[This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.]
4. All That Jazz
6. Cut Me Off
7. Got Me Good
8. Honey & Diamonds
9. Start Over
11. Little Bird
After 20 years in the industry, BoA has morphed into a mature and sultry version of herself. Marking her 10th album, she has released Better, an 11-song release, jam-packed with music to satiate any BoA fan. "Better" is her aptly-entitled single from this release, which has an intriguing vocal arrangement that hooks the listener in well. The song definitely displays a new direction for BoA that's more artistically-driven and experimental. The song is a pleasure to listen to with its mid-tempo instrumental and captivating vocal performance.
As I mentioned before, BoA is changing up her sound quite a bit. "Temptations" evokes an Ariana Grande style and appeal and has a dynamic electronic instrumental that compliments the sultry vocal delivery. Suddenly, BoA throws it back with a nostalgic sounding downtempo ballad, "Cloud." "Cloud" has the sound that I'm used to hearing from BoA, but with a modern twist that doesn't make her sound too overtly dated. Her falsetto performance is actually phenomenal on this track.
"All That Jazz" really showcases that BoA is trying every genre and is attempting to dip her fingers into every type of sound to figure out what direction she should go next. This jazzy r&b song isn't my favorite, but I commend her for her innovative attempts here. "L.O.V.E" also parades a classic BoA sound that's reminiscent of her older discography. It seems like she has done a good job appealing to new audiences while keeping her long-time BoA fanbase fed with nostalgic throwbacks. "L.O.V.E" is one of my favorite releases on this album for its funky lilt.
"Cut Me Off" is a mid-tempo song with a slightly eerie bounce that reminds me a bit of Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy." The song has a mellow feel but an upbeat and catchy hook that serves as an effective earworm. Follow this track is a downtempo electronic song entitled "Got Me Good." I didn't care for this song, as I felt there was no focal point that really captured my attention. A bit too consistent all the way through for my taste.
BoA presents an R&B Pop sound on "Honey & Diamonds" that puts it towards the top of my list for songs I favor on this album. She gives a great vocal performance with a lot of range here, and "Honey & Diamonds" has a nice rhythm that definitely doesn't offend. Unfortunately, the next song, "Start Over," doesn't have a compelling intro and turns me off a bit after listening to "Honey & Diamonds." The song's progression is a bit scattered, and the chorus isn't as smooth and pleasant to listen to as some of the other releases on this album.
Better concludes on two songs: "Gravity" and "Little Bird." "Gravity" is the cardinal ballad of the album featuring a slow buildup and an insane falsetto performance that really solidifies BoA into K-Pop history. Her adlibs are the star of this song. "Little Bird" wraps up BoA's album with a nice bow. The song feels like a conclusion of sorts thanks to the dynamic inclusion of horns on the instrumental.
Don't count BoA out just yet! Her MV for "Better" showcases a mature and sexy vibe that's stylish and hip with the times. BoA has done a great job maintaining a modern feel to her new releases and "Better" is her best example of that. Dance choreography, styling, and set design are all a pleasure to consume in this MV. Despite not having a comeback for a while, BoA competes well even with the industry's current popular female soloists like Sunmi or Chungha. Overall, the MV is a good re-entry into the forefront of the industry with alluring aspects that could attract even a fourth-gen fan.
MV Score: 7.67
Album Score: 7.67