“Up until now, all our stories followed our fight with Black Mamba, but we never reached that final moment,” aespa’s Karina says of the title track to the four-piece’s second mini-album, ‘Girls’. “Within our worldview story, ‘Girls’ is about is fighting against Black Mamba and winning.”
As the girl group’s leader explains, since aespa debuted in late 2020, their music has often charted their battles with the villainous character of Black Mamba – a black snake who sometimes takes human form and threatens to come between the members of the K-pop four-piece and their “ae” avatar counterparts. It’s fitting that a track as powerful as ‘Girls’, though, should be the one to propel the stars forward in their fight and defeat their nemesis.
The ‘Girls’ mini-album might come out fighting in its opening track, but it weaves in and out of different emotions, as the group explains to NME as they guide us through its contents. The country twang of ‘Lingo’ forms an exclusive club between the members and their fans. “In the intro, we start off as if we’re talking to each other on the phone,” NingNing says. “Since that’s the vibe we started with, it feels like a girls’ talk – as if we’re sharing secrets with each other.”
Later, aespa offer comfort in different forms via two different versions of the same track. ‘Life’s Too Short’ appears in both Korean and English on the mini-album and, its performers note, the different languages present the chance to share their message in individual ways. “[It’s] a song that’s about doing what you want to do since life’s too short,’ Winter says of the meaning behind the track in general, before Karina sheds some light on the two versions.
“The lyrics for the Korean version aren’t a direct translation of the English version,” she explains. “I think the two give off slightly different vibes. The English version is cool and chill, whereas the Korean version is a bit more comforting. If the English version is along the lines of ‘Life’s too short so do what you want to do’, the Korean version is more ‘Life’s too short so don’t feel down’. There’s a slight difference in nuance.”
Watch aespa’s track-by-track guide to ‘Girls’ in full above, where they share behind-the-scenes stories from the recording sessions and share their favourite moments of the songs on the mini-album.