Fiestar & Sex in K-Pop

Like some groups before them, Fiestar took the chance to change up their style with their first comeback after a member left. And, like many other girl groups, they took the route of coming back with sexy concept. However, unlike all the others, Fiestar went a step further in approaching sexiness and went all the way to sex.

Their two newest songs, both of which utilize sexy concepts, have tackled sex and feel like two songs that are part of the same story. The first One More is explicit, the second You’re Pitiful is not, but the two seem to be part of one story and chronicle a new, exciting chapter for Fiestar. This is something few other modern K-pop groups are doing or have done. Addressing sex directly within a sexy concept is a perfect conceptual match, but Fiestar have taken steps to execute it in such a daring way that few others have attempted. Ga-In showed us a personal touch, Stellar perfected the metaphorical route, but Fiestar will drag us into nitty gritty sex.

The fundamental problem with sexy concepts in much K-pop music is the explicit lack of sex. While metaphors can always be interesting and a good way of discussing more taboo subjects in the mainstream, they can become easy to hide behind. And when everything is hidden behind metaphor, then it all becomes meaningless. So to counteract this, a more explicit take on the subject will provide the best and only insight into it. To do this Fiestar released a song about threesomes.

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Released in July of last year, One More is as brazen as K-pop comes. The video’s voyeuristic camera frames the girls’ body parts by themselves. Close ups of legs, chests, bums, and lips fill the frame leaving us nothing else to look at. It’s not actual sex, but the implication is very clear.

Keyhole and circle frames only confirm the nature of the video. Fiestar have seen that the public like sexy and are giving the public just that in the video while challenging them with explicitness in the lyrics. They do not get overly explicit with the sex in the video, but the voyeuristic nature of it tells a different story.

Where it gets really explicit, though, is the lyrics. They tell the story of a girl who is dissatisfied with her sex life with her boyfriend. She bemoans the same old “dark room with three lights” and is bored of being “alone from sunrise to nightfall.” And here’s where it gets good –in order to improve this, she demands that they add a third person to the bedroom. Yes, this is a K-pop song about threesomes. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that some idols know about sex let alone group sex, based on idol concepts, but Fiestar just let loose and erased all of those innocent misconceptions. U-Kiss did feature a threesome in their music video for Quit Playing but Korea accepts male driven views of sex a lot more easily than female.

We do what we do every day
I’m just going to let loose (one more)

In the song, Fiestar addresses the public, ‘’You want sex? Here’s sex with three people.’’ The public and the censors did not take to their proposition too well though. Even though One More was their most successful song on the charts since their debut Vista, the jump was not big enough to be considered a real success. Moreover, One More was banned from some stations for its references to threesomes. After the ban, Fiestar performed a neutered version of One More. So Fiestar’s attempt at selling sex with actual sex did not exactly work in a commercial sense. Luckily for them music allows the use of other media, in this case the music video, to prove your point.

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Fiestar’s fifth major single You’re Pitiful was released last week and saw them move into a more elegant but still sexy look and sound. It is also an altogether more straightforward song with lyrics about a heartbroken, and a video of the girls looking sad and elegant, even as masses of junk food surround them. If we take the song to be about the same girl as in One More then certain lyrics and images start to pop out as interesting.

The girl calls her lover pitiful and says ‘’You’ve become so small’’. Putting this in the context of sex, this creates a startling insult from her. Even though her ex left her, the woman can still fight back and do so in cruel ways.

I don’t want you no more, no more, no more

The new lyrical subtlety of Fiestar takes a slight stretch to get to, but their choreography has a telling sequence about how they feel. In You’re Pitiful’s chorus, their male backup dancers put suit jackets onto the girls as if to comfort them. I see this as the Korean public who constantly criticize the sexiness of K-pop these days, trying to physically cover them up to protect the coveted virginal traits of Korean women (I have been critical of the sexy concept but this is a different context). However, Fiestar is having none of that; the members almost immediately brush off the men while keeping on the jackets. The men sit down submissively and the girls sway their hips and stand above them on chairs triumphantly before the defeated men take back their jackets.

In making the most of their brazenness, Fiestar has found interesting ways of making a point. In these few movements the members call for female empowerment over the men who have their supposed best interests at heart. In one line, they even put these men back in their place.

With two songs, Fiestar has approached sex in pop music in a variety of ways. By dismissing metaphors and being brash with their lyrics, Fiestar has made quite an impact. Neither song may have been too successful, but people noticed what the group’s message was, bringing the issue into the public conversation. By contextualizing You’re Pitiful in the One More universe, we’re also able to view a lot of nuanced messages that we have missed. Even without commenting on the amazingly catchy music, Fiestar’s message sticks in the minds of the public, but the catchy tune definitely helps.

What do you think about Fiestar’s comeback and of their use of sex? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

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