The After School Discography Rate • FINISHED

today is the thirteenth anniversary of After School's debut . . .

and we meticulously timed this result to be revealed today . . .





Grade: 9.105
Honor roll: 10×13 (@junglefish, @RUNAWAY, @roblognick, @Slice of Life, @yuuurei, @Conan, @KimLippington, @Hurricane Drunk, @Cotton Park, @eatyourself, @Oleander, @Love Deluxe, @vague), 9.75×1 (@M24), 9.25×1 (@Attis)
Drop-outs: 6×1 (@GeiPanda), 7×1 (@Vixen), 7.5×1 (@Ana Raquel)
@Love Deluxe's score: 10
@vague's score: 10

5 ballots: #9, 9.800 avg.
10 ballots: #14, 9.275 avg.
15 ballots: #13, 9.217 avg.
20 ballots: #12, 9.288 avg.
25 ballots: #11, 9.290 avg.
31 ballots: #14, 9.105 avg.

"AH" is After School's debut single from their first single album, New Schoolgirl, released on January 15, 2009. Its lyrics were written by Brave Brothers, it was composed by Brave Brothers and Jeonjaeng Byeoldeului (GALACTIKA), and was also arranged by Brave Brothers. "AH" and New Schoolgirl were released nearly a full year before the Gaon Chart was established on December 27, 2009, so their chart and sales data are largely unavailable. What we do know is that "AH" debuted at #104 on Melon before rising to #20 in its second week of release; it was also Melon's 43rd biggest song of 2009. New Schoolgirl charted on the Gaon Album Chart several times throughout 2010 and 2011 before reaching its peak position of #36 in January 2011, two full years after its release, and sold 2,096 copies just in 2011 alone.

After two years of preparation, After School finally debuted in January 2009 with the release of their first single album, New Schoolgirl, and its title track, "AH". Two tracks from New Schoolgirl, "PLAY GIRLZ" and "AH", were released digitally on January 15, After School made their live debut on MBS' Music Core on the 17th, and the full single album was released on the 20th. Pledis described "AH" as "based on electronic hip-hop, which is a trend in the American pop market, with a mix of dance and R&B." After School's initial image was modeled after the Pussycat Dolls with the intent to "open up a new market for girl groups [in Korea]" with a "performance style that appeals to people in their twenties, rather than the teen girl groups who have gained interest lately."

Prior to their debut, Pledis used Son Dambi's massive popularity as a promotional strategy to introduce the After School members. Kahi featured on Dambi's second single "Bad Boy", Jung-A was a back dancer for "Bad Boy" promotions, and the group as a whole was featured in a few different performances at the various year-end music shows, as well. Although this method did get the members into the public eye and sparked curiosity for the group, it also pigeonholed them in some ways. Early on, After School were constantly referred to as "5 Son Dambi's". The comparison kept on throughout most of the debut era to the point where Pledis made a statement that they were trying to "break away from Son Dambi's shadow" and "show their own colors" later on in the song's promotional cycle. Despite wanting to separate After School's name from Dambi's, Pledis still used Dambi to promote the group as often as they could nn.​


From the moment that they were announced, After School were positioned as the "Korean Pussycat Dolls", so much so that it was almost a tagline for them when news sources talked about them. But when you dissect the entire debut era, it wasn't really the Pussycat Dolls that they were emulating, but rather Robin Antin's other girl group - Girlicious. It would be an understatement to say that After School wore their references on their sleeve; in fact, some of the visual cues they presented in "AH" were so on the nose that you'd think After School was another Robin Antin side project ddd. The whole project was indisputably inspired by Girlicious - and, to a lesser extent, the Pussycat Dolls - but the most blatant "inspirations" were After School's crest logo and their MV outfits. Obviously, this isn't a hit piece on After School, so we'll just present the parallels and let y'all come to your own conclusions ddd.​


Now, speaking of outfits, it's not a widely known fact but there was actually a concept-within-a-concept for "AH": what was referred to as a "reverse look" in the "AH" MV shows After School in different outfit styles that were meant to depict "In School" and "After School" attire. After School's school uniform and grey, lockerroom sweats, the "In School" looks, were meant to represent the "preppy look of American schools", and the purple, red and yellow, and blue and silver looks, the "After School" outfits, were meant to showcase a "casual training look while still maintaining the group's sexy, beautiful aesthetic." These outfits played off their group name and were styled to show After School as a group of "female students who enjoy freedom after class is dismissed." The school uniform motif would continue through the group's full run, with each new admission getting her own photoshoot when they joined the group.​


