Ladies Code Seek New Beginnings

By Tamar Herman | February 16, 2016 01:38 PM EST

In 2010, male quintet SS501 were considered one of Korea's top pop acts when they suddenly broke up after the members' individual contracts expired with DSP Media. In 2014, female quintet Ladies' Code were struggling for recognition after releasing multiple songs when a car accident took the lives of two members, EunB and RiSe.

This week, the two groups are back in the spotlight for the first time in years, each act missing two members, but acknowledging and making the most of the line up changes.

Ladies' Code's three surviving members- Sojung, Zuny, and Ashley- will return as a rebranded act with "Myst3ry," a direct nod to the loss of two members. Meanwhile, SS501's Kim Hyung Jun, Heo Youngsaeng and Kim Kyu Jong, are back as Double S 301, or SS301 with the album "Eternal 5," an honorable mention to their past with Kim Hyun Joong and Park Jungmin as part of the lineup.

Even though its taken years for the two acts to rebrand, each have something to offer both old and new fans.

As they move forward, the renewed Ladies' Code return with "Myst3ry" on Feb. 24 with a lot to prove.

Prior to the September 2014 accident, Ladies' Code were relatively unknown amidst an onslaught of K-pop acts. The car crash that took the lives of RiSe and EunB also led to the group's unexpected juxtaposition in the South Korean psyche, leading to postmortum recognition of Ladies' Code's talent and catchy songs like "Pretty Pretty" and "Kiss Kiss."

"I'm Fine Thank You," one of the group's last releases as a quintet and released post-accident as a memorial song to EunB and RiSe, became the group's most popular song to date as fans around the world realized belatedly how talented the tragedy-stricken girl group was.

Now, not only will fans hope to propel Ladies' Code to popularity as a way to honor the memories of EunB and RiSe, but the remaining three will seek to show the world that they are still as good as they once were. And this time they planned to get noticed for it.

As Ladies' Code seek to reclaim their place in K-pop, so too will SS301.

The three members - Heo, Kim, and Kim- each had their own fan following, but SS501 as a whole were bolstered to popularity in the late 2000's in part thanks to leader Kim Hyun Joong's fame after starring in the TV drama "Boys Over Flowers." With both Kim and power vocalist Park Jungmin now in the army and beleaguered by lawsuits, SS301 looks to reinvent themselves after years out of the spotlight.

And SS301 already have a lot going for them. The trio's hit-making power was solidified with 2008's "U R Man." Known in South Korea as an addicting, distracting song that students shouldn't listen to ahead of tests, "U R Man" is legendary and one of SS501's top hits despite being sung solely by the sub-unit.

But SS301 also have a lot to prove. While once-rival groups like TVXQ, Super Junior, and Big Bang have moved forward to become K-pop superstars, SS501 haven't retained relevancy, even considered by some as passé. Like Ladies' Code, SS301 will have to prove their K-pop crown.

SS301 already jumped into the February competition, releasing "Eternal 5" with multiple music videos and lead single "Pain." But despite their strong fanbase, SS301 didn't immediately place on real time Korean music charts and are fighting to stay part of the larger picture.

Ladies' Code will join the K-pop hunger games on Feb. 24.

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Tamar Herman is a multi-media journalist and the co-founder of KultScene. She is a freelance writer and copy editor, and has written for MTV Iggy, Noisey and Paste Magazine.


Tagged :  SS501, ss301, double s 301

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