Album Review: Mamamoo – ‘Purple’

Release Date: June 22, 2017

Tracklist:

  1. Yes I Am (나로 말할 것 같으면)
  2. Finally
  3. Love & Hate (구차해) – Moonbyul Solo
  4. Aze Gag (아재개그)
  5. Da Ra Da (다라다) – Wheein, Jeff Bernat, B.O

Total Runtime: 00: 17: 20

Recommended for: Anyone who likes funky, jazzy sounds. Mamamoo fans would also enjoy this immensely. People who appreciate vocal based groups are in for a treat with this album.

Not recommended for: Anyone who does not like the pop-funky/jazz sound.

Since debuting three years ago, Mamamoo has been solidified as one of the most talented girl groups in K-Pop. They consistently deliver fantastic live performances and their discography is one of the strongest in the new generation. Their last title track, “Decalcomanie”, turned out to be another hit for the group after initially pulling a lackluster chart performance. Will their 2017 comeback live up to these high expectations?

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Track Review

  • Yes I Am (나로 말할 것 같으면)

Immediately, this song gives off a funky vibe. It starts off with the chorus, which is a very interesting choice compositionally. Nonetheless, it works. Wheein’s verse is nice, but it’s Hwasa’s rap that immediately grabs your attention. Now, we don’t always hear Hwasa rap in their title tracks but she really pulls it off here. It’s sassy and very different from Moonbyul’s tomboyish flavor. The verses, as a whole, pick up with the second verse – which is actually Hwasa’s. From then on, the song takes a more interesting turn with all the ad libs, Moonbyul’s rap, and a very enjoyable chorus. The song takes a mellow tone for the bridge, complimented with a plain white background. This does not take away from the general structure of the track, and Moonbyul’s rap alongside the trap influenced bridge make the song even more unique.

The music video is perfectly executed, gaining Mamamoo another plus! The color palette is well constructed and fits the summery theme. There are also many bits that showcase the girls’ quirky personas, which makes the music video very enjoyable to watch.

I absolutely had to look up the live performances and they did not disappoint – although Mamamoo live never do disappoint. The only complaint that I had was regarding the choreography. I know Mamamoo has never been marketed as a dance-centered group but they do have some strong dancers, especially Moonbyul and Wheein. Other than that, the visuals were better than ever!

  • Finally (마마무)

Mamamoo becomes the latest K-Pop group to hop onto the tropical house train with “Finally”. But this song isn’t all tropical and only parts of the instrumental are reminiscent of the genre. The beginning actually reminds me of the beginning in GOT7’s “Never Ever”, but this track takes a very different turn as it’s a dance track. The vocals on this track are impressive, which is a given since this is Mamamoo. But perhaps the best thing about “Finally” is the catchy chorus, which combines an earworm hook with a carefully constructed melody.

  • Love & Hate (구차해) – Moonbyul Solo

There are not many clips of Moonbyul singing out there, and so the prospect of her getting a song all to herself excites me in all kinds of ways. She is definitely not as skilled as the rest of the group, but she holds her own pretty well. Her vocal tone reminds me of f(x)’s Amber, although Amber’s tone is softer and more refined. The song itself is not all that exciting. It’s a very mellow track and suits Moonbyul’s rapping and vocal style. However, it jumps randomly from her singing parts to her non-vocalized parts, disrupting the overall structure. It is enjoyable but it does little to emphasize on Moonbyul’s strengths. Overall, it is the weakest track on the album.

  • Aze Gag (아재개그)

“Aze Gag” is the second promoted track from this album and rightfully so; it sounds as if it were a title track. It’s very funky and allows Mamamoo to dork out as much as they’d like while still keeping a mature air. The lyrics are also quite funny, as they seem to be poking fun at a middle aged man (it’s a bit hard to tell as the English translation may not be 100% accurate). Either way, the vocals really shine here. But Hwasa in particular stands out, as she both sings and raps, giving the most memorable performance out of all the girls. The back and forth between Solar and Wheein in the chorus is well done, as their vocal tones compliment each other very well. This is without a doubt the best b-side on this album, and could even compete with the title.

Click here to see the live performance.

  • Da Ra Da (다라다) – Wheein, Jeff Bernat, B.O

“Da Ra Da” is the slowest song on the album but it does not feel out of place at all. As a vocal performance, it is probably the strongest on the album. Wheein shows an impressive amount of control in this track, even without huge growls that sometimes color Mamamoo songs. The two male vocalist are also superb – although it is quite hard to differentiate between them as they use the same tone throughout. In fact, I had to do further research to ensure that they were indeed two different people. At any rate, this is a wonderful mellow track to listen to, and should encourage others to research further on Bernat and B.O.

Review overview
Summary This is a very strong album. The songs follow the same funky Mamamoo formula, but are unlike what we have seen from them before. 'Purple' should definitely be listed among the strongest girl group albums of the year.
4.5
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✿ OH!Press' resident Red Velvet stan ✿

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