MAMAMOO – 'REALITY IN BLACK'
3. Ten Nights
4. HIP *Title
7. Hello Mama
10. High Tension
11. I’m Your Fan
MAMAMOO has just released their 2nd full album, having concluded their 'Four Seasons' project, without stopping to savor their Queendom win. 'Reality in BLACK' has 11 tracks variously written by the members, and is doing quite well, topping iTunes charts in 18 countries. The title track got a lot of love as well, landing in the iTunes Top 5 in 9 countries. Have a listen to the album, and you'll see there's a reason for that.
"Destiny" starts slow, but it isn't long before it turns into a pretty good disco-style dance track. It's a nice way to start the album, and the vocals here are pretty seductive. Everyone's on point here. The time changes are absolutely epic. They did a great job knocking this one out. "Universe" has a tropical house beat, but that doesn't stop it from being refreshing. They don't skimp on the vocals, and the chorus is simply fire. It gives a little more life to the track, not to mention Moon Byul's raps. Nothing like them. The first ballad here is "Ten Nights." It's slow and tender like it's supposed to be. And they all sing on here -- each one of them. And Moon Byul brings the house down with her emotional performance. Should shut up the haters who say she can't sing.
"HIP" is mostly hip-hop and totally playful. So they've gone back to more playful tunes as title tracks, and the change is welcome. It's a tune directly calling out the haters, mocking the real-life criticism they've received. It's not only an awesome bop, it's also my jam. "4x4ever" is a heavier tune, with throaty vocals and a bad-ass style. It's an empowerment anthem, about loving yourself and doing your own thing. I also can't help but think that it's about MAMAMOO, themselves being a foursome. We go to lighter fare on "Better," one of those perfect pop tunes you've heard me mention. It's not too wild, not too drenched in autotune or electronic effects. They still cut loose on the chorus, though. But did you expect any less?
"Hello Mama" is a jazzy ballad. It's more tender than emotional, and those golden vocals are still king. It's pretty much a torch song, but these girls put their unique spin on it. We go back to playful with "ZzZz," and did you expect anything else from the title? It's still a good song, in that "Sleep in the Car" kind of way. That's what it reminded me of, and is a good time whatever it sounds like.
If I thought the last track was playful, I hadn't reckoned with the reggaeton "rEALITY." It's more than that, though. The girls' top-notch vocals shine through this one. I love how each of them pitch their voices differently, to evoke a different effect with each girl's part. "High Tension" is smooth R&B, and they do this so well. If I had any doubts about whether they still had it, this song laid those fears to rest. This is a serious bop. "I’m Your Fan" is another cheery tune, teasing, and fun. It has to do with being a fan of someone else, probably a guy, although you could spin it that they're our fans, that might be getting too meta. It's not a bad song, but I'm not crazy about the chorus.
Whatever the occasion, these girls always bring it, and that's what they've done here. However much I might like mini-albums more, they still ended this one on a pretty good note, and I didn't hear any filler in here. I like a nice, tight album, and they delivered. They're able to blend and cross genres so effortlessly you'd think they'd invented them. It's exciting to have a new release from these girls, especially a top-shelf one like this.
MAMAMOO's new MV is chock full of outfit changes and a parade of strange characters. And it's a helluva lot of fun.
They start out in hip-hop style outfits, loud and proud. But they don't stay dressed like that.
Look for Solar as a boxer and a rock star, Moon Byul as the CEO of an entertainment company, Whee In as an activist and a painter, and Hwa Sa as president, complete with a chyron criticizing her mode of dress at an airport (a callout to the one time she wore no bra while traveling and took heat for it), and more I'm sure I'm missing. You can even see a drag queen in here in a couple of shots.
It's like it's the month for drag queens or something. There was one that showed up at the first impeachment hearing in the U.S., and several in Brown Eyed Girls' latest MV. I'm probably just not used to seeing them pop up like that so often. Maybe someone should make it happen more often...
Regardless, you can't say this MV isn't a lot of fun. Visually compelling, it competes with some of their best as far as keeping you interested the whole time. They do explain why all these crazy characters popped up, but you'll have to watch it to the very end. And no, I won't spoil it for you.
MV SCORE: 9.0
ALBUM SCORE: 9.0