In a change-up from the sexy summer comebacks currently saturating, A Pink has returned with a more innocent release in line with their image. 2014 was a great year for A Pink, with “Mr. Chu” being successful and Pink Luv going on a chart-smashing run as their best-selling album to date. It’s little wonder that A Cube decided to follow up those victories with the release of their second full album, Pink Memory. Sadly, Pink Memory fails to live up to it’s predecessors.
Pink Memory starts off with title track “Remember”. Unfortunately, the first thing that sticks out about “Remember” is the one thing a title track should never invoke: I swear I’ve heard this before. “Remember” sounds like “Luv” was given a faster BPM and some pan flutes, down to the near identically main chord progressions. I keep expecting to hear “Luv” and when “Remember” starts up, disappointment sets in. It’s faster but more dull, lacking any energy in the production and all emotion in the lyrics. A Pink sounds good, with solid delivery on the technical front, but the unending déjà vu starts off unnerving and ends up grating.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akoSG0kRcXw]
“Perfume” is a welcome follow to “Remember”. It’s much more alive, fitting the summer season much better. The use of horns and rhythmic snapping as the main percussion jolts the mind into action after “Remember”. The traces of swing give a fun pep to “Perfume” that allows it to pop without drowning out the vocals of A Pink, which pull off some great harmonizations. At worst, “Perfume” is inoffensive; at best, poppy fun.
“Attracted To U” sadly slows Pink Memory down once again, and while it doesn’t sound like any one song, it sounds like every mellow mid-tempo song. Vaguely interesting guitar, some piano, delicate and soft vocals, and generic lyrics. There’s nothing here to make “Attracted To U” stick in the mind when it’s over. The only memorable thing about it is that for a song called “Attracted To U”, there is nothing about the guy in the lyrics. A Pink spends the song talking about how they’re attracted to him, but not why. Other than noting his nice smile, they don’t talk about him at all.
“Déjà Vu” continues on the slower, mid-tempo path set by “Attracted To U”, except it’s much more tedious. The squelching synths and odd twinkling are obviously trying to set up a more magical aura, fitting a song called “Déjà Vu”, but all they do is drag out the song. Its name is fitting, because I kept thinking it had started to repeat more than it had, and if not for Eunji‘s high note, I’d have no way of tracking if “Déjà Vu” was at the start or end. It may clock in at 3:30 in length, but it feels three times that long, and it bores you the whole time.
“Petal” commits the same sin as “Remember” in sounding like a previous A Pink song. Even more depressingly, it’s ripping off the previous song on the album. It’s got a bit more energy, some drums, and a sweeter overall sound, but “Petal” is astonishingly similar to “Déjà Vu”. It’s so soft that all vocals blend right into the background, lacks any musical creativity, and seems to last much longer than it should.
“What A Boy Wants” is, like “Perfume”, a shock of life and creativity after some very dull music. It also uses horns as the main instruments, but pulls more from Motown rather than swing, complete with some fun scatting. It’s also the first song on Pink Memory to actually utilize the vocal ranges of Eunji, Namjoo, and Bomi. “What A Boy Wants” hits the sweet spot of being soothing without putting the audience to sleep, a spot the rest of Pink Memory has thus far missed by a country mile.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiJxITa0gTQ]
What’s better than one fun song? Two fun songs! “I Do” is a treat, pulling on the Motown styling’s of “What A Boy Wants” and mixing them with ’90s bubblegum pop in a way that shockingly works. It’s the most energetic song on Pink Memory thus far, sounding both jubilant and slinky as A Pink declare their love. It’s not hesitant, they’re shouting it from the rooftops with an unshakable confidence that most girl groups don’t get to show. “I Do” is powerful in its certainty, empowering in its boldness, and it’s depressing that the rest of Pink Memory wasn’t more like this.
On an album full of dull songs lacking inspiration, “A Wonderful Love” takes the crown for being the dullest, most tepid of them all. The instrumentation is the standard OST hack job, nothing new or slightly unique about it. Even with “A Wonderful Love” being one of the few songs that puts the emphasis on A Pink’s vocals, the sheer boring of the production drains all the life and emotion from the vocal performances. It is a lifeless mass of lyrical clichés and bland music, whose only redeeming quality is in its inevitable future as a non-habit forming sleep aid.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzljAKtsOuw]
“Promise U” was clearly not actually meant to be on Pink Memory. It was originally released as a digital single for A Pink’s fourth anniversary in April, and follows the instrumentation of “Remember” on the track listing. It feels like A Cube needed a ninth song in order to actually call Pink Memory an album, and this was all they had on hand. That said, it does fit with the sound of the album, in that it is slow, lifeless, and fills me with ennui. The only upshot is finally hearing Eunji belt like we all know she could for the first time all album.
Pink Memory has one single flaw that dominates the album: it is audible Valium. Three out of nine songs are fun songs with actual life in them, but in my mind, they’re drowned out by the unending seascape of blandness that makes up the rest of Pink Memory.