BoA – WOMAN

October 28, 2018 at 12:10 PM | Posted in BoA | 1 Comment

woman1ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – WOMAN

1. Woman
2. Like It!
3. Irreversible
4. Encounter
5. Little More
6. U&I
7. If
8. No Limit
9. Good Love
10. I want you back

♦ ♦ ♦

woman2WOMAN is the ninth Korean album by South Korean singer BoA, released on October 24, 2018.

Woman is a kick-ass track with lots and lots of attitude (I mean, that click-clack of stiletto heels at the beginning of the song – FIERCE). It has a very groovy feel to it, but it also sounds quite contemporary. I love how BoA references her album ‘Girls on Top’ as well. This track is quite short at only 2:50 minutes, but a catchy opener and lead track!

Like It! is filled with synths, handclaps and catchy chants in the chorus. That chanting makes the song memorable, the rest of it isn’t forgettable or anything but it’s not BoA’s best track in her discography. That having been said, I think this one can definitely grow on me and it might become one of my favorites yet (never say never).

Slowing things down with Irreversible. It’s not quite a ballad, more of a midtempo pop song and it’s so steady that I almost lost my concentration and wandered off. There’s a quality to the chorus that keeps it interesting nonetheless so it’s not bad at all, I just think this one needs a little more time to really stick.

Encounter wakes me up in the best way possible with its borderline Major Lazer approach, very sexy and danceable. It’s so well produced that it might eventually be better than the title track (which up till now slays pretty much everything). Please hold while I play this on repeat.

Once Little More comes around, it once again proves BoA is a very versatile artist (and longtime followers now how much I love versatile albums). It’s a joyful and happy track filled with drum beats and horns, almost like BoA’s own K-pop take on Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration’. I love her high-pitched vocals in the chorus, no one can pull it off quite like BoA.

woman3From the first note, I instantly recognized the hit that U&I is. If Encounter was well produced, this one is even better. It’s clear that the arrangement combines everything that’s good about Swedish and Dutch electronic music and this is obviously my favorite song so far.

BoA did not only write the lyrics for If, she was also involved in the arrangement along with Stainboys. It’s another slow but groovy track with a lot of emphasis on BoA’s vocals and the guitars. That’s probably what makes it stand out, otherwise it would’ve been a bit like Irreversible.

I love the sound of No Limit, very dancehall and it reminds me of Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’. The hook is very catchy and BoA displays killer vocals. This might be what some call mainstream, but if that’s what it is then hit me with some more mainstream stuff BoA.

Good Love channels 90s R&B, which was one of BoA’s biggest inspirations. It’s a feel-good track and it’s almost like BoA takes me back to the music scene circa 1997. I just feel very happy listening to this so she definitely earned some bonus points here.

I want you back throws in some groovy disco vibes a la the Jacksons. It’s well placed behind Good Love to ensure that little throwback section to close the album. It offers pretty much everything a BoA fan could ever want; amazing vocals, old school music and an infinite amount of sass.

Though I might not be able to graps the idea of why there’s such a hype around this album, I do recognize the value of it for BoA’s career. It’s like her third comeback this year and the woman still manages to improve and be original with every release. BoA did not only dab into 2018’s most popular musical styles, she also stayed true to her inspiration and the music that influenced her from the very beginning. I’m giving this album a high rating because I just know that some of the songs I wasn’t that enthusiastic about will definitely grow on me soon enough.

Favorite songsWoman | Encounter | Little More | U&I | No Limit | Good Love

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

woman4

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BoA – Unchained

July 27, 2018 at 8:39 PM | Posted in BoA | Leave a comment

unchained1.pngMINI-ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – Unchained

1. close to me (Unchained Ver.)
2. Make Me Complete (Unchained Ver.)
3. Only One (Unchained Ver.)
4. FLY (Unchained Ver.)
5. Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana (Unchained Ver.)

♦ ♦ ♦

Unchained is a special Japanese mini-album by South-Korean singer BoA, released on March 14, 2018. It features new versions of earlier released songs.

Okay, I already can’t handle this because the album starts with my favorite BoA song EVER: close to me. It’s so beautiful and the emotional approach in the song is even taken further in this new and amazing piano arrangement. I don’t care if the vocals aren’t newly recorded, I’m just sitting her completely taken in by this song. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Make Me Complete was on her latest Japanese studio album and was memorable for being the only song completely in English. This version is so different from the original for its groovy/jazzy band vibe and it actually works very well. It’s more laid back than the original version as well.

