BoA – My Name

June 9, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Posted in BoA | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – My Name

1. My Name
2. Spark
3. I Got U
4. Gido
5. Woenjunhan Nalgae
6. Dugeon Dugeun
7. I Kiss
8. Don’t Give A Damn (Sanggwanupseo)
9. Geureol Su Issgessji
10. Etude
11. Insa
12. Feel Me
13. Babogattjyo
14. We (Uri)

♦ ♦ ♦

My Name is the fourth Korean album by South Korean singer BoA, released on June 11, 2004.

My Name instantly puts BoA in a whole different perspective. I think this is one of the first times she actually incorporated some more R&B than pop elements in her music and it comes quite close to her contemporary style. It reminds me of American R&B music but with a lot more sass because of BoA’s amazing vocals. I loved the central position of the guitars and strings in this song, especially in contrast with the good beat in the background. For an opening song it could use a little bit more power, but I’m not unimpressed.

The power I needed is present in Spark a little bit more than in the title track. The music of said track flows seamlessly into this one because both songs have a similar sound when it comes to the instruments (guitars, strings, beats etc.), but the incorporation of a better beat machine does the trick already. I even find this song catchier and more memorable than the title track, BoA’s vocals are more powerful as well.

I Got U is a softer R&B song with the focus on the soft background beats. It’s quite minimalistic in fact, but somehow BoA’s strong vocals and the background vocals captured me more than I first expected. Most of the time, songs like this are very dull. This one, however, kept my attention because of the vocals most of all. And it’s not that long of a song either.

Gido, meaning ‘My Prayer’, is the first soothing ballad on the album and a very pretty one indeed. From the very beginning it captured me because it’s not as predictable as other ballads when it comes to the chords and patterns of the song. BoA’s own vocals are top notch as well, just right and not oversinging a single note this time (she tends to let go a little bit too much sometimes). Nothing wrong with this song, it’s not the best I’ve ever heard but nonetheless it’s beautiful.

The next song brings back the style that was present on BoA’s previous albums. Woenjunhan Nalgae also features some random guy that is uncredited, but anyway. It’s very uptempo and poppy, and in fact when it comes to the tempo you can also say it´s bouncier than the previous songs on the  album. It makes quite a positive impact after Gido and it definitely sounds like BoA had fun singing this song (not the lifeless drone she can be sometimes).

Relying a bit heavier on the beats, Dugeon Dugeun seems somewhat like Woenjunhan Nalgae but they differ in some ways, thank heaven. It has the same bouncy quality, but it has a bit more oomph because of the bigger bass. It’s one of those typical songs you need to listen to when you’re a bit more acquainted with BoA’s work, otherwise you just won’t dig this. Not to bring down the song, just being honest.

Wow, I Kiss kicks right in with some hot electric guitars that were missing for, like, forever on this album. This is one of those songs that crank up the volume because of its amazing attitude. That intro, by the way, is what’s the very best thing about this entire song if you ask me. The guitars are present in the background during the verses and the chorus, but some synths are there as well to make it sound a bit more like the other songs when it comes to the style. There’s definitely something there.

What kind of title is Don’t Give A Damn (Sanggwanupseo) and what kind of way to start a song is THAT. Well, anyway, it gets a little bit better when the song reaches the chorus. The beat makes much more sense after that, and it also gets a little bit more powerful once you make sense of everything that is going on here. Eventually, I don’t think this song is half bad after all.

Geureol Su Issgessji is the more lighthearted song after a couple of fierce tracks, so there goes one point to balancing the album. It’s not amazingly catchy ot anything, but it’s just so different from Don’t Give A Damn that it still stands out for me. Despite being a good song, there’s one weird thing going on: BoA is overpowered by the music instead of the other way around. SPEAK UP GIRL. Other than that, I like this haha.

At first, Etude starts off with this big orchestra, but that gets toned down a bit in the verses. It becomes more poppy with some beats and synths thrown in, and when the song reaches the chorus I think I’ve found my favorite track on the entire album. This song has such a magical and breezy sound that it makes me wanna sing and dance along to it. Recommended to everyone, this is the complete opposite from generic.

Back to the ballads with Insa, a soft pop track with mostly acoustic guitar riffs, strings and a piano. In short: good ol’ ballad stuff. BoA does the best she can with her vocals to not sing out until further in the song, and she did a great job doing so and therefore not overdoing the vocals. There are some great high notes here as well, I don’t know how she manages to burst them out but she just does. Never thought I was gonna get surprised twice in a row.

So there apparently are some new and refreshing songs on the album, and then we have tracks like Feel Me that take you back to the ‘ID; Peace B’ days. Not that I mind ofcourse, just saying that this doesn’t sound very original. Apart from that, this song still has lots of appeal and great attitude (mostly because of the vocals and how they emphasize every single focus of the beat in the background). Not the best, not the worst.

Stay In Love is the next ballad (which makes Feel Me come out even worse because it’s stuck between two gorgeous songs). It starts off very gently and soft with some strings, a keyboard and soft fingersnaps, but eventually it develops into the typical BoA power ballad with great vocals. Not to mention the magical ambience and how great that male background singer works his vocals around BoA’s. Now THAT’s what I’m talking about, BoA.

In the intro of We (Uri), I can’t seem to figure out if it’s an erhu or strange male vocals opening the song, but I hope it’s the first option because that’s quite a first in BoA’s music. Anyway, what follows is probably one of the most mysterious songs on the album (and one of the most Asian sounding songs in BoA’s discography), and I feel like I’m listening to an alan song or something like that. Great way to close the album with something so unexpected.

My Name breaks the pattern I used to find on BoA’s albums: great songs to start the album, some generic songs in the middle and then out with a bang. In this case, the album was so balanced that both the incredibly catchy and generic songs were scattered on the album. There were no particular ‘sections’ on the album, no clusters of either good or bad songs. That said, I think this album is better than her previous album Atlantis Princess. It doesn’t exceed the rating of that album, but it’s slightly better when it comes to the various styles on the album and the fact that you can hear that BoA is growing as an artist. She’s not quite there yet, but that last track blew me away so badly I can’t imagine her being far from stardom at this point. If she wasn’t already there yet.

Favorite tracks: My Name | Spark | Gido | Dugeon Dugeun | I Kiss | Don’t Give A Damn (Sanggwanupseo) | Etude | Insa | Stay In Love | We (Uri)

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

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