A highly-anticipated new girl group under YG Entertainment has sparked excitement among audiences. The company had enormous success with 2NE1 in the 2010s and more recently with BLACKPINK, who, among other artists, helped catapult YG and K-pop onto the world stage.

BABYMONSTER, which consists of seven members — Ruka, Pharita, Asa, Ahyeon, Rami, Rora and Chiquita — is YG Entertainment’s newest girl group. Their first EP, called BABYMONS7ER was released on April 1. Most of the tracks are in English, just like BLACKPINK’s last album, BORN PINK.

The South Korean group officially debuted in November 2023 with their single “BATTER UP,” and later released an English single, “Stuck In The Middle.” Due to health reasons, Ahyeon did not participate in their initial debut but was able to join the other members for their EP’s release.

If there is one thing YG artists are known for, it is their confident stage presence. In the opening track, “MONSTERS,” the group embraces its name and exerts powerful energy to kick off the album.

The intro draws inspiration from other groups. HYBE and Source Music’s girl group LE SSERAFIM always begins their albums with an introductory track that tells the record’s story. Like LE SSERAFIM’s intros, “MONSTERS” feels more like a teaser than a song.

The build-up in the song’s first few seconds resembled the trumpets at the beginning of BLACKPINK’s “Kill This Love.” It gets the listener hyped for what’s to come.

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Like the intro, the EP’s second track, “SHEESH,” mimics many of BLACKPINK’s singles — particularly “DDU-DU DDU-DU” and “How You Like That.”

BLACKPINK and its producers faced much criticism for the overuse of onomatopoeias in their songs and for having “empty choruses.” Though I liked the chorus of “SHEESH,” I would have hoped for more effort — or words — into it to save BABYMONSTER from the same backlash.

Despite the similarities to pre-existing music, I love this song. The group also works to assert themselves in the industry by letting everyone know they are the new “monsters” and on a roll.

The unexpected piano introduction and Rora’s “da-la-lun-dun” sounded stunning. The escalation of the bass before the chorus and Ahyeon and Ruka’s back-to-back rap, followed by Asa’s, actually had me going, “sheesh.”

The refrain in the music video was astonishing. The sudden change to flutes and whispering left me with chills. The video did the music justice, with rotating visuals between each member posed fabulously as if they were an 1800s portrait.

The song is definitely worth sharing with a friend.

“LIKE THAT,” produced by American singer Charlie Puth, is one of the more unique songs style-wise. It is another song that emphasizes the girls’ confident attitudes and their ability to sing different types of songs— especially Rami, whose voice fits this particular concept best.

The track is one of my favorites because it is reminiscent of 2000s girl groups like the Cheetah Girls. It is a breath of fresh air to have a calmer pop song with guitar instrumentals rather than a heavy-bass pop song like two of the EP’s singles.

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I hoped Ahyeon’s addition to the pre-released singles, “BATTER UP” and “Stuck In The Middle,” would not take away the charm her other members gave to the songs. Thankfully, the songs were just as good as before.

“Stuck In The Middle” is an emotional piano ballad about being stuck between wanting to move forward with someone and wanting to choose themselves. YG Entertainment is often praised for having outstanding rappers. But BABYMONSTER proved each member is a capable vocalist.

The EP’s last track is an upbeat remix of the originally-released ballad. The song is still good, but its addition feels unnecessary.

The remix removes the sadness and thus completely takes away its purpose. Instead of creating a remix — like how YG made a “DDU-DU DDU-DU” remix in BLACKPINK’S Kill This Love EP — the producers could have crafted another new song for the artists.

“BATTER UP” has an empty but catchy chorus. When the song came out, it received criticism for being too close to BLACKPINK member Lisa’s single “MONEY.” The main similarity fans noticed was the song’s structure — close background beats, a slow pre-chorus into an upbeat chorus and a dance-focused outro.

The song was still an impressive debut track that showed the group’s talent. Asa is even credited as a writer. With lines such as “let me show you who we are” and “got a lot to say / what a big mistake,” the song expands on the EP’s themes of establishing the group within the industry.

The second-to-last track, “DREAM,” is from before BABYMONSTER’s debut and is a beautiful tribute to the work the idols have put into getting to where they are.

I’m a sucker for ballads with raps, especially in a song like this where the singers’ sentimentality is palpable. The introspective song shows that despite exerting confidence throughout the EP, the group is still growing and has much to learn.