The Korea Herald


Teen Top says forever with fans is 'for sure'

By Choi Ji-won

Published : July 5, 2023 - 14:43

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K-pop band Teen Top poses at the group's comeback media showcase for album K-pop band Teen Top poses at the group's comeback media showcase for album "4Sho" held in Seoul on Tuesday. (Kim Dong-joo/The Korea Herald)

Teen Top, which made a smash debut as rookies in 2010, is now in its 13th year but the group still retains its boylike freshness.

Teen Top on Tuesday dropped its new album "4Sho," making a comeback after three years. With the album, the team celebrates its first comeback as a four-piece and promises their firm resolution to stay together "for sure."

Much have happened in the meanwhile. The members' exclusive contracts with TOP Media ended, leading to members Niel and Changjo's departure from the company. The band's former leader C.A.P left the group in May after coming under fire over controversies sparked during a live broadcast with fans.

For the fans who have waited for them through the trials of time, Teen Top says their new album had to be titled "4Sho."

"When we became four, we promised with each other that whatever happens we'll do our best. We didn't think about postponing the comeback because we knew fans had waited for us. We became closer and worked harder, and I think the album came out even better than expected," Chunji said Tuesday during a press event in Seoul.

Teen Top has brought the vivacious energy it had during its debut in 2010, when the boys livened up the K-pop scene with fast-paced dance songs "Rocking," "Miss Right" and "No Perfume For You."

"Hweek," leading the quartet's new album, is a funky summer song highlighted by addictive melodies and crisp energy.

"'Hweek' has Teen Top's cheerful spirit. We hope the listeners can release their daily stress with it," Chunji said after a performance of the song.

Niel added, "Many of our fans are in their 20s or are working. As it's almost the summer holiday season, we hope they could start their vacation with our song."

The group said "Hweek" was selected out of around 10 songs put up for the album's main song.

"I got a strong feeling that it was ours when we first heard it," Changjo said. Chunji added, "Although some of our songs are dark, the public seems to remember us with our brighter ones. So we chose a buoyant tune that everyone can enjoy together for our title song this time."

The group also worked again with the dancer who made the choreography for their past hits.

A sped-up version of "Wheek" was included on the album, as well as an instrumental version of it.

There are two other new tracks as well. "Next You" is an easy-listening alternative pop tune about the boys' devotion to their fans, and "Missing You 2023," a re-recorded version of the group's 2013 song "Missing You."

Teen Top is among the groups that have been brought back by a retro trend that has been sweeping the nation for several years. In March, Teen Top's name blipped up on the public radar after comedian Yoo Jae-suk mentioned the team as his "favorite group" and played its past hits during his variety show "Hangout With Yoo."

Niel said the comeback gained the momentum there.

"Fans were waiting for our full-group comeback and we were wondering how we could make it work, and that was when Yoo mentioned us. That became a drive for us to kick-start our album production," Niel said.

The team said this was only their start to a new odyssey. Up next is the band's standalone concert -- the first in four years -- which will happen on July 15-16 at Nodeulseom Live House in Seoul.

The band hinted at a global tour as well. Chunji said, "We're not back just for one time. ... After we're done with our comeback in Korea, we're heading overseas and where we expect to meet many foreign fans in different locations."

Their start fit their name, as six teenage boys jumped into the K-pop scene to rule it with their youthful energy. They are now down to four members all nearing their 30 -- Niel, Ricky, Changjo and Chunji -- but they say their spirit is unchanged.

"Teen Top could stay the same because there are the people and fans who remember us. Our devotion to our performances will never change," Ricky said.

Over the 13 years, K-pop has changed, expanded and flourished. While there are groups like Teen Top that endure, many more last just one or two years.

"It would be a lie if we say we don't have worries. We talked about how long we would be able to last and sing as idols. We always arrive at the conclusion that, if there are even a few people who look forward to seeing us on the stage, we'll continue," said Niel.

He added, "We watched K-pop evolve at home, and we feel grateful to all the artists who have enabled such changes to happen. We respect them and hope we can follow their footsteps to spread K-pop further."