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(G)I-dle to return as five after one-year hiatus

New album produced by Soyeon, Yuqi and Minnie consists of nine tracks

Girl group (G)I-dle (Cube Entertainment)
Girl group (G)I-dle (Cube Entertainment)
After nearly a year away from music and following a bandmate’s departure, girl group (G)I-dle is returning with its first LP on March 14.

The band first floated the news at the end of last month by uploading an artwork on social media of a shooting target with the words, “I Never Die,” the name of its first studio album.

Leading the nine-song package is “Tomboy,” and as a self-made group in the K-pop scene, Soyeon was once again listed as a producer for the titular track. Minnie and Yuqi also were listed as lyricists and composers for sidetracks “Already,” “Polaroid,” “Escape” and “Liar.”

Although not much has been announced about the group’s upcoming album, it’s the band’s first LP since their debut.

(G)I-dle made its debut as a multinational group under Cube Entertainment in 2018 through their first mini album, “I am.” And a week after its release, the band made it to Gaon Digital Chart and received their first music show win on the music program “The Show.” They also got on Billboard’s Social 50 Chart, sitting at No. 36, and notched six rookie of the year awards.

The group also participated in soundtracks for tvN drama “Her Private Life” in 2019 with the song “Help Me” and returned with their self-made album “I made” by bringing out the tango-based track “Senorita.”

(G)I-dle solidified its presence as a performer by participating in Mnet’s audition program “Queendom,” where six different female acts -- Mamamoo, Oh My Girl, now-disbanded Lovelyz, AOA and G(I)-dle -- competed against each other. Mamamoo was the winner of the show’s first season.

Although the then six-piece act ended in third place, they’ve upended the notion that girl groups only make fluffy music, and vice versa, with their fierce performances that touch on emotions like anger and regret.

During the program’s first preliminary round, the band performed a remake version of “Latata,” their debut song, and staged 2NE1’s “Fire” for round two. For their third mission, (G)I-dle was asked to rearrange music selected by their fans and showcased a dark version of “Put It Straight” and performed “Lion” for their finale.

After gaining more recognition as musicians from the show, G(I)-dle strove for more in 2020.

The band released a Japanese and English version of “Latata” in March and May, respectively, and dropped their 3rd EP, “I trust,” in April, which brought their iconic tag line “Oh my god” to life. The group also held their first-ever concert “2020 (G)I-dle Online Concert ‘I-Land: Who Am I” in July and released their encore song “i’M The Trend” the same month.

(G)I-dle put a fresh twist on their music with the summer bop “DUMDi DUMDi” in August. The band also participated in a series of collaborations with virtual girl group K/DA for a theme song of the game League of Legends.

The K-pop act continued to broaden their horizon by releasing their fourth EP, “I burn,” and digital single “Hwaa” in January 2021. They also teamed up with producer GroovyRoom for “Last Dance.”

The last two years were undoubtedly a big year for the group, but was marred by scandals surrounding (G)I-dle bandmate Soojin, who has since left the group.

Allegations started to surface in February 2021 when several netizens alleged that the 23-year-old had bullied her classmates in middle school, including actor Seo Shin-ae. Soojin and the company had initially decided the accusations, but she had to halt her activities with the group.

Last August, Soojin left the group, coming six months after the allegations emerged online. The company confirmed via a press release that the agency decided that Soojin will leave the band and (G)I-dle will continue its activities with the remaining five members.

On Saturday, Cube Entertainment announced Soojin’s departure from the label. The company said the exclusive contract between the singer has officially ended. It added that both sides tried to uncover the truth about the scandal raised last February through a police investigation, and the police dismissed the case after no evidence was found to support the accusations.

The remaining members -- Minnie, Miyeon, Soyeon, Yuqi and Shuhua -- have continued their promotions as a quintet, but it’s their first time releasing an album as a five-piece act.

During the group’s hiatus, the bandmates continued their solo careers. Soyeon, the band’s rapper and producer, was featured in Ravi’s solo track “ANI” last December and was a mentor on the audition program “My Teenage Girl.”

Miyeon met fans virtually every week hosting the Mnet music show “M Countdown.” She also built on her acting portfolio with web drama series “Replay: The Moment When It Starts Again” and “Adult Trainee” last year. Foreign bandmates Yuqi, Shuhua and Minnie continued their activities overseas in Thailand, Taiwan and China.

By Park Jun-hee (