BoA – Atlantis Princess

November 4, 2012 at 3:38 PM | Posted in BoA | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – Atlantis Princess

1. Time to Begin
2. Atlantis Sunyeo
3. Neomu
4. Milky way
5. Cheonsaui Sum Gyeol
6. Seonmul
7. Ireon Naege
8. Dannyeom
9. Saranghae Yo
10. Namgyeolsin Seulpeum
11. The Show Must Go On
12. Seoului Bit
13. The Lights of Seoul (English Version)

♦ ♦ ♦

Alantis Princess is the third Korean album by South-Korean singer BoA, released on May 3, 2003.

I like the vibrant violin melody opening Time to Begin, which is a very poppy song from the start. It has quite a nostalgic sound to it, the beat and guitars have that typical late 90s/early 00s feel, but still BoA manages to make it a bit modern as well by incorporating some electric guitar melodies in the music (something she doesn’t do very often). It’s a pleasant song to begin with, especially because of the quality of BoA’s vocals.

Atlantis Sunyeo, the title song, surprised me by having such a summery and lively sound to it. I think this is one of my favorite Korean songs from BoA, not that it has anything very special when compared to other K-pop songs but the mere fact that it makes me so happy is great. It’s uptempo, uplifting and so fresh, BoA’s vocals are both angelic and assertive which makes for a great combination in this song. Could this be one of her best title songs too?

Neomu serves as the first ballad on the album, and I noticed it sounds pretty much like the stuff she does nowadays whenever she makes a ballad. Picture this: soothing strings, a piano and emotional belting and adlibbing. That’s exactly what this song is, and probably some other songs later in her career too. But I actually don’t give a damn since this ballad is so calm and beautiful, I think this one probably set the standard for her later sound when it comes to ballads.

After a soft ballad, it’s time to turn things back up again with Milky way. I really like the fact that it’s another one of Boa’s uplifting songs with a lot of guitar melodies and beats, but the entire thing comes off as a bit generic when compared to tracks like Atlantis Sunyeo and such. I actually don’t know where I stand with this one. It’s really nice when you listen to it without actually paying attention, I guess.

Cheonsaui Sum Gyeol is the song that started the entire concept ‘Beat of Angel’ for BoA. For a song that should’ve left a major impression on BoA’s career, I must say it’s one of her more energetic, interesting and even more agressive songs in which she doesn’t sound like a lifeless drone. I must give my compliments to BoA for maintaining an almost perfect vocal performance all the way through the song, she really sounds like she had some good fun while recording this.

Seonmul. Well, what can I say. It’s another perfect example of the fact that some of BoA’s songs sound alike in either total ambience or arrangement, but still it manages to capture my attention in a good way. Sure, it’s not that I’m head over heels in love with this song, but if definitely has a lot of good points and ofcourse it does have a little bit of a sound of its own, don’t get me wrong. I think I didn’t really start to like this song until the last one and a half minute or so, which was great.

Wow, Ireon Naege, the next ballad on the album, started off so cute and beautiful. I really like the melody in the chorus, it gets quite heartbreaking and emotional when she sings ‘Where are you, where are you‘. The emotional ambience continues in the building of the arrangement, so the ballad begins small but ends up like a kind of power ballad. Speaking of power, BoA displays some powerful vocals in this song too. I love this one!

Dannyeom drops right in without any hestitation, and I an immediately hear it’s one of the edgier songs on the album. There’s a great balance between the drums, strings and guitars, they really seem to play with each other throughout the song. That typical nostalgic sound from earlier on this album returns a bit, but this time it’s a lot more playful and poppy. A bit short, bummer.

Finally a midtempo song that’s not too emotional and slow or powerful and agressive. Saranghae Yo is a pleasant track that mixes pop and R&B for a very uplifting feel. There’s a sense of magic and happiness to this, perhaps because of BoA’s light and husky vocals. It’s very nice to see that a good and happy song can be featured in the middle of the album and can still appeal to me.

Namgyeolsin Seulpeum is an interesting ballad with a particular sound I’m always on the lookout for: soft, sweet music with a little drumbeat to it. That little soft beat in the background is exactly what makes this ballad different from songs like Neomu and Ireon Naege, which had a more traditional feel. It’s just that this song just flows along, it doesn’t really have a highlight or anything but I guess it still sounds pretty cool.

The Show Must Go On is another song that just starts without an introduction, but it’s still possible to emerge yourself into the song without feeling quite out of pace with it. After the first portion of the song, which was not that special, the first verse caught more of my attention to be honest. The beat is very poppy and again nostalgic (in my opinion), but it’s not very generic. The transition between verses and the chorus is not that good, but after a while I kinda get used to it and the song doesn’t sound thát bland anymore.

One of the few songs I knew before I heard this album was Seoului Bit, I don’t know why but still. Anyway, BoA created another poppy and happy song with this one, perfect for this album and it actually stands out, wow. That sax part was an amazing addition, it gives the song something special (after all, it’s #12 on the album). This track really got me humming along to the melody and it just makes me so happy, I can’t help but loving it for its versatility.

Closing the album is the English version of Seoului Bit, The Lights of Seoul. Although BoA gave me a heard time with her English (it’s pretty hard to understand what she’s singing), her grammar is okay. I hate it whenever Asian artists fuck up the English grammar, but oh well, BoA did well. It’s the perfect song to create an English version for, it gives the original a better status if you ask me. Nice ‘bonus’ to the album.

It’s funny how I always find a pattern on BoA’s albums: she starts of with a couple amazing tracks that I instantly love from the second it starts playing, then she comes with some generic songs or songs that lack a certain appeal, and for the last part of the album she returns with a bang and puts in a bunch of good tracks. Atlantis Princess is no different, just look at my favorites list. How about creating an album that has some good tracks in the middle too, BoA?
Still, don’t get me wrong, this album is also an example of one that transcends my first expectations. Yes, it’s an older album. Yes, I’m more into recent music most of the time. But that doesn’t mean that stuff from before 2008 is crap. I actually like BoA’s earlier music!

Favorite songs: Time to Begin | Atlantis Sunyeo | Neomu | Ireon Naege | Dannyeom | Saranghae Yo | Seoului Bit | The Lights of Seoul

OVERALL RATING

4 stars

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1 Comment »

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  1. In her beginning days, it seemed like it was hard to get some good songs from her, but this album wasn’t too bad, ‘Atlantis Princess’ was a great song! I’m just into her later stuff more. Are vocals got even better, too!


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