The next group and rookie on the reviewing block is H1-KEY, who debuted on January 5 with the single ATHLETIC GIRL. H1-KEY is a four member female group under Grandline Group, with their lineup consisting of Seoi, Sitala, Riina (Produce 48 participant) and Yel. What has drawn my attention to this female rookie group is that just under a month after their debut, the new group has amassed over 10 million views for their music video on YouTube, which is an uncommon feat for a rookie group. So let’s check out what ATHLETIC GIRL has to offer.

ATHLETIC GIRL is another decent debut track. But unlike the song I reviewed earlier today, ATHLETIC GIRL fairs a lot better and has a lot more reasons that enables it to stand out. One of these reasons has to be the confident attitude and vibe that the song exudes, which goes hand-in-hand with ATHLETIC GIRL‘s self-confidence and self-pride messaging that the lyrics have and their delivery through in some parts of the song. Other reasons include both the vocals and rapping. On the rapping front, I liked the boost of energy the rappers gave the song. On top of that, I felt momentum and dynamism were well delivered and presented, which shows me huge promises and potential for this group. The rap-speak parts of the song were quite captivating and was a subtle yet powerful manner of showing that self-confidence and self-pride messaging from the lyrics. On the vocal front, there was some strong showing of their vocal capabilities, particularly in the post-chorus sequence that followed the second and final choruses. This post-chorus sequence also doubles up as a mechanism to prevent ATHLETIC GIRL from going down the repetitive path, which I was thankful for. Elsewhere, stronger melodies would have made the song memorable, but what we got was pretty good already. Now, I have to admit that ATHLETIC GIRL does fall in one aspect – the hip-hop instrumentation. I felt the background for ATHLETIC GIRL was lackluster and not innovative. I felt it could have been more dynamic and amped up. If this was the case, I think (in conjunction with everything I have mentioned already) would have made ATHLETIC GIRL more compelling.

The common stereotype in KPOP when it comes to music videos is that if you come from a small company, your music video isn’t going to be high quality. H1-KEY comes from a company that I have never even heard of, but this music video nowhere near the low end of the quality spectrum. I was astounded by the crisp quality of the video. I really liked the changing background of that concrete room. It was a subtle detail that I almost missed, but it definitely made the music video appear more dynamic. The sets were definitely well constructed, and looked really modern and cool on screen. The closeups for this music video showcases the members visuals, which is no doubt a great selling point for a debut music video. Great jobs to the members and the producers of this video!

I quite like the inclusion of the various exercise moves they had in the performance, even though I felt it was a tad too heavy handed (made the performance feel a bit repetitive). A few stretching, crouching and lunge poses and the showing of biceps (probably the most global way of showing how fit you are to the world!). I also enjoyed the confidence the members brought to the stage – quite refreshing. But the rest of the performance was a bit ordinary.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

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