Aespa: A slightly different girl group!

by Helen Bosch
Aespa Savage album teaser image: group picture
Aespa Savage album teaser image: group picture

K-Pop Blog > Artists > Aespa

With Aespa, SM Entertainment began its journey into a new universe in 2020. The young girl group marks the beginning of a new storyline that will unite all SM artists. However, Aespa consists not only of an unusual concept, but also four very talented members: Karina, Giselle, Winter and Ningning!

Artist nameReal nameBirthdayNationality
KarinaYu Jimin11.04.2000South Korea
GiselleUchinaga Aeri30.10.2000Japan/ South Korea
WinterKim Minjeong01.01.2001South Korea
NingningNing Yizhuo23.10.2002China

One or the other member of Aespa presented himself to the public even before the debut. Ningning, for example, was part of the trainee team "SM Rookies", which, as the name suggests, consists of trainees from SM Entertainment. Among other things, the future idols perform covers in their own shows or at SM Town concerts. Karina can be seen in the music video "Want" by SHINee's Taemin, which was released in February 2019. Afterwards, she also appeared in several music shows as a dancer with him!

Discography

On Nov. 17, 2020, Aespa debuted with the digital single "Black Mamba." Just six days later, the girl group won a music show with the song, showing their potential to reach the top right from the start! Like Stray Kids, TXT, ITZY, ENHYPEN, and ATEEZ, Aespa belongs to the fourth generation of K-pop, which is widely believed to have begun in 2018.

To date, the girl group has released a total of four singles and one album. The first single "Black Mamba" was followed by "Forever" a remake of the song sung by Yoo Youngjin in 2000, on January 29, 2021. In early May, the girl group officially made a comeback with the new single "Next Level" which reached No. 2 on the Gaon Digital chart, making it the group's first Top 5 hit.

On October 5, the first album "Savage" was finally released with six tracks including the title song of the same name. Since the singles were previously only released digitally, Savage is the first physical album that fans have been eagerly awaiting. It topped the Gaon album charts and even reached #20 on the US Billboard 200!

Most recently, Aespa presented a remake of S.E.S.'s "Dreams Come True"on December 20, 2021. In the same month, the girl group won several awards, including "Stage of the Year" at the Asia Artist Awards and "Record of the Year" at the Melon Music Awards.

"Black Mamba" officially began a storyline that continues through all of the group's other music videos. Before we go into more detail, let's briefly introduce you to the concept of Aespa, which has attracted a lot of interest even before their debut.

Concept

The members of Aespa all have a virtual counterpart, which is called "ae". According to the fictional storyline, the "ae" are alter egos based on the data that people upload. This includes photos on social media, among other things. Because these photos are often post-processed, the ae are often a "perfect" version of humans, but ultimately still undeniably a reflection.

Group picture of the 4 Aespa members together with their ae.

Aespa's ae have been featured since before the girl group's debut, appearing repeatedly in their music videos. They are named after their human counterparts, so for example Karina's virtual counterpart is called ae-Karina. Sometimes Aespa even refers to itself as an 8-member group because the ae members are also part of it. They can even be seen in the photo book from the album "Savage".

The name "Aespa" itself of course embodies the concept of the group. It is composed of the first letters of the English words "Avatar" and "Experience", supplemented by the word "Aspect", which here stands for "two sides". All in all, the name symbolizes the "encounter with another self and the experience of a new world."

With Aespa, SM Entertainment is opening the "SMCU" - SM Culture Universe - in which all the agency's groups are to participate in the long term.

Storyline

Aespa Black Mamba MV still cut: aespa members facing the black mamba

As mentioned earlier, the story begins with "Black Mamba." The members sing that they are talking to themselves, that is, to their ae. They also say that the existence of the ae takes them to another dimension. In fact, according to SM, there are two dimensions in SMCU. The real world where normal people like you and me live and the alternate dimension "Kwangya" where the villain "Black Mamba" rules.

In the course of the song, the members have problems communicating with their ae personalities because the connection, also called "Synk" in SMCU, breaks down. Apparently the Black Mamba is responsible for this, threatening to take over the ae. Aespa even faces it briefly in the music video.

In "Next Level", Aespa prepares for another confrontation with the villain. The group becomes stronger and wants to reach the "Next Level", which is called "KOSMO" in the song. The members announce that they will go to Kwangya and face off against the Black Mamba.

"Savage" continues there and conveys that Aespa believes they can defeat the Black Mamba.

Between "Next Level" and "Savage", SM Entertainment uploaded a video titled "Ep.1 Black Mamba - SM Culture Universe" to Youtube, which explains among other things that ae can enter the real world through portals. It also asks the question, "What if ae gets hacked?". Indeed, in the episode we see that the Black Mamba not only disrupts the connections between humans and their ae personality, but also influences the ae and perhaps even makes them turn against their human partners.

We're dying to know what happens next! Are you also eager to see what other stories Aespa will tell us in the future?

Girls On Top

In early January 2022, Karina and Winter debuted in the project group "GOT" (Girls On Top) together with Taeyeon and Hyoyeon from Girls Generation, Seulgi and Wendy from Red Velvet as well as BoA. The first single "Step Back" was uploaded to Youtube on January 1. It's a diverse group that spans several generations of K-Pop! Karina was born in 2000, the year 13-year-old BoA just made her debut!

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