Mamamoo is back! Their latest release “You’re the Best” features the bright, jazzy sound and killer vocals the ladies are known for, with an equally fun throwback music video. While it’s not the most innovative of the group’s releases, these four ladies continue to put out music unlike any other in the current K-pop scene.
Mamamoo has been busy since their last round of promotions for the hugely successful release of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” last June – they’ve solidified their place in the industry with not only their success on the charts, but also their energetic and innovative performances on Immortal Song 2 and the year-end music festivals (especially their awesome “Uptown Funk” and “Um Oh Ah Yeh” mashup for SBS’s 2015 Gayo Daejun). The ladies collaborated with label mate Basick for one of his stages on Show Me The Money 4 and held their first fan meet tour. Mamamoo is now back with their first full-length album, Melting.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbhmTM1cRro]
From the very first note, “You’re the Best” boasts a big band feel and solid vocals as the ladies sing about the perfect man they have fallen for. Hwasa, Whee-in and Solar all take turns nailing the high notes and each deliver key moments throughout the song. On first listen, Moonbyul’s rap verses seemed a little out of step with the rest of the song, the second verse especially so, though it’s less grating after a few listens. As with their previous releases, the chorus is extremely catchy and will have you singing along to it in no time.
The MV shows our ladies on a vacation where they encounter their perfect man – the hotel’s all-in-one pool boy/ bell boy/ chef/ tour guide – and it is love at first sight. They hang around him at the hotel hoping to catch his eye, then go all out to spend time with him: Hwasa helps him wash a car; Moonbyul takes a scooter ride; Whee-in eats at his bar; Solar helps him at the pool; and they all go sightseeing together. Slowly though, the bloom fades as Hwasa is left washing the car alone or Whee-in overeats and gets sick. We see in the end that this was just an infatuation after all, as the ladies cheer in relief to see a new group of women arrive and the cycle begins again.
While the MV has a somewhat romantic, retro tone, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it’s a throwback to – mostly there’s a 70s vibe, with bell-bottoms, flower girl outfits and velvet furniture but sometimes it was reminiscent of the mid-90s, with a very Cher from Clueless feel. Ultimately, there isn’t much distinctive about this MV though, at least not compared to their previous outputs.
The lyrics are an ode to Mr. Perfect (for right now), and they tell the tale of the ladies’ deep infatuation – they sing about his pretty smile, his sense and manners, how his face and body demand attention. His impact on them has no end; his lullaby puts them to sleep at night and they wake up to his voice in the morning, and Solar sings that even one second without him makes them nervous. There’s even quick references to past loves “Mr. Ambiguous,” and “Piano Man,” a gimmick the group has done in previous releases.
The performances for “You’re the Best” are in line with stages from previous promotions – there’s not a lot of flashy or complicated moves in their performances, just tons of energy and solid live vocals. The group has clearly become much more confident since their early releases, and their stages include extra harmonies and ad-libs as the ladies have fun interacting with their fans. In particular the group has a cute moment where they all make silly faces for the fans to capture, showing us that the ladies aren’t afraid to have a little fun.
All in all, “You’re the Best” is a fun song, and marks a return to the jazzy, big band sound that the group is well known for – while “Um Oh Ah Yeh” had a much more sugary, pop feel to it, this latest release is more in line with Mamamoo’s early singles. And while I really enjoyed it, I am a little concerned that their title tracks might be getting a little formulaic.
Mamamoo clearly has the talent and personality to put out these jazzy numbers, but was yet another song about a love interest necessary? In a way, the pre-releases from this album showed a very different, welcomed side to the group’s musicality – especially “1cm Taller Than You,” which featured the ladies arguing about who is taller over a throwback 1TYM/”The Real Slim Shady” beat. Hwasa absolutely slays her rap verses and I didn’t miss the brassy band sound one bit. I understand that it’s not title track material, but it does show me that the group is capable of much more and I hope we see that variety soon.