BoA – Lookbook

October 2, 2016 at 6:06 PM | Posted in BoA, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

lookbook.pngSINGLE REVIEW
BoA – Lookbook

1. Lookbook
2. Kiss My Lips
3. Meri Kuri (Happy 15th Anniversary Ver.)
4. Lookbook (inst)
5. Kiss My Lips (inst)

Lookbook is the 39th Japanese single by South Korean singer BoA, released on December 16, 2015. The title track was used as the ending theme for the NTV Kei program Tokui to Goto to Uruwashi no SHELLEY ga Konya Kurabete Mimashita. The single peaked at #8 on the charts and has sold 7,044 copies to date.

FINALLY after months of searching, I have found a version of this single to review. Now let’s hope it was worth it. The title Lookbook is a bit weird, but wow, this song is actually pretty fierce! It’s driven by dance beats and synths, and although it took me a minute to really get into it, it’s growing on me already. It has the vibe of her Korean releases, but then in Japanese. Great!

Speaking of Korean releases in Japanese, Kiss My Lips is just that. I liked the song on her latest Korean album of the same name, and it doesn’t disappoint this time either. It’s sultry, but still danceable, with perfect vocals on the high notes. Perfect to balance the edgy Lookbook.

Here I go, listening to a Christmas song in October… Now, Meri Kuri (Happy 15th Anniversary Ver.) is the updated version of the song she released 15 years ago, how time flies. She recorded it again and there’s a new arrangement accompanying it that doesn’t sound so early 00’s. BoA still manages to give me goosebumps as soon as she starts on that amazing chorus, and even though the arrangement is a little less impressive than the original, it clearly has a sound more suitable for Christmas. This battle between the old and new version is still not over, I don’t know which one I like better!

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

BoA – Girls On Top / MOTO

July 20, 2015 at 1:22 PM | Posted in BoA | 5 Comments

ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – Girls On Top / MOTO

1. MOTO
2. Do You Love Me? (Duli Hamkke)
3. Girls On Top
4. Oneul Geutael Bondamyeon (If You Were Here)
5. Love Can Make A Miracle
6. Addiction (Jipchak)
7. Freak In Me
8. Gongjung Jeongweon (Garden In The Air)
9. I Spy
10. Can’t Let Go
11. Heroine (Siseon)
12. Sum.. (Breathe Again)
13. Gaeulpyeonji
14. Girls On Top (Chinese ver.)

♦ ♦ ♦

Girls On Top is the fifth Korean album by South Korean singer BoA, released on June 24, 2005. On August 17, 2005 she released the repackage album MOTO.

Can you believe it, I overlooked this album. I’m sorry. Luckily I can tell I really like how energetic MOTO is, it was definitely a good decision to add this one and put it as the first track too. It’s filled with beats, synths and very solid and mature vocals, this kicks bottom.

I believe Do You Love Me? (Duli Hamkke) was also part of the repackage (and not of the original tracklist), am I right? It’s a more mellow R&B song and Bobo gets the chance to show off a more soulful side of her voice. It features a handclap beat and acoustic guitar riffs, and somewhere in the middle those sped up sections were a nice addition.

I always thought Girls On Top was the perfect track and I used to listen to it all the time around the time the album was released. BoA gives this song her all and at times she sounds much older than she actually was at the time, but I mean that in a positive way. From beginning to end, this synthy track stands out and it’s one of the gems on this album. (Yes, even the rap sections)

Oneul Geutael Bondamyeon (If You Were Here) is the first ballad on the album and I think it’s a very beautiful one! It’s soft in the verses, but it gets more powerful in the chorus. The background vocals work very well and BoA does some amazing adlibs, which add to the emotional character of the song. Beware if you cry easily!

I was surprised to find another ballad here, but Love Can Make A Miracle makes more use of orchestral influences while the previous track was more of a pop ballad. It’s another beautiful track that emphasizes how powerful BoA’s vocals are and how well she knows what to do with them, I love it.

