Today’s feature is none other than the princess of K-pop, BoA. When she dances, she means serious business, and is arguably the most consistent performer out of SM Entertainment. She’s called a professional for a reason. Some may know BoA as a judge for the survival audition show K-pop Star alongside Park Jin-young and Yang Hyun-suk. However, BoA has been in the music business since 2000 with her debut album ID; Peace B. Along with being in the Korean scene, BoA quickly pioneered on to the Japanese market shortly after her debut. Not only has she been releasing music in Korea and Japan for many years, but she has also been quite successful — she’s won numerous awards which include daesangs (2002 SBS and Seoul Music Awards) which are the most prestigious kinds of awards for a singer to receive in Korea.
Because BoA has released so many albums and singles (14 Korean and Japanese full studio albums), chances are that she can’t promote everything, and there are so many songs that are overlooked. To keep things simple we’re going to take a look into her latest Korean album, Hurricane Venus.
BoA released Hurricane Venus on August 5, 2010. In the world of K-pop, the word “comeback” is thrown around a lot, but in BoA’s case the usage of this term was valid. It was 5 years since BoA released a Korean album, and the album marked her 10th anniversary, so the public was interested in what kind of material BoA would release. Hurricane Venus is quite different from her other albums because typically when I listen to a BoA album, I am generally interested in the fast tracks (because that is what BoA is most known for in Korea), but with this album I was more interested in the slower tracks. In fact, I think the fast paced songs were generally disappointing, but the slower paced songs really made this album.
The title track “Hurricane Venus” followed the SM title track formula at the time, which was to add some auto-tune while incorporating some pretty WTF-able words (e.g. “Ring Ding Dong” and “Nu ABO”). Regardless, I liked “Hurricane Venus” and the unnecessary English. The rest of her album does not follow the SM filler track formula. Instead, BoA made the whole album her own.
“Implode” is not for people that do not like to listen to long songs because “Implode” is a 6 and a half minute ballad — which can be overbearing if the song is not that great. Fortunately, “Implode” is a song worth listening to, and is arguably the best track in this album. The 6 minutes and 30 seconds really does not feel like 6 minutes and 30 seconds. The interesting thing is that this track only featured three things: a guitar, a piano, and BoA’s voice. It seems simplicity accompanies BoA’s voice well.
Some people do not like BoA’s voice, which is understandable because everyone has their own style, but what BoA has a that a lot of other singers in the K-pop world seem to lack is raw emotion. We’re graced with this raw emotion that BoA brings in this song. In this track, it feels like we’re right there with her in the studio, and it feels like a genuine song about being hurt versus some manufactured song. It does help to make a song that much better when your composer, lyricist, and featured vocalist is Kim Jong-hwan from Nell.
“Don’t Know What to Say” is a slow-paced song which only features a piano and BoA’s vocals, and is even more minimalistic then the previous track. The main ballad track that BoA promoted “Stand By” was actually her weakest ballad from the album, and I wished BoA went with this track instead because it is not only more appealing, but also not as long as “Implode.” Like “Implode,” we are once again graced with BoA’s raw emotion, but unlike “Implode,” BoA shows us a different tone. Instead of a vulnerable and broken side, we get a more hopeful and honest emotion that is pleasant to hear in a ballad. BoA’s voice compliments the piano perfectly.
BoA’s last track is a jazzy number that might seem odd to listen to at first, but after listening to the album, I would not have the last track be anything else but “Romance.” The lyrics convey the feeling of being in love: “I want to love you just the way you are.” I feel like it’s Christmas all over again with its holiday music vibe (i.e. “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas”), but along with having a Christmas feeling, “Romance” has the nostalgic romantic vibe going for it as well. It brings me back to… well, let’s save the lovey dovey stuff for later.
The album “Hurricane Venus” is a great album, and shows how much BoA has grown throughout the years. She’s no longer the kid singing No.1, and instead we have the mature singer that shows the newbies how K-pop is supposed to be done. She makes this album her own which sometimes can be hard to do if you don’t have as strong of a presence. If you have the time, listen to the tracks. You will not be disappointed.
I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to BoA’s music as much as I do, and perhaps we’ll cover more BoA for Side B because she has so many albums that we just cannot cover everything in one article. Let me know what you think about this album below! And stay tuned for more Side B; you’ll never know who might be next!