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Re-Discover: aespa

aespa made their long-awaited debut in 2020 with the song about the villain "Black Mamba."
Photo Courtesy of SM Entertainment

Who is aespa?

aespa is a four-member girl group debuting from SM Entertainment. They are a story-based group where they are fighting against the evil black mamba. The girls have virtual avatars that help them gain powers to defeat the evil villain defending KWANGYA. KWANGYA is SM Entertainment’s universe. In this universe, all of the bands/singers connect through plot lines. aespa is an essential group for the company. They directly impact the KWANGYA universe, defending it from the evil Black Mamba.

The black mamba is a snake girl who tries to possess the girls and wants to take over the SM Entertainment universe. aespa has help from naevis who helps them figure out how to fight the mamba for good. I think their concept of using virtual avatars is interesting and compelling.

aespa made their long-awaited debut in 2020 with the song about the villain, “Black Mamba.” It is an electronic song with fierce choreography and is a strong introduction to the group’s plot. According to Genius, “This track presents enchanting bass and synths, accompanied by a spell-like chorus. The title makes reference to the world-threatening villain in the group’s universe known as Black Mamba, who blocks the connection between the members and their virtual ‘æ’ avatars. The character is named after the powerful black mamba snake—the longest venomous snake in Africa and the fastest in the world.”

In the music video for “Black Mamba,” Karina, the leader, becomes possessed. We see a black cloud cover her and the mamba controlling her brain. I think the music video is a perfect introduction to aespa lore and shows off the intense concept they go for.

The Recent Success of aespa

aespa has seen a lot of success three years after debuting, as well as after a successful first world tour. They performed at iconic arenas like Barclays Center in Brooklyn and The O2 in London. The group toured all of Asia, North America, South America and Europe.

The group has also broken many records in the K-pop industry, including dethroning BLACKPINK with the most albums bought last year. Over 1.6 million copies were sold worldwide in one record-breaking week, and this was just for an EP.

Courtesy of SM Entertainment

Through 88rising, the group got to also perform at Coachella 2022 just two years after their debut. BLACKPINK was the only K-pop group at the time to play Coachella, which was massive for aespa to do in just two years.

In 2024, the group’s pre-release single, “Supernova,” reached a perfect all-kill in Korea, which means they topped every single Korean chart. They have also won over three music show awards from the song.

Pre-release “Supernova” Review

Courtesy of SM Entertainment

After four successful years of aespa globally, SM Entertainment finally gave them their first full-length album. The pre-release single “Supernova” has been out for a while and is easily a top song by the group.

“Supernova” is an electronic record switching between perfect vocals from the vocalists and clever rap flows from the rappers. It tells the story of aespa being otherworldly as they have superpowers and being on top of the world. The song includes a sample of Afrika Bambaataa’s 1982 classic Planet Rock.

This was an amazing introduction into the new era because it was a perfect blend of hip-hop and dance music. aespa does not miss when it comes to their pre-releases or title tracks and this was a top three of their best work. The music video shows them in society creating havoc with their superpowers and having fun.

“Armageddon” Title Track Review

“Armageddon” serves as the name of the project and the name of the title track. It is a mixture of hard-hitting hip-hop meeting a hypnotic feel. The addictive pre-chorus drops into this slow, hypnotic part that is addictive and really completes the song. “Armageddon” is about killing this dark feeling that creeps around the girls, referring to the black mamba again. They want to fight anything that stands in their way, causing this armageddon to happen. I appreciate how aespa always includes a gorgeously sung bridge by the two main vocalists.

The music video has insane visuals and truly is an entertaining video. It seems like some of the members were possessed by the black mamba as their eyes look distorted in some frames. “Armageddon” was shot beautifully and showcased the snake choreography in the chorus perfectly.

Album Review

The album Armageddon is not one note and covers many concepts besides the title track. There are some dark songs such as “Mine” which fits similarly to “Armageddon” but there are also some chill bright songs as well. The project shows off aespa’s ability to fit any concept or genre given to them as they have amazing vocalists and impressive rappers. There definitely is a good mix between rapping and singing which is hard to do effortlessly. aespa prove with this album that they can deliver a full project with no skips or fill-in songs. Personally, I wish the album was longer than ten songs, but each song was handled with delicate care and attention to detail.

SM Entertainment has made an iconic fourth-generation girl group that has had instant success since its debut. After multiple mini-albums and EPs, we finally got an album. The best song on the project to me is “BAHAMA.” It has a bright concept and shows off what aespa does best: flow effortlessly between rapping and singing. The track is perfect for summer and has catchy verses with a chill chorus. I think aespa can not fit into one box of music because they can truly do it all. Bright concept songs in K-pop tend to sound similar to one another, but the production and pacing of the song are unique. Every song on Armageddon is catchy and definitely was worth the wait. Check it out below!

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