The Korea Herald


StayC aims to define 'teen fresh' genre through 'Teddy Bear'

Girl group StayC returns to share hope and comfort with its fourth single "Teddy Bear"

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Feb. 14, 2023 - 20:45

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K-pop girl group StayC (Highup Entertainment) K-pop girl group StayC (Highup Entertainment)

Girl group StayC aspired to make "teen-fresh" another name for the group with its fourth single "Teddy Bear."

The six-member group conducted a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours ahead of dropping the single at 6 p.m. that day.

"Teddy Bear" marked the group's return to the K-pop scene after seven months since it last dropped its third single "We Need Love." In the meantime, the girls went on their first global concert tour and made their official debut in Japan.

"We've been around so many places," member, J, said. "We toured around the US, held overseas fan-meetings and debuted in Japan. The time really flew by."

With "Teddy Bear," the girls have returned to their signature upbeat and kitschy demeanor, a style they had strayed from in their previous song.

"If we'd shown a nostalgic, (emotionally) overwhelming and mature side of us through 'We Need Love,' this song captures our positive, cheerful and kitschy charms, demonstrating our identity as StayC," Isa said.

The new album is a two-track package consisting of the namesake title track "Teddy Bear" and the Korean version of the act's Japan debut single "Poppy," the latter of which was pre-released on Feb. 3.

Just like StayC's past songs, "Teddy Bear" was produced mainly by the act's label Highup Entertainment's executive producer and founder, Black Eyed Pilseung, in collaboration with other songwriters. With the pop punk dance tune, StayC shares its unique upbeat energy through the melody while delivering a message of hope through the lyrics.

About the titular track, Sumin said, "Through 'Teddy Bear,' we wish to share hope and comfort by saying 'it's okay because this is our first life.' We hope it becomes like a stepping stone for everyone kicking off on a promising new year."

While title tracks usually catch your attention in the first instant, the bandmates said "Teddy Bear" had sounded somewhat plain when they had first heard the song's guide version.

"At first, I was worried the chorus part where we repeat 'teddy bear' sounded flat, but recording the song and preparing for the performance, it gained layers of our color," Sumin said.

StayC is a six-member group that debuted in November 2020 with its first single "Star to a Young Culture," which is fronted by the main song "So Bad." Ahead of "Teddy Bear," the group had released three singles and two mini albums, topping local charts with every comeback, with viral hits like "Stereotype," "ASAP" and "Run2U."

In November, the six-member group also made a successful debut in Japan with its first Japanese single "Poppy."

Rather than being stressed over public anticipation, the girls said they hoped to carve out their own genre of 'teen-fresh' with the new single.

"It'd be a lie if we were to say that we have no pressure about chart scores. But as a singer, it's inevitable to have that pressure because we want to be good and introduce good songs. But with this comeback, we're more focused on the message that we want to convey and the level of our performance," said Si-eun.

Being grouped with some big rookies, including Ive, NewJeans and Le Sserafim, as a fourth-generation K-pop act, StayC aspired to show its presence by carving out its own musical genre.

"Many groups have debuted recently, introducing songs of diverse genres into K-pop, and as StayC, we plan to continue making music with our uniquely energetic and teen-fresh vibes," Yoon said.

Adding to this, Si-eun said, "We aim to show properly what 'teen-fresh' is with this album, and eventually, we hope StayC's teen-fresh can become one of the defining genres of K-pop."

On their goals this year, Sumin, the act's leader, said they aspire for the group's longevity.

"Although charts and numbers are important, we think lasting long is the essence. Only two years have passed (since our debut) and our goal is to go far and to stay long with our fans," Sumin said.