1. The original, and now disbanded, Baby V.O.X (standing for Baby Voices of Xpression) was one of South Korea’s most popular girl groups, belonging to record company DR Music. Although it initially had much internal turmoil, Baby V.O.X eventually became a successful, cohesive group from 1999 to 2005, releasing many hit albums. However, after the dismal failure of their last album ‘Ride West’, it began to unravel again. By the end of that year, all of the members had left the company, with some going solo, and others moving into other entertainment areas.
The group was formed in 1997, just as other groups like S.E.S. were starting out. Their first single (“Haircut”) hit #47 on the Korean charts, and the success of the first album was dismal. This was attributed to the different, edgier style that Baby V.O.X had, considering that their rivals Fin.K.L and S.E.S. had adopted cute looks to great success. DR Music (their record company) then replaced three members (with 간미연 (Kan Miyoun), 이가이 (Lee Gai), and 심은진 (Shim Eunjin)) and had them train for the next year in order to succeed. Their second album, titled ‘Baby VOX II’, was a much bigger success, hitting #7 on the Korean pop charts. However, there was more internal turmoil when it was revealed that 이가이 (Lee Gai) was much older than the rest of the girls and had actually lied to the management company about her age. Considering that she was also viewed as not fitting in with the rest of the members, she was cut from the group and replaced by 윤은혜 (Yoon Eun Hye), who was significantly younger and appeared to have more mass appeal. Their third album, released in 1999, showed off the new Baby V.O.X, and it was their first major success, topping the Korean music charts and having three strong singles: “Get Up”, “Killer”, and “Missing You”.
Their third album’s success can be partially attributed to changing music tastes in Korea. Baby V.O.X, like many K-pop groups, has gone through several image makeovers through the years. However, although they focused on a cuter image for their second album (apparent in their music video and performances for the second album’s lead single “야야야” (Ya Ya Ya)), the group was always seen as the more mature and sexier Korean girl group. As older, sexier images were more widely received by the Korean public, Baby V.O.X’s success continued.
In 2002, Baby V.O.X released a greatest hits album as their “5.5”th, featuring two CDs of dance music and one of ballads, with a VCD of their music videos included. One of the new songs on the album, “우연” (Uyeon), was a great success, and Baby V.O.X managed to perform it on the network music shows for almost the whole summer. The single’s success was sustained by the Latin remix of the single, which fit in with popular tastes at the time. It was also during this time that the group found fame outside of Korea; they were successful in China and Thailand with this album and single.
In spring of 2003, Baby V.O.X released their 6th album, a feat achieved by very few Korean pop groups. They even released a photo album that was purported to have semi-nude images of the girls (with 윤은혜 (Yoon Eun Hye) unable to participate due to her being underage), causing some controversy, but it faded as the image content was found to be hyped up by the media. However, this was also when Baby V.O.X’s luck started to change. Although their singles “나 어떡해” (Na Eotteokhae) and “바램” (Baraem) were popular, album sales were lower than usual. In addition, performances appeared to be lackluster, especially with the latter single, as it was not promoted for a long time; this may be attributed to the fact that members have stated that they did not like this album’s concept.
Their seventh and last album ‘Ride West’, released in April 2004, featured songs in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, as well as appearances by well-known American hip hop artists, such as 2Pac and Jennifer Lopez, although 2Pac’s “appearance” is a freestyle rap that he recorded while in prison. This album was proclaimed to be what catapulted Baby V.O.X into the international spotlight, hence the English single. In fact, the music video for the album’s feature song, “Xcstasy”, was done in English, featuring expensive luxury vehicles and well-dressed, highly preened divas, apparently in emulation of the “Bling bling” style of hip-hop videos popular in the United States during the late 1990s and early 2000s. They performed in this style as well, with sexy dance moves and provocative clothing, seen as a bit extreme in conservative Korea. However, this release was accompanied by much controversy. There was first the issue as to whether their managing group, DR Music, could legally use 2Pac’s material in the recording, with 2Pac’s repesentatives claiming that DR did not have authorization. Eventually, the group stopped performing the single. A second single, “Play”, featuring Jennifer Lopez, was promoted for a short while, but sales were lower than previous albums.
The slow implosion of Baby V.O.X continued in 2005. As their contract was up by the end of 2004, fans wondered whether Baby V.O.X would stay together. 심은진 (Shim Eunjin) decided that she would not, because she did not agree with the group’s image and direction, and was the first to leave the group (in order to pursue a solo career). She was followed by 윤은혜 (Yoon Eun Hye), who initially renewed her contract but left it in order to pursue an acting career, which so far has been quite successful (as evidenced by her hit drama Goong). Baby V.O.X continued for a while as a threesome, doing some promotional activities outside of Korea, with their record company promising that Baby V.O.X would continue. However, as the months passed on, so did the members. 김이지 (Kim Eiji, also known as Kim E-Z) left sometime in early 2006 (to pursue acting), with 간미연 (Kan Miyoun) also leaving (and signing a solo deal on another label). 이희진 (Lee Heejin) was the only remaining Baby V.O.X member, and she also left DR Music to pursue a career in acting. However, DR Music eventually created a spinoff group called Baby V.O.X Re.V. This group made its debut in January, visiting various countries; the group’s first single is “Shee”.
2. The current Baby V.O.X (Baby VOX Re.v), which consists of members 안진경 (An Jin Kyoung), 양은지 (Yang Eun Ji), 황연경 (Hwang Yeon Kyoung), 민정 (Min Jeong), and 박소리 (Park So Ri). Two members were dropped from the original roster of Baby V.O.X Re.v, as well as the “Re.v” in order to form this new group. They made their comeback on MBC’s Music Core program on 2008/7/12, performing the first track from their 2nd album, “I Believe”.
Edited by ob4cl2 on 25 Oct 2014, 20:45
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