The Little Girl Series: GP Basic

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My wota self had been looking for years for the “new SweetS”, a group which made me feel as passionately as the Penty Five did when I first got into Jpop. The Korean sextet GP Basic are it. Sure, they’ve only released one single, but “Game” is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long long while. The steady, insinuating rhythm feeds into a theme of time running out for a prospective pretty boy (boy boy) – “tick tock tick tock ticka ticka my talk” is a line I find myself singing way too frequently.

Like SweetS at their prime, GP Basic are in their early-to-mid teens, yet project an unapologetic image that embraces their pubescent sexuality. That directness, the willingness to tread the taboo, gives them that same touch of illicit Nabokovan wrongness which marked the debut album of SweetS.

And that’s the whole point of such a group, isn’t it? There should be an immediate reaction to groups this young acting so mature, a jump-back moment where you think, “This is wrong, I sholdn’t be watching this.” The trick, then, is to fascinate enough that you DO watch, despite yourself, and enjoy what you’re watching on a base level you cannot deny. (That’s how it works for me, at least. But I’ve never been known for my strong moral fiber.)

But where the Japanese group relied on an arch postmodernism in how they handled their image – purposely playing with and subverting the expectations of lolicon in a mindboggling fashion – GP Basic go for a more slapstick way of defusing the jailbait timebomb. That secret weapon is their youngest member, 12-year-old Janey, whose silly antics and clumsy shout-rapping make her the Flavor Flav of the group, allowing some dangerous ideas to be more palatable because this one joker at least got you to smile.

Meanwhile, the rest of the girls – led by the deliciously playful Hannah – are carrying on with a laid back insouciance that seems learned from the likes of 2NE1 or After School. In the hands of a girl group old enough to drive or vote, “Game” would not seem at all unusual, and even be declared sexy and hot – if not exactly original. But make a bunch of youngsters do it and suddenly you’re facing issues of appropriateness, of social mores, and of eventually acknowledging (or denying) the fact that this kind of behavior is actually typical among many teens today. These girls aren’t the problem – they’re a symptom.

Of course, GP Basic isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea and haters gonna hate, but why let that spoil everyone else’s fun? The group is just starting out, they’ll be obsolete soon enough (the second Hannah hits seventeen, as far as I’m concerned), so enjoy them while you can. Tick tock tick tock…