Addiction (Jipchak) brings back the beats and this time in a rather bouncy way, also with some additions that sound kind of brassy (but I believe it comes froma  keyboard, it’s still nice though). It’s a very smooth track and not too ‘in your face’ after too quite emotional ballads, it’s actually quite interesting.

I didn’t really like the intro for Freak In Me, but the rest of the track isn’t very catchy either. I mean, it’s nice, it’s not a bad song, but it’s just decent and the flow is a little off for me.

Ah, I think I may like Gongjung Jeongweon (Garden In The Air) a lot! It’s so different form the rest of the tracks. It’s a bit more on the jazzy side with a catchy piano tune near the end and BoA’s vocals fit the feel of it very well, but then there’s also this unexpected electric guitar solo that I love. One of the better songs!

I feel I Spy is a bit generic and too much inspired by songs like MOTO and Girls On Top, but then less memorable. It is catchy, but after some of the other tracks it doesn’t feel that special. That middle section was a bit weird, but funny weird I guess? xD

For Can’t Let Go, BoA tried some mellow R&B ballad sound. I disagree with some fellow reviewers that her adlibbing is overdone. Ofcourse I respect everyone’s opinion, but the adlibbing is one thing that I actually like about BoA, not many people can do it right. I think she gave this all she had and it turned out amazingly well!

That guitar riff that plays throughout Heroine (Siseon) gives it something Latin and unique that I haven’t heard in any other track. I think that’s what saves this from being generic again, but BoA’s singing melodies in the chorus are very pleasant too. Not among the favorites, but definitely nice.

I got some ‘THE END Soshite and…’ vibes from the beginning of Sum.. (Breathe Again) because of the sound of rain and soft music opening the song. But then again this song was there first. It has quite a typical 2005 ballad sound if you ask me, but it’s a very beautiful track. BoA can always do nice ballads, right? It needs a little time, but eventually it’s breathtaking.

Now this is an interesting way to end the original album… Gaeulpyeonji features BoA singing acapella and some birds chirping in the background. She sings a lovely melody and I wished this would be longer than just 0:50, I was just getting into it!

Closing this version of the album, here we go one more time with Girls On Top (Chinese ver.). Is there anything this girl can’t do?! Korean, Japanese, English and now Chinese, wow. Ofcourse I love this track, probably in every language, and BoA’s Chinese sounds pretty good for a layman like me. Kickass!

The strange thing with this album is that there are some very good and catchy tracks, some amazing ballads and then a couple of generic songs. There are absolutely no bad songs here (can BoA even do a really bad song?), but sometimes the songs sound too much alike or they lack something that makes them really stand out. Those generic songs are what makes this a decent effort instead of another amazing one. I’m already surprised by the fact that this album was better than I expected (usually I don’t listen to older stuff), but there could’ve been more.

Favorite songs: MOTO | Do You Love Me? (Duli Hamkke) | Girls On Top | Oneul Geutael Bondamyeon (If You Were Here) | Love Can Make A Miracle | Gongjung Jeongweon (Garden In The Air) | Can’t Let Go | Sum.. (Breathe Again) | Girls On Top (Chinese ver.)

OVERALL RATING
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3½ stars

BoA – Kiss My Lips

May 15, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Posted in BoA | 6 Comments

ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – Kiss My Lips

1. Kiss My Lips
2. Who Are You (Feat. Gaeko)
3. Smash
4. Shattered
5. Fox
6. Double Jack (Feat. Eddy Kim)
7. Home
8. Clockwork
9. Love and Hate
10. Green Light
11. Hello
12. Blah

♦ ♦ ♦

Kiss My Lips is the eighth Korean album by South Korean singer BoA, released on May 12, 2015. The song ‘Who Are You’  was released one week in advance.

Kiss My Lips is the opening track, but also the title track and lead track. In other words, very important haha. It has a nice groovy beat with some guitar riffs in the background, but there’s also something very danceable about it. Amazing creation, and BoA’s vocals are clearer than ever, especially on those high notes. Good start of the album.

Ofcourse we all know Who Are You (Feat. Gaeko) now, at least most of us do. Now that I heard this song more often and got a little used to Gaeko’s performance I think everything forms an amazing whole with a great vibe. It sounds great right after Kiss My Lips since there’s the same kind of grooviness in the music, yet the piano melody in the background makes it stand out a little more. I really like this song!

