The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Welcome to Aespa’s World, in Brooklyn

The world-famous K-Pop girl group returned to New York City and sold out Barclays Center
Aespa playfully greeted the 20,000-person audience for their eighth sold-out show at Barclays center.

Aespa, the history-making South Korean K-pop girl group, showcased their global popularity after completing their eighth sold-out show on Sept. 5 at Barclays Center, where they finished their final tour stop in the U.S. Throughout their career, Aespa has performed multiple times in New York at high-profile events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 2021, Good Morning America’s concert at Central Park in 2022 and the Governors Ball festival this past June. Their concert filled up all 20,000 seats at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, an indication of how much they are loved by their fans, who are known as their “most precious friends” (MYs) within the fandom. 

The girl group is made up of four members and has made a number of breakthroughs this year, such as being the first K-pop act invited to the Cannes Film Festival, the first K-pop act to perform at both the Governor’s Ball and Outside Lands in San Francisco, as well as breaking the record for most album sales by a female K-pop group. 

Signed to SM Entertainment, Aespa has an imagined virtual world where members have their own AI avatar counterparts who make occasional appearances in their music videos. The name of the group comes from two meanings: “Ae” stands for avatar experience while “spa” refers to “aspect,” an explanation behind their name and concept. Aespa has a unique lore with all of their songs following a continued storyline which brings meaning to the group’s music. Before the announcement of a new album, it is Aespa’s trademark to release a new cinematic episode to their storyline.

Aespa opened the show at Barclays Center with some of their most high-energy songs, including a remix of the titular song of their album “Girls – The 2nd Mini Album.” Winter, one of the members of the group, played a spectacular electric guitar performance to the EDM, rock-influenced beat. The opener was followed by “Aenergy,” an audience interactive song that hypes up the crowd. “Savage,” a fan-favorite title track, was the last song performed in the first segment of the show. 

One of the most anticipated series of performances was each member’s solo songs, which are exclusive to the concert as they have yet to be released on streaming platforms. Karina, another member of the group, was the first to perform her solo, “Menagerie.” The other members joined Karina back on stage to perform “Illusion,” “Thirsty,” and “Lucid Dream,” which were well-liked among the crowd. “Illusion” is one of my personal favorites from their discography, and I was beyond excited to see them perform it live. After the performances, Aespa introduced themselves to the audience, and Giselle, being the fluent English speaker of the group, explained the meaning behind their world tour name: SYNK HYPERLINE. Giselle explained that “Online Aespa and ae-members can meet, offline Aespa and MYs can meet, and in ‘Hyperline,’ that’s where all three of us can meet.” 

“The group… has an imagined virtual world where MYs have their own AI avatar characters who make occasional appearances in their music videos.”

Despite playing back-to-back shows and traveling from state to state over the past month, Aespa never lost their energy while performing. After Winter’s solo, “Lips,” a pretty and calming ballad, Aespa showed off their lovely and powerful vocals with an array of slow songs, one of them being “Life’s Too Short.” The song was released last year and is their first English single, which they performed at Coachella for the first time and on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in 2022. They also performed, “Welcome to MY World,” which is a song featuring Naevis, a key character in Aespa’s lore, who is also set to debut as SM Entertainment’s first AI artist. 

The third segment of the concert was one that many fans were anticipating: each of the performer’s solo numbers. Although I cannot choose between all four solo songs, Giselle’s solo, “2HOT4U,” may just be my favorite one by the Aespa members. They also performed the highly anticipated, “Hold On Tight,” an English track that was released on the soundtrack for Apple TV’s series “Tetris.” Aespa followed by performing two of their most recent hits “Spicy” and “Better Things.” 

The K-pop girl group closed the concert with their two all-time hits that even non-fans around the world could recognize: “Next Level” and “Black Mamba.” The audience sang along when “Next Level” came on, even though most of the lyrics are in Korean. During the encore, their fans’ love could be seen in their cute handmade signs and posters, and the sheer number of plushies that were thrown on stage and given to members of the girl group. 

Amidst their busy touring schedule, Aespa was able to explore the different states. On their personal social media, they shared photos of them enjoying American food and culture in their free time. Greeted by MYs gathered in the early morning to show their love and support, the group’s members concluded their North American leg of the tour after performing “Better Things” on Good Morning America the day following their Brooklyn show. 

One of the most influential up-and-coming girl groups in the K-pop scene, Aespa has made their presence known not just in South Korea, but around the world, evident through their sold out shows in North and South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

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SANSAN LIANG, Staff Writer

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