On June 19, Mamamoo celebrated their eighth anniversary. A day later, their company, RBW Entertainment, confirmed that the four-member group is preparing for a comeback and solo concert in the latter half of 2022.
2022 marks Mamamoo’s first debut anniversary since Wheein left RBW and joined Ravi’s company, THE L1VE, although she remains a part of the group. The news concerning the airy vocalist (which was released on August 31, 2021) had caused many to wonder what path Mamamoo’s future will take.
While certainty around this situation is still in limbo, the four members rang in the new year with their solo comebacks. Hwasa released her EP Guilty Pleasure in late November of 2021; Moonbyul dropped her seven-track album 6equence and her single album “C.I.T.T. (Cheese in the Trap)” a few months later; Wheein showed a broad palette of her musical colors in Whee (her first project under THE L1VE); and Solar had lighthearted fun in her mini album Face.
As Mamamoo, they are known for their powerful vocals, their sultry title tracks (i.e. “Hip”), and the colorful range of genres featured in their music. Then, let us ride this wild rollercoaster, the highs and lows of life, through the dynamic Mamamoo discography. With this adaptability also comes a revelation of the layers of their artistry, something that has been crafted over the past eight years.
“Destiny Part.2” closes Mamamoo’s 2021 WAW mini album with a soft piano version of the recognizable “Destiny” melody. The track is a continuation of “Destiny,” the opening track of their 2019 reality in Black album and the group’s song for the Queendom final in 2019. The original version was about a breakup, although its lyrics could also apply to Mamamoo’s own story: “It’s been a long time / We’ve been together through / Thick and thin and we don’t desert each other now.”
In the 2021’s part two, they draw on similar lyrics (some of the verses are almost fully in tact), but two years later, the four reflect on that painful time. Mamamoo draw on this story they created during a career milestone—winning Queendom—and pair it with their own group reflection. They acknowledge their own growth with that of the “Destiny Part.2” narrator through lyrics like “I’ve come a long way” and “We were destined to meet again in the end,” which flows into the repetition of “It was destiny.” The production, meanwhile, mirrors this feeling and softens the edges found in the original. Instead of the sharp “da dadadas,” Mamamoo extend their lush harmonies and let their voices take center stage.
A staccato hook, almost like a ball bouncing, forms the foundation of the funky “ZzZz,” which also appears on the group’s reality in Black album. The simple but intriguing production of the track leads into the fun and relatable lyrics about boredom. When Hwasa sings the first verse, listeners can clearly picture the endless scrolling on streaming sites and the lying around waiting for something to happen. The girls dive into the earworm chorus, repeating “Hey I’m goin’ crazy,” “I’m bored, and “Hey You wanna hang out” and moving between higher and lower notes with a light touch and ease that only Mamamoo can do. “ZzZz” captures the group’s accessible yet charismatic sense of humor, and the trilling lips effect with a laugh before the final chorus adds the cherry on top.
“Chuck” brings back the breakup narrative, but this song takes a different angle from that of “Destiny” and “Destiny Part.2.” In the track from Mamamoo’s 2020 Travel mini album, they have come to the realization that they need to leave their significant other. Devastation does not follow this awareness; their reaction is more akin to resignation (“I just noticed and saved my words / It’s frustrating, we just sigh”). What more can they do when the end truly is in sight? Instead of falling into despair, the four decide, “From today, I will live for myself.” As a contrast to the heavy sighing lyrics, “Chuck” features a steady bassline at its forefront and a high-pitched line that captures a different feel in the post-chorus. Mamamoo showcase a piece of their vocal prowess as they belt, “I love myself” to kick off the chorus, establishing the track as a powerful anthem.
Meanwhile, “Where R U” carries its simple refrain over an upbeat melody. Despite this seemingly casual lightness, there is a more somber story to be told. Mamamoo search—dream—for someone who will always put them first. The track from their 2019 White Wind mini album features lyrics such as “Someone to only look at me / Someone who would care for me more than anyone,” which have a touch of My Liberation Notes and Yeom Mi-jeong to them. “Where R U” is an elegant laidback dance of Mamamoo willing this unknown person into existence, dreaming of their connected destinies (“I hope you, whose name I don’t know, / feel the same as I do”), and their free flowing voices.
You cannot write about Mamamoo without highlighting a song that spotlights their vocal skill. “I Miss You 2021” may be about loss, but as the four members reach the heights of their range, it is a cathartic experience listening to the emotion they weave through their voices. The 2021 version upgrades their ballad from the 2016 album Melting, resulting in even more tears (if that is possible). Emotional ballads are where Mamamoo’s chemistry and vocal balance truly shine, which “I Miss You 2021” demonstrates. There are soaring peaks from Solar, carefully controlled runs and breezy vocals from Wheein, gritty notes from Hwasa, and grounding raps from Moonbyul.
The group weaves the best of their abilities, including their classic harmonization, into this story of loss. They sing about how missing someone often hits hardest at the smallest things like looking at an evening sunset, hearing a good song, or watching a good movie. Mamamoo pour their hurt into the experience of missing things like their loved one’s voice and their touch. “Days that I shared with you are / not here anymore,” they cry.
Over their eight-year career, Mamamoo have proven they have a song for every occasion from days of boredom and the complex range of emotions that follow breakups of all kinds. Here is to many more years of powerful Mamamoo vocals, classic Mamamoo harmonies and humor, and the stories they want to tell through their music.