The original version of Only One was an R&B-inspired song and I liked it very much for its light and breezy approach. The Unchained version is a fuller one that has the same groovy sound that this album’s version of Make Me Complete has, yet this version of Only One is probably most reminiscent of its original. I like the emphasis on the guitars.

This album also brings us the third version of FLY. After a midtempo pop track and a pop/rock inspired album version, we now get an acoustic guitar version that had some slight alterations in the chorus melodies. The bombastic quality that the other versions had (especially the album version) is less apparent here, but it’s still a beautiful song.

Nice to see a brand new song on this album too. Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana is the title song of her latest Japanese studio album and it gets the piano treatment for the Unchained album. It’s a beautiful arrangement and it might even be better than the original version, but I’m not really sure yet haha.

I’m not sure why BoA released this special mini-album, but I must say I don’t care about the reason since I LOVE it. These new takes on some of her newer songs, which are also among her most beautiful songs in her entire career, are amazing if you ask me. Only two minor flaws. First, it would’ve been even better if she recorded new vocals for these version instead of using the original vocal tracks. Second, opening the album with the incredible close to me might not have been the best idea since it left me crying and staring at my screen for quite a bit. It should’ve been the closer, the other songs can’t compete with it. STILL, I’m not complaining.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

unchained2

BoA – ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT

July 27, 2018 at 8:06 PM | Posted in BoA | Leave a comment

oneshot1MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT

1. ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT
2. EVERYBODY KNOWS
3. NEGA DOLA
4. YOUR SONG (Feat. Junoflo)
5. RECOLLECTION
6. ALWAYS, ALL WAYS (Feat. Chancellor)
7. CAMO

♦ ♦ ♦

oneshot2ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT is the first Korean mini-album by South-Korean singer BoA, released on February 20, 2018.

Wow, girl’s been busy. A week before this mini-album was released, her Japanese album ‘Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana’ came out, and in March ‘Unchained’ would follow!
The title track ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT is a very catchy one and instantly puts you in the mood. I like the darker and edgier approach in the verses, the chill ambience there is in amazing contrast to the bouncy chorus. BoA repeating the title words was already stuck in my head after one listen a few months ago.

After the more in-your-face title track, EVERYBODY KNOWS is a more relaxed song with some interesting melodies (the intro is already almost like a taunt). Those interesting and original elements is what makes this track so memorable and darn catchy, I really want to play this on repeat.

There’s a latin meets urban vibe to NEGA DOLA that I really like and BoA shows a whole different side of herself when it comes to her vocals. BoA’s raps also sound very sassy and fun, with this kind of confidence she just can’t go wrong.

oneshot3Wow, I’m impressed by YOUR SONG (Feat. Junoflo), it sounds so different from what BoA had done before and I love how she explored this hiphop/trap inspired genre. Junoflo opens and instantly lets us know what we’re up against. His parts are smooth and compliment BoA’s lighter voice. A big departure from her usual style, but sooo good.

After some tracks filled with attitude, RECOLLECTION is the breezier track and it also fits BoA’s general dancepop style more. Very reminiscent of the ‘Kiss My Lips’ era, this song just flows very well and balances the album. It could have been the ‘boring’ song, but it had enough flair to still be memorable.

ALWAYS, ALL WAYS (Feat. Chancellor) might not be the heavy track that YOUR SONG was, but it does feature some deep synths and bass beats that jump right at you. A slow song, but with a smooth and cool touch. BoA and Chancellor harmonize very well together. Nice one!

On to the last one already, and boy she does not disappoint. CAMO is the oldest song on this album (released a digital single in June 2017), and I recognized the catchy chorus immediately. It closes the album with a lot of power without becoming ‘too much’ and let’s face it, the album just couldn’t have done without this hit.

Is there anything this girl can’t do? She can put out three albums in the time span of just over a month and still each song sounds perfect with a lot of production value. This is the second of those three albums and the only Korean release, the first in three years. There is not a single bad song on this mini and its only flaw is that it left me wanting more. I can only hope BoA intends to show this more versatile side of herself on future releases as well, I’m still not over the attitude that she displayed here (in a good way).

