The After School Discography Rate • FINISHED

he/him
3. Flashback
2. Bang!
1. Shampoo

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Wonderful top 3, though!
 
the song we're losing today has received the most 11s of any song eliminated so far . . .

















































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#3
(Bang)!

Grade: 9.790
Honor roll: 11×4 (@roblognick, @KimLippington, @eatyourself, @vague), 10×21 (@singabob, @RUNAWAY, @Crisp X, @evilsin, @Attis, @ysev, @chrisjche, @SloMover, @Slice of Life, @Wills, @yuuurei, @eyeline, @Conan, @Hurricane Drunk, @Mikl C, @GeiPanda, @M24, @Vixen, @Oleander, @Remorque, @Love Deluxe), 9×2 (@junglefish, @BEST FICTION)
Drop-outs: 7×1 (@Cotton Park), 7.5×1 (@berserkboi), 8.5×1 (@Ana Raquel)
@Love Deluxe's score: 10
@vague's score: 11

5 ballots: #2, 10.000 avg.
10 ballots: #4, 9.950 avg.
15 ballots: #3, 9.967 avg.
20 ballots: #3, 9.900 avg.
25 ballots: #5, 9.790 avg.
31 ballots: #3, 9.798 avg.

"뱅(Bang)!" (baeng) is the title track from After School's third single album, BANG!, released on March 25, 2010. Its lyrics were written by Kim Heesun and Bekah and it was composed and arranged by Kim Taehyun (aka Mordny). "뱅(Bang)!" was re-recorded in 2011 for inclusion on the group's first full-length Korean album, VIRGIN.

"뱅(Bang)!" as we now know it very nearly didn't happen. Kahi recalled how the song became the title track for the group's third single album on a now-deleted Melon blog, "Bang! : The Making of the Choreography". On September 29, 2009, while the members were practicing vocals for their second single album, After School were played a demo, simply titled "VS-Mordny", that was in consideration for inclusion as a b-side. As soon as she heard it, Kahi knew this demo was the perfect song to match the drumline concept that she had been secretly envisioning for four years, and took the idea to Pledis' director. "너 때문에" was the song that had been chosen to be the second single album's title track, but Kahi pushed for the demo, now titled "뱅(Bang)!", to be considered as well. By October 30, Pledis still had not decided between "너 때문에" and "뱅(Bang)!" as to which would be the group's next title track, and instructed the members to practice both songs. After School's drum instructor, Kim Hyeho, advised the members they would need at least three months of practice, but Pledis had already set the deadline for the group's comeback in one month's time. On November 2, however, after the director observed their drum practice, it was decided that "뱅(Bang)!" would not be After School's next single and was put on the backburner in order to concentrate on perfecting "너 때문에".​

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Just weeks after "너 때문에" promotions wrapped, rumors began circulating online that U-ie was planning to graduate from After School, with netizens citing the fact that she had recently moved out of the Pledis dorms as proof of her impending graduation. Pledis would late clarify that U-ie was temporarily moving to Gangwon Province due to her then-upcoming drama Birdie Buddy, saying, "To fully prepare for her role, she will be making a few adjustments to her life, so for the time being, she will be apart from the other After School members." At the time of their statement, Pledis had yet to decide if U-ie would take part in the comeback at all. Ultimately, she was included on the song and in its MV, but missed the majority of the promotional appearances due to her filming schedule. After School would have another line-up change with the release of "뱅(Bang)!", however, as Lizzy was added to the group at this time. She made her (masked) debut during a cover of Fin.K.L's "To my boyfriend" at After School's first fan meeting on February 27, 2010.​

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Aside from the drum concept, the single album also featured a "three colors" concept with the different colored outfits used in the MV and concept photos representing "extreme, sexy, and intense". There were several previously unreleased concept photos in said outfits teasing the song's lyrics used to advertise a Korean app at the time.​

