BROWN EYED GIRLS – 'RE_VIVE'
1. A Common Love Story
2. Abandoned *Title
3. Wonder Woman *Title
5. Goodbye with a Smile
6. Love Only
7. Love Like a Spring Rain, Farewell Like a Winter Rain
8. The Sky
10. The Letter
It's been four years since Brown Eyed Girls released 'Basic.' Now they're back in a big way, with a new album full of covers: 'Re_vive.' It's a bold move, considering the extent of their hiatus. And not everyone's happy with it, either, hoping for new music.
And when you listen to a remake album, you really have to consider a few things. Is the cover respectful to the spirit of the original? Is it slavish? Or did the artist leave their mark on the song? Does it sound dated or is it a modern take?
The great thing about this is that you might not have heard all these tracks yet, so you can pretend it's new. Maybe? Okay, maybe not. Regardless of what you think, each of the members of Brown Eyed Girls got a solo track on here.
The vocals on "A Common Love Story" are very seductive. It's a slow burn, and the chorus is a natural outgrowth of the main verses. It's a good song and sounds better than Yoon Sang did, IMHO. It dates back to 2000. The maudlin number "Abandoned" is close to its source material, just slowed down and minus the percussion. It's haunting and at times beautiful. The vocals are still top-notch, but the 1995 hit from Basis didn't grab me much. "Wonder Woman" is way more my speed. High tempo and epic crashes make this one of my favorites on the album. Definitely title track material. This tune definitely got an update from Joe Wonsun’s jazzy, bossa nova tune.
For a song with a name like "Sorrow," this one is certainly upbeat and cheerful. It still has Ga In's trademark edginess, but she certainly sounds happy here. I think g.o.d. would be impressed with what they did with this. Starting with some brassy blasts, this reinterpretation of Lee Eun Ha's "Goodbye with a Smile" is midway between jazz and funk. It's a slower song, but the horns and funky guitar riffs make this song a serious bop. "Love Only" is another jazzy number, but this time a ballad. They eschew the horns and guitar and instead play this with a drum and piano. Quite beautiful and easy on the ears. And frankly, no disrespect to Shim Soon Bong, it sounds better. This is Ga In's solo track, and she's fantastic here.
Next up is Narsha's update of "Love Like a Spring Rain, Farewell Like a Winter Rain," originally by Lim Hyun Jung. This is another slow one, more akin to soft pop. I like this one. It doesn't sound that different from the original, just more modern. Someday's "The Sky" is re-done in a soft, jazzy style. Can't quibble much with that. The original is progressive folk from 1986. It's not bad, but not that interesting overall. Done in a style that is much more pleasing to my ears, "Invitation" has a quick tempo and hip-hop sensibility. Finally! Miryo is the one who sang this, and the original artist, Uhm Jung Hwa, is featured on the track. My preferred style is much more like this, and it's the lone club banger on here. The raps here are particularly awesome.
JeA tackles "The Letter," originally by Kim Kwang Jin. It's a guitar-driven ballad, eventually joined by a sighing violin. It sounds similar, though I like this one a lot better. It's more haunting and effective than the piano-based original. The lyrics are no less heartfelt.
In some ways, these are definite modern re-interpretations. Miryo wrote raps for fully half the tracks on here. And most, if not all, of these songs were written at a time when K-pop did not include rapping at all. There's also an edginess injected into these tunes which the originals lacked -- it just wasn't the style back in the day. I like some of the more modern stabs, but I have to ask why? Why come back with an album full of remakes? They're proud of it, and they worked hard. Maybe it's a walk down memory lane for these girls. And I can tell they're good at what they did. But for my money, I wasn't that impressed with this one.
MV REVIEW -- ABANDONED
This is definitely a Halloween-themed MV. Never mind what the actual tune is about, this is some edgy stuff.
For the most part, we've got a guy wandering around, while witches sing to him. At least, that's what I can make out of it. And it has something to do with a Halloween story that's on posted on the walls.
Eventually, we find out as we continue to watch that the guy faked his own death to be with another woman, and the bride-to-be decided to exact her own vengeance.
Miryo is wonderful as a sinister devil-like figure, dressed in a suit while the rest of the girls are in lace, explaining things to him directly while the man weeps. I have a feeling he's in his own personal hell because of what he did.
Whatever else you can say about it, you can't deny that it's a chilling tale with some unsettling imagery. And that is what you want on a Halloween night.
MV REVIEW -- WONDER WOMAN
The girls are involved in a wedding celebration in the MV for "Wonder Woman."
Only, things are a bit topsy-turvy. The girls are dressed in tuxes and are the grooms. Their brides are drag queens.
Normally, a wedding is a time for celebration. And a drag show is fun to watch sometimes -- witness the popularity of 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' now in its eleventh season and recently renewed for a 12th. However, there's an edginess here that changes things somewhat.
I don't know exactly why I feel that way, it's just something that lurks in the shadows, something vaguely wrong about the whole thing. It may have to do with the vocals combined with the visuals, or something more subtle that the MV makers had in mind. Maybe it was the Wanted poster with blood pooling on it or the ax-murderer drag queen. Who knows? ;)
Still, definitely an interesting watch, and quite appropriate for Halloween.
MV SCORE: 9.0
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0