With its pulsing beats and disco flavoured background that fits the theme of the previous two songs very well, Smash is a very enjoyable track. Even though it’s a little short at only two and a half minutes long, it’s a very catchy tune that tends to stick very well. Great vocals too.

Then it’s time for a different sound. I always love it when artists do that on their albums. Shattered takes its inspiration from electropop and 80s pop, something I haven’t heard BoA do many times before but she definitely slays everything. The synths, the ethereal echo effects, the perfect overall production, everything about this song is good if you ask me. A recommended one!

Fox is one of the few songs I haven’t heard a little preview of, but I instantly like its light and airy pop sound. I really like the guitar music throughout the song and the way they handled the overall music production. This is the type of song that tends to get predictable after a while, but it doesn’t happen here at all. This is catchy, cheerful and just very enjoyable.

Is it strange that somehow the vibe of Double Jack (Feat. Eddy Kim) reminds me a little of Bruno Mars’ ‘Treasure’? It’s like a toned down version of it with a more mellow R&B sound to it, with also a little funk and post-disco. BoA’s and Eddy’s vocals mix very well together and I find myself moving along to the track while typing this, it’s so good!

With Home, the album slows down to something more intimate. Everything in the music is all about a lone keyboard and a soft beat in the background, while the real focus is on BoA’s lovely vocals. She handles this type of song very well and even though it’s all very stripped down, it’s still very interesting to listen to.

In BoA’s entire discography, I don’t think I’ll find music as interesting and original as in Clockwork. Now this is ART with capital letters, people. The use of strings reminds me a little of tango music, very creative and it makes the song a little more mysterious (and definitely memorable). Everything about this song just feels and sounds so right, I think this is the track I’m most enthousiastic about up until now!

Love and Hate is a bit like Home, very intimate but even more emotional in the sound. Sung to just an acoustic guitar, this song is kept very minimal to put the focus on BoA’s beautiful and heartfelt vocals and she succeeds so well in keeping the composure of the entire song. Most of the time tracks like these are very tricky, but BoA manages. Good to find this here and not as the closing track as well (sometimes songs like this are put at the very end of an album, you know).

Bringing back the disco sound of some of the previous tracks, Green Light also means the return of the upbeat tracks. When I heard the sample of this song released by SM Town last week I almost instantly fell in love with the sound, and now that I hear the full song I think that feeling is justified. It’s not surprising in its overall production, but very satisfying nonetheless.

Hello is the next and last ballad on the album, but also very different from the other two. First of all it starts off very intimate but it develops into a more powerful concept further along. The arrangement is much grander with the piano, guitar, crashing cymbals and layered vocals, living up to all the expectations in the end. Loved BoA’s vocal techniques here.

Closing the album, there is Blah. Not a slow song, but not all over the place either. It has a very positive sound and I like her lyrics ‘I’m in the middle of a controversy / Who’s talking about me? / I don’t care‘, reminds me a little of Taylor Swift lyrics to be honest (that’s a compliment). Again a very memorable song, I like it very much.

I already thought this album was going to be good, but THIS good a quality just completely blows me away. If this isn’t the most perfect way to celebrate your 15th anniversary and your Korean comeback, BoA, I don’t know what is. There’s variation, great production value, nothing sounds rushed, BoA herself sounds more angelic and talented than ever… I think this is everyting I ever wanted as a BoA fan, this is definitely one of her biggest masterpieces and I’m not lying. Make sure you all get a hold of this album, guys!

Favorite tracks: Who Are You (Feat. Gaeko) | Shattered | Double Jack (Feat. Eddy Kim) | Clockwork | Hello

OVERALL RATING
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5 stars

BoA – Who Are You

May 6, 2015 at 12:24 PM | Posted in BoA | 2 Comments

SINGLE REVIEW
BoA – Who Are You

1. Who Are You (feat. Gaeko)

Who Are You is the 8th Korean digital single by South Korean singer BoA, released on May 6, 2015. The single was released a week before her new Korean album ‘Kiss My Lips’.