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Throughout this rate we've covered After School's various plagiarism scandals, some of which were more on the nose than others. When Kahi was still heavily involved in the direction of the group, she noticeably drew heavily from her inspirations and references. After the initial Pussycat Dolls / Girlicious similarities in the group's debut era, Kahi seemed to take most of her visual inspirations from the fashion world. As we mentioned in the "Let's do it!" write-up, the movie Drumline was a huge inspiration for the BANG! era, but it wasn't the only one. The song's MV set and imagery also seemingly drew heavy inspiration from the Sexy Toys segment of the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and their stage outfits were cited as being "inspired" by the music video for Alex Gaudino's "Destination Calabria (feat. Christal Waters)". Even the song's choreography was said to be stolen from a routine choreographed by Camillo Lauricella and Nika Kljun. Pledis only acknowledged the choreography accusations, saying, "Of the whole choreography that lasts for three minutes and eighteen seconds, the only part that seems similar lasts for less than three seconds. It is unreasonable to say that there has been plagiarism. The dance to the song was created by both our American and Korean choreographers."​

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Promotions were interrupted due to the ROKS Cheonan sinking on March 26, 2010. All of the Korean music shows suspended broadcasting in the weeks following the sinking, with Music Bank in particular taking the whole month of April off. During the music shows' hiatuses, After School won first place on an undisclosed music show. We were unable to find the exact details of the win, but Raina mentioned it during a livestream in 2019 and Kahi also mentioned it on MMTG in 2021. Upon its release, "뱅(Bang)!" achieved a real-time all-kill on Korea's various digital charts. It also peaked at #2 on the Gaon Digital Chart and sold 2,374,731 downloads in 2010, making it the 17th best-selling song of that year. The BANG! single album also peaked at #2 on the Gaon Album Chart and sold 17,662 physical copies in total.

In the years since its release, "뱅(Bang)!" has remained a staple in the group's repertoire. Both E-Young and Kaeun made their stage debuts as After School members while performing this track, and both U-ie and Lizzy have cited it as their personal favorite song. Bekah also revealed in a now-private YouTube video that she wrote her rap part in "뱅(Bang)!" in under twenty minutes; she would also cite the song's choreography as the hardest for her to perform in another video. The song even inadvertently lead to a popular Korean meme where Kahi fell asleep during a broadcast of Strong Heart because she had been up all night searching for choreography inspiration for the song. Additionally, "뱅(Bang)!" was also briefly featured in the Korean horror movie White : Curse of the Melody, with After School and Pre-School Girl Nicole appearing as the top idol group, Pure.

Kahi, Jung-A, Juyeon, Bekah, and Raina reunited in 2021 on MMTG where they performed "뱅(Bang)!" together for the first time since 2011. On the show, the members were able to chose between "Diva" and "뱅(Bang)!" as to which song they would perform on the then-upcoming concert special. Kahi, Bekah, and Raina chose "뱅(Bang)!", with Raina citing that "each member gets a killing part" as the reason she wanted to perform it. Although "뱅(Bang)!" won the members' vote, "Diva" won the voters' poll with a 60/40 split, thus allowing After School to perform both songs at the concert.​

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We could give an entire TED Talk on how Pledis' poor decision-making negatively affected After School's career, and "뱅(Bang)!" could have been yet another example of their poor management. Following up "너 때문에", there were so many different - and easier - routes the group could've taken to ensure another easy hit, but it was just never in After School's (or Pledis') nature to take the easy route. With Kahi still firmly at the helm at this time, the group was bound to do something to push the envelope and to push themselves as entertainers. On paper, "뱅(Bang)!" shouldn't work; it's brash and weird and a mishmash of concepts that shouldn't work together. But, somehow, they do. Not only did After School succeed with this song at the time of its release, it has also become one of their signature songs.