Upon their debut, After School received mixed reactions from netizens. There was an equal divide of people appreciating the confidence they displayed, while others thought they were "too provocative". Pledis responded to the criticism, stating that After School was meant to embody what was en vogue in Western pop culture, describing After School's concept as "powerful" and "free-spirited". They were also specifically marketing After School in opposition to what was popular with girl groups at the time, which was, in their words, "a pretty and lively girlish sensibility" dddd. It seems that After School were teetering right on the edge of that fine line that is Korea's strict censorship rules. One distinct instance is how they changed parts of the "AH" choreography in the early live stages to be more toned down, but eventually, as promotions continued, they began performing the original choreography as was featured in the song's MV... because fuck Korean censorship!​


In a youth-obsessed culture, After School subverted Korean girl group conventions simply by debut. Debuting as the leader of After School just days after her 28th birthday, Kahi proved there's no expiration date on talent. At 25 (Jung-A), 22 (Soyoung), 21 (Juyeon), and 19 (Bekah), the whole debut roster was considered long in the tooth by K-pop standards. In fact, there was an undertone of ageism in nearly all of the reports surrounding the group's debut, almost like, "can you believe they're in their 20s and still debuting?" Kahi's age, in particular, was often used as a punchline for comedians and netizens alike. The group's mere existence challenged the misogyny of the industry and paved the way for other female idols to be able to debut in their mid-to-late twenties. With a now 41-year-old Kahi set to soon re-debut in the Mom is an Idol project group, she and the rest of the group continue to prove there is no such thing as being past your prime.​


(10) — "One of my earliest introductions to K-Pop after I got hooked in Fall 2008 with TVXQ's MIROTIC and Wonder Girls' Nobody. Remember when Kahi was 'Gahee'??? ffff. One of the most bombastic debuts ever, I still can't believe I was able to follow it in real time. I also think this is the first choreography that I ever learned, either this or Chocolate Love."

(10) — "I was kind of annoyed 'Diva' didn't reach the top ten, but 'AH' going out at #14 is genuinely upsetting! This is my absolute favorite choreography from them, too. They make it look so effortless. I never get sick of watching them perform it."​

@RUNAWAY (10) — "one of their top 3 singles fight me. Everything about this song/era was ICONIC, and I absolutely love the OT8 version they performed live in Japan when they were first debuting there. This song, and that performance live permanently on rotation in my head."​

@roblognick (10) — "So, so catchy. It does feel out of place on this single with the cutesy sound, but honestly it's the best song on it for me. I never tire of it."

@KimLippington (10) — "Kind of the best 2nd gen debut if you think about it!"

@Cotton Park (10) — "Still one of the greatest debut singles ever."

@eatyourself (10) — "Why are Brave Bros like this?"

@M24 (9.75) — "This is too good for a debut song, damn. The chorus is pretty good, not my favorite they ever did, but I like the fact they repeat 'duri' so many times that I can attempt to sing it without spewing so much gibberish. The middle-8 rap by Bekah is probably my favorite section of the song though. Anyway, I'm glad they continued this electropop sound during their careers!"

@singabob (9) — "I remember when this song first came out and it just caught my attention cause it was so out there and so different from the other Kpop girl groups at that time. Really appreciate how Kahi took like 75% of the vocals to herself. Such a queen."

@SloMover (9) — "It's a little unassuming and not particularly innovative or even interesting but it's just a grade A solid K-Pop song. Kahi and Bekah trading rap verses is iconic."

@berserkboi (9) — "K-Pop Girls Aloud!"

@Wills (8.5) — "The whiny synth during the na-na-na bit is highkey the best part."

@eyeline (8.5) — "Certainly a tad dated but it still SLAPS. The Bekah Kahi back and forth is legendary."

@Macsun (8.5) — "Solid track with one of the greatest rap back and forth."

@Vixen (7) — "It gets a little grating at times because of the motif/repetition, but at the end of the day, it's a cute generic yknow, a 7!"​


tomorrow's cut will see us lose another 11.
Those who scored this less than a 10, honestly all go f*** yourselves. (I'm only kidding... But if I ever see you in your real life and I'm carrying a McFlurry....)

But this is #14 and it scored a 9.105 average? Incredible!

