Cover K-pop girl group Oh My Girl talks about their new album and 7th anniversary (Photo: WM Entertainment/Sony Music)

With the return of a new album—their first in three years—the K-pop mainstays discuss their new material and reflect on the evolution of their musical style

It’s been a busy year so far for Oh My Girl: the K-pop girl group celebrated its seventh anniversary on April 21 and also recently released a new album titled Real Love.

The band comprises Arin, Hyojung, Jiho, Seunghee, YooA, Mimi and Yubin. They debuted in 2015 and are best known for their catchy, upbeat bubblegum sounds. Never resting on their laurels, the members have also continuously evolved in their musical style, forging a strong presence in the K-pop scene and cementing a reputation as role models for rookie girl groups.

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Real Love, which is Oh My Girl’s second Korean-language studio album—the band had previously released material in Japanese, as well as a variety of singles, compilation albums and extended plays (EP)—marks a new chapter for the septet. While Oh My Girl’s earlier releases—such as its self-titled first EP in 2015 and 2020’s B-side viral hit Dolphin—offered youthful, energetic sounds, the band has demonstrated a more mature musical style in recent times. The new album, meanwhile, takes on a new route: its inspiration comes from the enchantment that comes from scents. 

Read on to find out how this influenced the new album—and how Oh My Girl’s seven-year journey has culminated in their new sounds.

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Tell us about the new album.

Jiho (JH): This is a full-length album with nine songs. The concepts also have a bit more mood and are filled with a deeper sense of emotions—so I feel like all this has helped us to show our new side. I feel that our fans and listeners will be able to meet a new story that shows a mature and stronger Oh My Girl, compared to our previous releases. 

Arin (AR): I think this album has a lot more colourful tracks compared to our previous albums. It also has tracks in styles that we’ve never shown before, particularly the song Sailing Heart. It’s a sentimental, authentic ballad track, and differs from our previous ballads. 

Mimi (MM): I’d say it is difficult to describe this album with just one genre. I think our music is constantly changing and evolving. We always have the desire to try out various music styles. As we move forward, step by step, we believe that our growth is transmitted [to our listeners] no matter what kind of music, or album comes out.

And we always stay true to our current concept, as we believe that the growth will be delivered no matter what kind of music or album is released and no matter how long it takes. I cannot say “we will return with a specific genre”, but I want to convey that every artist is working hard for their music.

Seunghee (SH): I think in this album, we are able to slightly show our chic side compared to what we had [shown] in the past. Beyond [songs with] a youthful and sweet style, we have a variety of songs on this album.

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What’s the story behind the album’s theme, “becoming enchanted by scent”?

SH: The moment you fall in love is remembered as a special moment where everything that you used to know becomes new and unfamiliar. For each person, that moment is remembered with a special scent, and when you smell that scent again, it brings back the enchanting memories. We prepared our new album Real Love with a “perfume” concept in hopes that many people can be enchanted by Oh My Girl’s scent. We hope our fragrance lingers in our fan's minds, just like perfume.

What’s the inspiration behind the title song Real Love?

Hyojung (HJ): When I first heard our title track Real Love, it was really comforting. At first, I thought that Real Love sounded new and unfamiliar, but eventually, the emotions carried in the song become your own. From the opening verse, I could picture the dreamy Oh My Girl. Then in the chorus, the bright and energetic Oh My Girl appears. It’s a song where we can really bring out our various charms.

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What kind of scent do you each feel enchanted by?

Yubin (YB): These days, I’m kind of obsessed with warm and soft floral scents that match the season. [They are] the type of scents that you want to smell over and over again because they go well with the fresh, clean and fragrant atmosphere of spring. 

AR: I really love the sweet and creamy scent of coconut because it gives a comfy and cosy feeling, which makes me feel good.

HJ: Since it’s spring, I feel like floral scents are nice. I switch up the perfumes or choose the fragrance that I want to wear depending on the season or the weather on the day. 

YooA (YA): I like fragrances that are comforting, so I like the smell of the forest or soap. Those scents are refreshing yet familiar.

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MM: I like the smell of winter. It’s the scent that you could smell in the air as the seasons transition—clean, crisp air with a hint of dry wood. It’s the scent that makes my heart flutter.

SH: The scent that lingers in the air right after a shower is my favourite. It’s when you wrap up your busy day with a warm shower and you’re left with this scent of this soft, clean feeling. The smell of my shampoo and body wash mixed in with the fresh “shower scent” is really refreshing.

JH: I normally love musk fragrances. They’re light and cosy, yet deep with an alluring smell—so I feel like they’re extremely attractive. I don’t wear perfumes often, but when I do wear them occasionally, I always choose musk-scented perfumes.

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What are your reflections on the journey you’ve been on?

MM: I’ve gained a lot of experience through all of our stages. I feel like I’ve grown and changed, because I understand how to fully enjoy all of our stages, music and performances—as we continue to communicate with our fans, and understand the music itself more. I also think that I’m also smoother when it comes to expressing myself through music and performances.

HJ: I think we have created Oh My Girl’s own unique style. We have tried various music styles for seven years, but I don’t think we deviated from what we were originally pursuing. I guess that is why many people tell me—“that is so Oh My Girl.”

For now, I feel very grateful that many people are looking forward to our music when we make a comeback. I believe this is because we have slowly built belief [in] our fans by showing them our own music on every album. Those moments have come together to shape the current Oh My Girl.

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