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(10) — "The song being 70% chanting? Ended the Rancho Carne Toros!!!!! My first reaction to hearing this in 2010 was 'huh?'. The chanted chorus with random interludes of singing felt so out of left field for K-Pop at that time. Lizzy muttering all of 6 words on her debut single (on a shared line too!) and then ending up as After School's popular variety queen, the power she yields. You can tell the members had a blast performing this, I'm glad that it's become one of their signature songs. My homework copying queens taking inspiration from the best iteration of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, a wee bit iconic."

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(11) — "God, I don't even know where to start. This is the first song that really grabbed my attention when I was first getting into kpop nearly 12(!!) years ago and it's still one of my favorites today. I've listened to this thousand upon thousands of times in the past decade plus and it's still so cool, so right, just so tasty today as it's always been. A classic!!!!!!!"​



@roblognick (11) — "The KUNG KUNG KUNG! bit is actually really difficult to do and Jung Ah had to do it while pregnant recently - seriously how amazing was that mini reunion?! This is definitely one of the best K-Pop songs ever yes? Instantly recognisable as After School. The drumming. The dance, the outfits. Absolutely perfect!!"

@KimLippington (11) — "Kahi heard someone say she was running AS like the military and decided to turn it into a comeback concept. Her mind!! It's just the quintessential AS track. The drumming, the cunty runway walk in the ugly satin uniforms, Bekah's rap!! Everything about this is perfect to me and I was so happy to see it get love again this year through MMTG and the reunion."

@eatyourself (11) — "This song was probably my introduction to K-pop. I remember having Wonder Girls' first mini on my iTunes library, but my strongest memory from those times was hammering Bang!'s MV on loop, fascinated by the beauty, charisma and talent. That chorus has never left my head, even in the years where I wasn't into K-Pop anymore I would come back to this from time to time. People talk a lot about 2NE1 and SNSD during that time, but I feel like After School was truly on another level. 'Cultural reset' doesn't begin to describe it."

@singabob (10) — "Without a doubt their most iconic and recognisable song. The song was such an event when it came out – such an (pop)injustice that it never won a single music show award. The vocals, the dance, the drumming, the outfits, the raps – everything is just perfect. I (almost) cried when they performed this song recently and its just testament to how great the song is."

@Attis (10) — "Iconic song that deserves better recognition than it actually has. The best song to utilize drum beat after Destiny's Child."

@SloMover (10) — "Still has everyone shook 11 years later. Legendary."

@eyeline (10) — "Another ICONIC moment. They way they all manage to slay even the girls singing half a line! Bekah's rap brings the fire and then Kahi and Raina trading off those heavenly vocals before the last chorus."

@GeiPanda (10) — "Incredible. I already loved it for years, but the positive energy exploding from the reunion performance made me adore it even more."

@M24 (10) — "Such a bop! It took a few listens to warm up to that chorus (that 'aha, aha' stop is both genius and weird at first), but now I love it. I expected more epicness from the MV though, or maybe it's just the bad quality from the unofficial upload that makes it seem a little tight on budget. Wish the japanese MV had this version. Also, could anyone recommend other 'marching band' kpop songs? I only know of Ateez's Wonderland."

@Vixen (10) — "Honestly even if it isn't exactly perfect in my eyes, it's just SUCH an iconic song, and it really propelled them into superstardom like we rarely see nowadays (3 singles in). Also that BRIDGE? Yeah, they were NOT playing..."

@junglefish (9) — "I used to be obsessed with this song but I gotta say... I've grown tired of it. It annoys me that nowadays it's kinda seen as their signature song. Still, I can't imagine giving it less than a 9 because it was a true MOMENT."

@Macsun (8.75) — "Another of their classic anthems. I think the video and choreography sells it even more, that's why I gave it a slight point reduction."

@berserkboi (7.5) — "A bit too chaotic, but still a bop!"

@Cotton Park (7) — "I want to give Bang! and the instrumental before it higher scores than this just for their sheer audacity, but I rarely ever listen to them."​








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