Who Are You (feat. Gaeko) opens with BoA singing in English to a lovely little piano melody before the song moves into a more uptempo vibe with a handclap beat. That piano melody can still be found somewhere in the background throughout the song so it forms a whole. BoA’s vocals are top notch again in this song, but I’m not used to any different from her. Gaeko is what I’m concerned about. I don’t know how the fans will handle his performance in this track. I think it’s okay, he adds a little spice to the (already amazing) track, although his singing parts were more in line with the overall vibe than his raps were. Maybe I need a little time to get used to how his style incorporates in the song, but I think the overall track is an amazing little taste of what is yet to come. See you next week for the album review!

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

BoA – FLY

January 24, 2015 at 10:29 PM | Posted in BoA | 2 Comments

SINGLE REVIEW
BoA – FLY

1. FLY
2. Airport de Machiawase
3. FLY (Instrumental)
4. Airport de Machiawase (Instrumental)

FLY is the thirty-eighth Japanese single by South-Korean singer BoA, released on December 3, 2014. The title track was used as the ending theme for TV Tokyo’s ‘Soiyou Mystery 9’.

Okay, so this single totally slipped my mind, I didn’t even know it existed until about two weeks ago. I’ve been struggling to find the time to review it ever since, but here we go!

FLY opens with a beautiful piano solo and I always love the way BoA incorporates piano music in her slower songs. This is not really a ballad, more like a midtempo with a little sass to it. At first I thought it would be emotional, but there’s a sense of positivity in the music. I wonder why she chose to release something new right after she releases an album filled with past A-sides, especially since this would fit quite well onto that album. Still, a good new A-side to close BoA’s 2014.

So one song is called  FLY and the other one is Airport de Machiawase, quite the ‘airy’ theme (pun intended) right? There’s more of a bounce to this B-side and although I think waiting at an airport (which is the translation of the title) is like the most boring thing a person could do, listening to this song while doing it would actually make it less tedious if you ask me. Is it strange that I like this song a little more than FLY?

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

BoA – WHO’S BACK?

November 29, 2014 at 8:48 PM | Posted in BoA | 5 Comments


ALBUM REVIEW

1. First Time
2. Shout It Out
3. Only One
4. FUN
5. Message
6. WOO WEEKEND
7. Milestone
8. I SEE ME
9. MASAYUME CHASING
10. The Shadow
11. close to me
12. Call my name
13. Baby you..
14. Tail of Hope

♦ ♦ ♦

WHO’S BACK? is the eighth Japanese album by South-Korean singer BoA, released on September 3, 2014. The album charted at #7 in Japan and has sold 17,000 copies.

Opening the album is the only new track (I know, right?), First Time. It has a nice bounce to it and I loved BoA’s vocals. I think it fits in well with most of the other songs on the album because of its uptempo feel. It also leads nice into the next track. For the only new song, it’s indeed a good one and the perfect promo track.

Shout It Out is just a catchy track that stays in your head all day long. I like the piano accents in the background while the rest of the arrangement is again upbeat. I remembered wishing this would appear on an album, that’s how good I thought it was when it was released as a single. One of BoA’s best dance inspired singles to date.

So this was actually the 3rd single in this era even though it was released in Japan after a major break.. Anyway, Only One is one of my favorite BoA songs mostly because it’s just so her. It’s midtempo pop/R&B with some synths in the background and a piano playing a lovely little melody (something that has been my alarm clock melody on my phone for months). This could have been a bland song, but BoA’s vocals are too magical and she really spiced it up.

FUN was the B-side for MASAYUME CHASING and it’s definitely not as good as said song, but also not as good as most of the other songs on the album. It’s a funky summer song that served as a nice addition to the single, but that’s where it should’ve stayed if you ask me. It’s not a bad song, but not quite album material.

Kumbaya! Message is such a huge step away from her usual sound with its acoustic guitar, handclaps and drums. Still, I really like it since it brings a lighter tone to this point of the album and her vocals are top notch. It’s all about positivity, a real feel-good song and short but effective.

