Almost 2,5 years ago I wrote a post where I (among other things) compared Troublemaker to the Star Empire unit Nasty Nasty, a comparison which was frequently made in those days. But now, when Hyuna has switched out her resident man toy for two younger models and with that change also altered many other things about the boy-girl unit she inhabits (like, the name) a comparison is even more “necessary”. So, shall we?
The Songs and Lyrics
An upbeat and happy bop, about things being new and exciting. Hui does the majority of the singing, E’Dawn raps and Hyuna sings/raps/sing-raps.
A quite sensual song about being so into someone you’re willing to make a lot of “trouble” to get their attention. Hyunseung sings and Hyuna sings/raps.
Quite sultry track, about having to grab the opportunity with someone now, since there is no tomorrow. Hyunseung sings and Hyuna raps/sings/rap-sings.
The one thing that I find the most interesting when comparing these songs are the stark differences in the lyrics. The lyrics of the Troublemaker songs are all about telling stories about relationships, playing on the perceived tension between the people singing. “365 Fresh” does not do that. There is nothing in those lyrics hinting at any sort of relationship between the singers, and that makes the song, and the whole group, something very different from what Troublemaker has always been.
Also, Hui seems to fill the same position that Hyunseung used to, with E’Dawn taking the rap parts that in a Troublemaker song would have belonged to Hyuna, making her, vocally, a little bit side-lined, in my opinion.
Dark and sexy, with loads of rubbing and sultry stares. Ridiculous plot about sexy spies. Bases a lot of itself on the sex appeal of a 19-year old in tiny dresses.
A dysfunctional couple. Drinking, cheating, fighting, cuddling, having sex in cars. A ride or die mentality.
Troubled youth on an illegal road trip ending in a joint suicide. One gets beaten up by gangs, one is suicidal and burying his pain in drugs and one accidentally killed the man who tried to rape her, but together they will party hard until it all ends.
Clearly the video for “Troublemaker” has got nothing on the other two. It was made to be sexy fun, while the other two wanted to show something darker, something a little real. I definitely think the video for “365 Fresh” is the best; it’s beautifully shot and the story is quite heart-wrenching. And such a dark video combined with such an upbeat song makes the result seem even more awful somehow. I do really like the video for “Now” too, it is more in the vein of “365 Fresh” than it is similar to the “Troublemaker” video. The video for “Now” definitely is sexy fun.
The dance is based on them being really close, preferably touching at all times. The style of performance is very similar to the video, in that it’s all about that dark and sultry rubbing. It fits quite well with the lyrics, as sexy rubbing is basically what they’re alluding to.
The dance separates them more then the previous, and it matches quite well with the theme of a couple who are close yet aren’t. They come together, and then move apart. He touches her and she pushes him away. He touches her and then leaves her.
Definitely more connected to the lyrics and the sound of the song than anything we saw in the video. Fun dance moves. Some instances of touching between Hyuna and the boys (mostly E’Dawn), but primarily individual dancing.
Very different, not just in how much darker the Troublemaker stages are. Just like with the lyrics, Troublemaker’s dances and performances are about the relationship between the two of them, which I think is especially nicely portrayed in the “Now” dance. The dance and performance for “365 Fresh” is fun and engaging, but it doesn’t emphasize anything about the relations between the performers more than that they “go together”.
Hyuna is the star. She is the thread that runs through all these groups. I truly believe that both Troublemaker and Triple H were built around her. Hyuna is not a great singer or more than an okay rapper, but she is a performer. She lights up the stage and while you clearly can swap out the men and still have the result be good, I do not think it could ever be the same without Hyuna.
I think Hyunseung was a great partner to Hyuna. I do think he got a bit lost in the “Troublemaker” promotions and at times seemed like nothing more than a prop for Hyuna to rub herself on, but when “Now” came along he had blossomed immensely (and actually made himself my B2ST bias during those promotions). Hyunseung has the singing chops that Hyuna doesn’t and his dancing and performing has grown to be for sure equal to hers, if not better at times. I have never felt an enormous amount of heat between them, but I still think they make sweet sexy music together.
Hui musically feels like the replacement of Hyunseung. He’s also a very good singer, and their voices are, to me, quite similar, which is good, since I always thought Hyunseung’s voice meshed really well with Hyuna’s. He is a good performer but I do think he seemed a little third-wheeled. Not because there was great heat between Hyuna and E’Dawn, but nonetheless it felt like Hui was mostly just there because they needed a good singer to back them up.
I’m not sure if we needed a new rapper, especially since he kind of took over the rapping from Hyuna, but I do still enjoy the idea of having three of them, and he is a good performer who vibes well with the star of the show. He does seem slightly raw, but that is to be expected and with his character in the music video being what it is, a bit of rawness is appropriate.
I love Troublemaker, and I really enjoy Triple H too. Honestly I see great merits to both units, and I’m praying to all the kpop gods and the decision makers at Cube that we’ll be allowed to keep them both. Triple H is great, and can offer things that Troublemaker didn’t, but the sexy magic of Troublemaker is not retained in Triple H. What even is Hyunseung doing these days? Fetch him, put him in a nice suit and push him unto that stage. The world needs him (them) back, to make some trouble once again.