EDIT: And I think aside from Bang! this is perhaps the best choreography of any Kpop song. That'd be a great idea for a rate actually....
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the song we're losing tonight is the last one standing from its parent album . . .




Rambling girls

Grade: 9.145
Honor roll: 11×1 (@yuuurei), 10×13 (@singabob, @junglefish, @evilsin, @Ana Raquel, @roblognick, @Slice of Life, @Conan, @Macsun, @eatyourself, @BEST FICTION, @Oleander, @Love Deluxe, @vague), 9.5×3 (@Wills, @berserkboi, @KimLippington)
Drop-outs: 7×1 (@Crisp X), 7.5×3 (@chrisjche, @Hurricane Drunk, @Mikl C), 8×5 (@Attis, @SloMover, @eyeline, @GeiPanda, @Vixen)
@Love Deluxe's score: 10
@vague's score: 10

5 ballots: #9, 9.800 avg.
10 ballots: #11, 9.400 avg.
15 ballots: #14, 9.200 avg.
20 ballots: #11, 9.300 avg.
25 ballots: #12, 9.190 avg.
31 ballots: #13, 9.145 avg.

"Rambling girls" is the first track from After School's third Japanese single, Rambling girls / Because of you, released on January 25, 2012; it was also included on their first Japanese album, PLAYGIRLZ, as track two. Its lyrics were written by Harumi Tanaka and it was composed and arranged by Anoo Bhagavan, Peter Wennerberg, Mathias Venge, and Gaby Jangfeldt. "Rambling girls" holds the distinction of being After School's first original Japanese single.

After the success of their Christmas campaign during the promotion of "Diva (Japan Ver.)", After School were once again chosen to be the faces of the SHIBUYA109 department store's 2012 7days Bargain campaign. "Rambling girls" was featured in the sale's advertisement campaign, complete with shots filmed specifically for the ad on the "Rambling girls" MV set, and were once again featured prominently on the outside of the building.​


Upon its release, the Rambling girls / Because of you single peaked at #7 on Oricon, selling 12,110 copies in its first week. It charted for six weeks and sold 17,029 copies in total, making it the 400th best-selling physical single of 2012 in Japan.

(10) — "210 seconds of absolute pure nonsense, I just love it! The outfits are so snatched, they look like Aluminum Foil Avengers teleporting us to Mars, I live. Nana's line delivery on 'now. is. the. Time' in the second verse… perfect pop voice! ALSO reminder that Love Beat and its musty carcass is still in the got damn rate over this, AH, and Diva!"

(10) — "I don't know how you can listen to this and not have that chorus lodged in your brain for days. It's beyond catchy. I thought for sure this was a shoo-in for top five."​

@singabob (10) — "I knew their Japanese output will be amazing the moment this song came out. Such an amazing song. Such a simple chorus but it just works."

@Macsun (10) — "The fucking robotic harmonies kills me every time. The genius of the hard beats juxtaposed with the Spanish guitars is sublime."

@berserkboi (9.5) — "So addictive!!"

@KimLippington (9) — "White_girls_dancing_to_oonts_oonts_at_the_club.gif"

@M24 (8.75) — "This one is the opposite of a grower. It lost its catchiness after a few listens, when I grew tired of the 'lalala's. Rambling girls indeed. It's still a bop, I like it, but it's among my lesser favorites of the album (can't believe it was made a single with so many better options!) I guess it does make sense in a way, because of how instantly it hooks to your head. Wish I could watch the MV in hq, I loved the outfits (somehow japanese mvs always seem to be set in a futuristic space landscape?) and the scene with the microphones (could the rambling be a criticism of the press? Look at me intellectualizing pop music!)."

@Attis (8) — "Dislike the chorus."

@SloMover (8) — "The Spanish guitar towards the end of the track is a bit of a scream and very 1999 but I love it."

@Vixen (8) — "...They made a few points!"​

How the fuck did Rambling Girls make it this far? There's absolutely nothing to the song.

Well, I had hope there for a top 10 finish, but considering the terrible opinions in this rate I'm proud of my fave for making it as far as it did! Rambling girls is such a great song, I always feel happy when I listen to it.

For those confused, the lyrics are mainly about being free and making your own way in the world, and this is what the "rambling" refers to, not talking a lot or walking in the countryside or whatever. You come across this word in Japanese pop culture from time to time and it has a slightly different connotation than it does in English, imo.

Anyway thanks to everyone who gave Rambling girls a score of at least 9! To everyone else, sorry your taste sucks.
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