I have to admit I haven’t had the chance to review WOO WEEKEND yet and that also means I haven’t heard this song in like forever so excuse the lack of recognition here. So this takes us back to 2010 (darn..) and that’s probably what’s wrong with this song. I mean, I love the whole 80s vibe with the synths and bass, it’s really good! It just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the songs on the album, don’t you think?

2011 then: Milestone, the single commemorating her 10th anniversary in Japan. A ballad at this point might seem iffy, but this ballad is probably one of the best she has ever done. Consisting of just a piano, chimes and strings, it has a magical vibe to it, and the choir adds even more to that. BoA’s light vocals give me goosebumps.. AAH ❤

I SEE ME was the B-side for Milestone and already an old song then, but oh well. It’s probably more ‘Hurricane Venus’ material due to the slightly jazzy groove to it, but it’s lovely anyway. It’s another ballad so no big culture shock after the last lovely song, but let’s face it: it doesn’t matter how good I SEE ME is, it will never be as good as Milestone.

Probably one of my favorite songs on the entire album, even though it has a strange kind of personal meaning to me now. MASAYUME CHASING is the catchiest and most lively song she has released in a long time, it’s very breezy and strong at the same time. I even loved that little rap part further along in the song. Repeat please.

I like the attitude in The Shadow, one of BoA’s self-covers and the B-side to Only One. It might come off a little mechanical at times, but it’s well produced and packs a punch. Not too aggressive, just good enough to notice it and enjoy it, but not the best song on the album.

Can I please have an English version of close to me.. This is such an emotional ballad and so well performed I can’t even. This is the first time of the album BoA genuinely touched me and brought a tear to my eyes. Acoustic guitars, piano and drums, with BoA just going for it. The formula for pure perfection, one of my absolute favorites *sobs*

Call my name was a bit lacking when it was released as the B-side for Message and now after 11 other songs it just can’t hold my attention all that long. It’s not bad or anything, it’s actually quite nice but tomorrow I will have forgotten all about it.

Baby you.. was the B-side for Tail of Hope, more about that one next, and what I like about this song is that it’s actually quite sweet and mellow. BoA knows how to release R&B midtempo songs, and although it might have lost some of its shine next to songs like MASAYUME CHASING and close to me on this album, I will stand by my original remarks.

Closing the album after what feels like a zillion songs, there is Tail of Hope, another favorite of mine that now feels like a sister song of MASAYUME (or actually vice versa but well..). BoA’s 2013 summer song is catchy, funky and sometimes even ethereal and it feels perfect to have it as the album closer. BoA gives ’em hell one more time with her amazing performance, standing o’ for this one.

WHO’S BACK? was already an interesting title for an album (not much inspiration to it if you ask me), but the content is also quite interesting to say the least. Come on, only one new song to promote the album and the rest is more like a best album of her latest Japanese A-sides and B-sides. Is that a bad thing? Not particularly no, most of the A-sides were bomb, especially her latest couple of singles slayed everything. Some of the B-sides that I wouldn’t really have liked to see here were there as well and that was a bit of a bummer. They weren’t bad songs, but not so special to be put on an album. Still, looking at the overall picture and the way this album sounds without looking at the details, it’s a very good album. Just give us something with more production value next time, girl. I’ll be gentle now. Very gentle. I know I’m nice.

Favorite tracks: Shout It Out | Only One | Message | Milestone | MASAYUME CHASING | close to me | Tail of Hope

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

BoA – MASAYUME CHASING

August 14, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Posted in BoA | 1 Comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BoA – MASAYUME CHASING

1. MASAYUME CHASING
2. FUN
3. MASAYUME CHASING (INST)
4. FUN (INST)

MASAYUME CHASING is the thirty-seventh Japanese single released by South Korean singer BoA on July 23, 2014. The title track was used as the opening theme for the anime ‘Fairy Tail’. The single debuted at #8 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 7,946 copies.

