Well, it’s official. One of K-pop’s most diligent girl groups, Brave Girls, have sadly flopped yet again with their newest release Rollin’.
Following its release on March 7th, the five track mini album meekly crept into the Gaon Charts at number 30, before plummeting a mindbogglingly spectacular seventy places during its second week to number 100 (which just so happens to be Gaon’s lowest position). Despite performing on all the music shows, “Rollin'”‘s sweet tropical melodies are falling on tone deaf ears. The group’s Big Controversial Moment, when the song was banned for featuring a supposed profanity, did nothing to whip up a buzz. Brave Girls have also made zero impact on the Gaon Social Chart – a heavy indication that basically nobody is talking about them, or “Rollin'”. The floppage of “Rollin'”, and the era as a whole, is the latest in Brave Girls’ six year string of chart bombs. Seriously, these girls have tanked so much that they make Bionic look like a blockbusting smash hit.
The Difference, their release that started it all in 2011, actually did quite well; the ‘single album’ peaked at number 2 on the charts. Brave Girls had two more modest but quickly forgotten hits: 2011’s reggae bop “툭하면 (Easily)” and the funky upbeat dance number “요즘 너 (Nowadays You)” in 2012. Nowadays, it’s a different story for Brave Girls. After a four year hiatus, Brave Girls made their long-awaited[by whom?] comeback in 2016, with a new lineup and the critically acclaimed but commercially panned “변했어 (Deepened)”. The sultry hip-hop infused dance bop sold a tanktastic 10, 942 copies and peaked at 131. Followup single, the sassy and brassy “High Heels”, fared no better with its peak position of 135. After yet another hiatus and yet another lineup change (none of the original members are left), Brave Girls returned in March with their fourth mini album Rollin’.
Honestly, their team at Brave Entertainment couldn’t have picked a worse time to try and push the second Stellar even if they tried. Brave Girls are up against some of the biggest names in K-girl groups: GFriend and Gugudan, as well as the mildly popular Lovelyz. Plus, PRISTIN are promoting their insanely anticipated debut “Wee Woo” right now. So what made Brave Entertainment think now was the perfect time to attempt to push Brave Girls yet again?! You don’t compare where you don’t compete, and Brave Girls certainly don’t right now. Just watch their latest performance of “Rollin'” on Music Core. There’s literally two fans making noise for them at the end, as some pitiful confetti shrouds them. The views are minimal when compared to the aforementioned girl groups too. It’s all a bit tragic really, not least because the choreo for “Rollin'” is incredibly intricate and flawlessly executed by five very talented young ladies.
Brave Girls‘ inability to secure a huge hit is quite absurd. Brave Brothers, the Dr. Luke of Korea (minus the scandals), is their sole producer. If you want a hit in Korea, Brave Brothers is your guy. So what is it about his own group that doesn’t seem to be working? This time around, the dark outfits and sexy chair choreo are somewhat jarring when compared to the bright, beaming pastel colors of the current aegyo-infested girl groups trending. But bucking the trend has worked out well for several acts in the past and, as one netizen puts it, all Brave Girls need is “the song”. Bizarrely, in the six years Brave Girls have been promoting, Brave Brothers just hasn’t been able to find “the song” for his own group like he has done for so many other acts. This is not to mean that Brave Girls need better music, because they do not. Brave Girls are provided with phenomenal pop by their producer, and if frequent Brave Brothers collaborator AOA had put out “High Heels”, it would have been yet another signature hit for AOA. But Brave Girls need that signature song for themselves which captivates the K-pop audience and, frustratingly, “Rollin'” just ain’t it. Their continuous lack of success is admittedly taking a toll on the girls, who burst into tears when recounting their floppage at Rollin‘s showcase. I want to say better luck next time to Brave Underdogs, but at this point… will there even be a next time?