Longtime K-pop fans likely cried tears of joy upon hearing the news that Wonder Girls would be staging a comeback after nearly three years on hiatus — essentially a lifetime in South Korea’s fast-paced industry. But instead of their classic five-member lineup the record-breaking girl group would instead return as a quartet, promoting the brand with Yenny, Yubin, Lim and Sunmi.
Throughout their initial six-year run, the group released two full-length albums and three EPs in Korea along with various releases in English, Japanese and Chinese. Despite the vacation, fans have stayed loyal to the group thanks to a strong discography along with material that defined an era of K-pop.
To celebrate the upcoming four-member comeback, Billboard focuses in on four more obscure cuts from the Wonder Girls’ career that didn’t get the single treatment, but still deserve a hefty amount of plays for the musical gems they are even when listened to today.
1. G.N.O. — Wonder Girls’ 2012 full-length Wonder World — aka one of the best, modern K-pop albums — kicks off with this stuttering party anthem. Minimal, tribal beats open the cut as Yubin, Lim and Sohee playfully rap about getting ready for the night before Yenny and Sun passionately belt about dancing with their girls on the chorus. What’s most remarkable about the track is the unanticipated range of emotions they go through on what’s supposed to be an ode to going out with your ladies (“G.N.O.” stands for “Girls Night Out,” by the way), moving from playful to sexy to poignant. Nevermind that it all gets further warped as the girls’ vocals get glitched and cut up on the hook for a brilliant sonic twist.
2. Girlfriend — One of the group’s final gems before their hiatus in 2013, “Girlfriend” was an understated R&B mid-tempo off their most-recently released EP Wonder Party. The charm about this dreamy track is how different members harmonize with each other through different parts of the choruses, displaying the full range of the Wonder Girls’ vocal color. Yenny and Sohee lead the first chorus with Sun’s voice adding extra support, but soon enough we get to hear Sun and Lim lead a chorus, before all five handle it together with different girls taking leads and ad-libs. While most K-pop girl groups let one or two members sing the choruses, “Girlfriend” proved how versatile the WG vocalists could be.
3. Nothin’ on You (B.o.B/Bruno Mars Cover) — If anyone doubted Wonder Girls’ chances to succeed in America, well, just check out this cover. The ladies took on Bruno Mars and B.o.B‘s Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit and put a feminine spin on it, changing up a few lyrics and adding girl-group ad-libs throughout. Look out for Yenny handling keys and vocals on this particular performed, performed at Billboard Studios in 2009.
4. Dear Boy — Of course, we had to end this difficultly short list with another wonderful Wonder World track. “Dear Boy” is probably least-pop track this K-pop group recorded with a dizzying mix of synths sprinkling over the shuffling beat as the girls try to get a boy to admit his feelings — for better or for worse. Yubin changes up her usual, low-timbre rap style for her lovely singing voice and Sohee emotes through with delicate vocal runs on the chorus.