So I knew this song for a while before the single came out because of Fairy Tail, my boyfriend was completely obsessed over that anime for weeks and weeks so automatically I was in a Fairy Tail avalanche. But MASAYUME CHASING is actually quite a good song! It’s very uplifting and breezy and the chorus is just all over the place. There’s even a little rap section further along in the song. BoA threw in the best she had and it turned out great! I’m afraid this will be stuck in my head for a while.

FUN is the laid back summer song of the single and it’s not as great as the title track but it has its own charm. It’s like a little throwback to the time of ‘THE FACE’, in a good way. FUN lives up to its title and it’s quite infectuous. Serves as a good B-side and that’s just what it should be.

OVERALL RATING
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4½ stars

BoA – Shout It Out

April 27, 2014 at 2:17 PM | Posted in BoA | 1 Comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BoA – Shout It Out

1. Shout It Out
2. close to me
3. Shout It Out (INST)
4. close to me (INST)

Shout It Out is the thirty-sixth Japanese single released by South-Korean singer BoA on March 5, 2014. The single debuted at #9 on the Oricon Daily Charts and has sold 7,515 copies to date.

I can’t remember when BoA last released an exciting and upbeat single, but Shout It Out caught my attention from the very first moment the PV became available. I enjoyed it so much that I was very disappointed the release date got pushed back a month. BoA knows how to do dance influenced pop songs that are very danceable, it comes close to the style she displayed in some older songs that I liked very much. Loved the vocals as well, please put this on an album TBR this year.

close to me is the ballad song on the single, just like the title suggests if you ask me. The acoustic guitar opening the song with BoA’s voice softly singing along gave me instant goosebumps, it’s not your typical J-Pop ballad but more Americanized if you know what I mean. I think this is the best BoA ballad I have heard in a very long time, I’m so impressed by the overall sound. The English/Japanese alteration is very smooth, I think I’d like a full English version sometime!

OVERALL RATING
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5 stars

7,515
7,515

7,515
7,515

BoA – Message / Call my name

October 30, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Posted in BoA | 1 Comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BoA – Message / Call my name

1. Message
2. Call my name
3. Message (Inst)
4. Call my name (Inst)

Message / Call my name is the thirty-fifth Japanese single by South-Korean singer BoA, released on October 23, 2013. The single debuted at #8 on the Oricon charts and sold 5,800 copies in its first week.

BoA, it’s been so long! I love the sound of Message, a bit of a kumbaya-song compared to BoA’s usual sound. The arrangement consists of acoustic guitars, handclaps and mostly drum bass, something I love in music. The song is quite simple and short but yet very effective, bound to lift your spirit with the musical ambience and positive lyrics.

After a sweet song like Message, Call my name had to have a little more spice to balance it out. True, there’s more tempo in this one and there is the addition of some synths in the background, but the song still has a very light and breezy sound. It’s very interesting that soft piano notes and synth riffs sound so well together, I never expected that. BoA’s vocals are as good as always, something that never disappoints. I expected a little more from this song though. Message is the better song on this single after all.

OVERALL RATING
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3½ stars

BoA – Tail of Hope

June 25, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Posted in BoA | 1 Comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BoA – Tail of Hope

1. Tail of Hope
2. Baby you…
3. Tail of Hope (inst)
4. Baby you… (inst)

Tail of Hope is the thirty-fourth Japanese single by South Korean singer BoA, released on June 26, 2013.

I’ve been waiting for a new BoA song for soooo long, and now Tail of Hope is finally here! BoA kicks off the summer season with a very fitting uptempo summer song consisting of very catchy beats and synths, together with some nice bass riffs in the background. Some of the effects in the arrangement make the song a little more ethereal as well while the bridge covers dubstep-like music. BoA herself puts everything into her voice, giving an amazing performance without oversinging a single note. Perfect single to return to Japanese music with!

The B-side, Baby you…, is the mellow R&B song on the single to balance it off. It’s much better than most of the R&B songs BoA used to make in the past, a lot of them were either very generic or sounded much alike, but there’s something about this song that makes it sweeter and a bit more memorable. That’s just the thing with this song: where Tail of Hope was uptempo and pretty funky, this song is sweet and mellow. Another standing ‘o’ for the vocals, I could get used to BoA turning out singles like this!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

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