Earlier this month, Crystal Clear — better known by their abbreviated name CLC — made it known they would be making their first K-pop comeback for 2017. Unlike fellow label acts BtoB and Pentagon, they were carrying the full weight of representing girl groups for Cube Entertainment after 4Minute disbanded. As a result, CLC and Cube Entertainment decided to go with an edgy concept for Crystyle specifically their title track song “Hobgoblin.”
Now after two weeks of pre-release promotions which included teaser images, title track list release, and audio snippets of Crystyle which included “Hobgoblin” as well as the other songs, CLC has officially made their comeback for 2017. The music video for “Hobgoblin” is now online and it is making an impact with almost 50,000 views within its first 24 hours. However, with said new title track song, is Cube Entertainment making CLC follow 4Minute?
CLC made their first K-pop comeback for 2017 with ‘Crystyle.’ Their title track song is ‘Hobgoblin.’ [Image by Cube Entertainment]
Just from watching the opening to “Hobgoblin,” many K-pop fans who’ve followed CLC, both aggressively and casually, can tell this was far different from anything they did in the past. CLC starts by singing words from Korea’s story of folklore of the same name when the hobgoblin chants magical phrases such as “Come out gold, come out silver,” as reported by AllKpop. We are then bombarded with a very catchy dance tune and on-point choreography enhanced by flashy background visuals.
As for the seven members of CLC — Seunghee, Yujin, Seungyeon, Sorn, Yeeun, Elkie, and Eunbin — gone are the “cute girls” look as they are dressed to impress in fierce outfits which included leather, studs, and glitter. One detail that was incorporated was to have their hairstyles made to look like they had horns while donning spiked bats, just like how hobgoblins are depicted in the Korean folklore tale.
4Minute was the veteran girl group under Cube Entertainment. They were forced to disband last year in 2016 after ‘Act.7’ flopped. [Image by Cube Entertainment]
Though CLC’s comeback is impressive and garnering plenty of attention, many K-pop fans are wondering if Cube Entertainment is molding CLC to become a 4Minute clone. For starters, CLC was argued not to provide a return for all their work since they debuted back in 2015. If we look at their six extended plays (EPs) or mini-albums before Crystyle dropped, they all never broke 6,000 copies in sales. As a matter of fact, their debut mini-album sold the most copies at over 5,277. 4Minute’s worst selling album overall, which was their last EP or mini-album Act. 7 featuring the title track song “Hate,” managed to sell over 9,000 copies collectively.
With that in mind, CLC being like their seniors 4Minute would fill a void left behind when the latter left and make an impact for the former who needed an image change because their last image wasn’t working. Getting Hyuna to write their title track song “Hobgoblin” and help out in choreography were major attributes in making Crystyle‘s title track song more like something 4Minute would perform.
To be frank, CLC following in 4Minute’s footsteps is the age-old concept of doing something that succeeds. True said concept did not work for 4Minute in the end, but it must be stressed that 4Minute was seven years old and had multiple albums selling over 10,000 copies, 20,000 copies and so on. Act. 7 only selling 9,000 copies was probably a sign the veteran girl group’s lifespan was about to end, and efforts should be put into CLC who are only two years old and have never even sold past 6,000 copies.
Ultimately, everything Cube Entertainment did about CLC being more like 4Minute was an “investment for the future.” It is not expected that CLC will wholly change their image to be just like 4Minute, but take parts from it and pave their own way. It is similar to what Black Pink did. The new rookie girl group under YG Entertainment said they purposely debuted with 2NE1 elements in their music but eventually made their own way with their first K-pop comeback like two months after their debut with Square Two.