Brown Eyed Soul is a group known for their mixture of jazz, soul, R’n’B and pop, standing on the edge of K-pop with a collection of quality ballads, smooth vocals and a wide emotional range. The maknae of the group, Sung-hoon, debuted as a solo artist last year with a full-album, in which he diversified his sound and played in the studio a little more. This summer, he’s back with his partner from Immortal Song 2, San E, with a brand new MV entitled “Ma Boo:”

“Ma Boo” tries on different genres and matches them up in a well-rounded, laid-back melodic line. The brass instruments invite the jazz lovers to the dance floor. The groove addition takes us back a few decades in search for a glamorous, refined world. Soul and funk collide to top the fizzy fusion of sounds, with R’n’B polishing the rough edges. The track keeps an airy, sincere and ludic approach. It starts off sweet and classy, but before slipping into an elegant pretentiousness, some sassy beats kick in, leaving us with a slightly acid and stylish artwork.

Sung-hoon possesses a surprising versatility which allows him to change moods and genres like socks, managing this time around to deliver something I would have deemed as outside his comfort zone. The collaboration with San E was no mistake either, lifting the score in the charisma department. I never considered Sung-hoon’s melodies to be catchy. They are precious gems, but to me, they didn’t stick in my brain for long. He turned the page with this one and I attribute this by half to San E’s contribution; the chorus might not be original, but darn, it haunts you like no other. It features a nice hook and the bits in English not only do they make sense, but they’re also properly inserted into the lines.

Profiting from a fortunate musical arrangement, the lyrics emphasize the main strengths of the song. In “Ma Boo,” Sung-hoon is trying to make a confession to a beloved one, going from a man boosting in confidence to a naïve, clueless boy who doesn’t know what to begin with. But what I really, really like about the scenarios is how palpable they seem. No cliches, no over-dramatic talk; it’s so human you can feel the chemistry between the singer and his future/current girlfriend (her status changes throughout the song). Like the melody, it teases the listener with different intensities, from:

Suddenly, your face comes into my heart
I guess it’s trying to awaken my tightly shut heart
Please oh – the eyes that I felt, the body movements toward me

To:

Yup I’m so serious; I’ve never been like this
As if I’ve been pierced with cupid’s arrow – you’re beautiful, awesome

Some shifts emerge in the tone of the words, from serious to comical, from gracious to funny awkwardness, following the flow of the song. It resorts to playing on different emotions, barely touching one, then switching to another and the result is a pleasant, flippant and lighthearted lyrical composition.

Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that the video should be black and white. The two guys are having fun, moving to the beat of the song and playing tough with their ever-present sunglasses. A camera records them while they are singing and composing, all between the four walls of a studio. The simplicity, the bromance and why not, the guys’ sex-appeal were enough to conclude a decent video, but I can’t help my inner drama fan. I hate when singers are talking to or about someone, but that someone never shows up. You know, like SNSD’s “Boys” that had no boys in it. When I first listened to the video, I was already thinking about him talking to his girl during a midnight walk, with awkward face expressions and shaky hands. The way the guys describe the relationship makes it look so vivid that I expected from the video the same thing.

All-in-all, Sung-hoon and San E managed to bring a fun and passionate song centering on a clumsy declaration of love. The mature sound mixed old and new flavors into a sweet, entertaining melody. While the video could have been better with the simple insertion of a woman, both the words and the visuals get the message across, earning them a final rating of 4.8/5. So give it a listen and tell me what you think of it! What’s your final score for the duo?

(Loen Entertainment, Olpost, Pressian)