Favorite songsONE SHOT, TWO SHOT | EVERYBODY KNOWS | NEGA DOLA | YOUR SONG (Feat. Junoflo) | CAMO

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

oneshot4

BoA – Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana

July 20, 2018 at 9:08 PM | Posted in BoA | Leave a comment

boawatashi1ALBUM REVIEW
BoA – Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana

1. Where am I now
2. Arigatou Sayonara
3. Crow
4. Jazzclub
5. FLY (album version)
6. Right Here, Right Everywhere
7. Manhattan Tango
8. Make Me Complete
9. Lookbook
10. Mannish Chocolat
11. Kiss My Lips
12. Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana

♦ ♦ ♦

boawatashi2Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana is the ninth Japanese album by South-Korean singer BoA, released on February 14, 2018. The album debuted at #13 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 6,090 copies.

The album opens with Where am I now in a surprisingly light and breezy way. BoA does that more often, just listen to ‘First Time’ on her previous album, but this one is much more lighthearted and laid back. BoA’s voice sounds best on this kind of songs and I’m glad this is the opening track.

With Arigatou Sayonara, BoA dives back into 90s R&B/pop and channels her inner Britney Spears circa Hit Me Baby One More Time. Overall, this track just flows very well and has me tapping along to it while listening, but there’s not much going on eventually. Just a nice song that isn’t too bad, probably benefits from it’s catchiness.

Crow quickens the tempo when it comes to the choruses, but then the verses have a more mellow sound. This makes for an interesting song to say the least and this being the first real uptempo track it’s also a very good one with BoA showing off her more confident side.

Apparently Jazzclub was released as the lead-in to the album. I was surprised about it’s contemporary jazz sound, not too much in your face like jazz can be (in my humble opinion). It’s sultry, playful and I really like how BoA’s vocals (and scatting!) mingle very well with the arrangement.

I’m surprised FLY (album version) is on this album since the single version was released back in December 2014. I remember I liked the original, which was a bright midtempo song that would’ve fit well on her album ‘WHO’S BACK?’. This new version has a more pop/rock sound to it and I like it even better now! It really drove the song to the next level.

Time for the first ballad on the album, a digital single released in July 2017. Right Here, Right Everywhere shows once again why BoA is probably the reigning queen of ballads since her voice sounds so beautiful against the piano/guitar arrangement in the background. There’s exactly the right build-up with percussion as the song moves along and her vocals are emotional but not overly dramatic. A good one for sure.

boawatashi3Manhattan Tango picks up the pace again and I was surprised by it from the very first second since it really oozes that tango vibe. It’s both playful and mysterious and is an original spin on what would otherwise have been just another dance track.

Back in our time machine, to January 2016. Make Me Complete was a digital single and it’s completely in English, which feels a bit off on this Japanese record but it’s nice to be able to understand something finally. I notice immediately how much better her English has become and I give in to another beautiful BoA ballad in all its magical splendor.

BoA’s fierce side is back on another A-side, Lookbook, a synth-driven dance song and with that probably the most aggressive song on the entire album. BoA may be the queen of ballads, but if there’s another genre she can pull off like no other it’s this one. I’m really happy to hear this song on the album.

Mannish Chocolat has the weirdest title of all the songs on the album, but it’s good to hear that it keeps the dance vibe that Lookbook had alive albeit in a less heavy way. The repeating of the title words in the chorus remains strange, but it also has a very catchy quality. I’m confused, but I think I’ll have to give in to the fact that, again, I like this one.

Oh look, Kiss My Lips is back again. This is the oldest song on the album since the original Korean version was released on the album with the same name back in May 2015. It’s a welcome addition with its groovy and sexy vibe, very different from other songs on this album but then again this album is already a hibrid of multiple genres so why not?!

Closing the album, we have the title song Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana. It’s the only new ballad on the album but it takes a bit after Right Here, Right Everywhere. All piano and strings and beautiful, emotional vocals by BoA, a typical but wonderful ballad and a nice way to close the album.

If I knew this album was going to be this good, I wouldn’t have waited this long with my return to MA. Albums like this is why I do what I do, I just had the most wonderful time listening to BoA’s newest Japanese studio album and I’m convinced that I’m going to play it many many more times. Not a single bad song there, and even though there were various musical styles brought together, the album is surprisingly cohesive. I can’t help but wonder though: has this album really sold only 6,090 copies or did my source overlook many sales? Let’s hope for the latter option or I will lose my faith in the world entirely, haha.

Favorite songsWhere am I now | Crow | Jazzclub | FLY (album version) | Right Here, Right Everywhere | Manhattan Tango | Lookbook \ Kiss My Lips

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

boawatashi4

 

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
starstarstarstarblankstar
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
starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
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
starstarstarstarstar
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
starstarstarstarblankstar
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

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