Sunday, July 12, 2015

[Album Review] BoA - Kiss My Lips


The Queen of K-Pop, BoA has made her long awaited comeback with two new songs and an album, "Kiss My Lips." All self-composed with one or two exceptions, and to any BoA fan, it's a treat of an album.

1. Kiss My Lips - BoA's strength as an artist is that she's great at taking simplistic songs and adding her own flavor to them that makes them really stand out. This is probably the most complex song she's produced because of all of the different layering, but it's a sophisticated type of layering. The song is very sensual and sexy in a way that you can show to your grandparents without having them cower in fear. My favorite part of the song is that little flute that pops in and out as well as the funky guitar licks that happen during the chorus, I feel they give the song that extra something. "Kiss My Lips" was good to me when I first heard it, but now it's one of my most played songs of 2015 so far.

2. Who Are You? (Feat. Gaeko) - This is basically the upbeat version of "Disturbance" as it seems like a continuation of the song musically and conceptually. The more I listen to it, the more I love it and Gaeko is one of my favorite rappers in Korean entertainment so seeing him collab with BoA is both kind of unexpected but a nice treat.

3. Smash - This is amazing throwback to extreme 70's throwback. It's a high energy song with lots of different sounds and instruments of that time make it quite the dance track. I find that although I love this song, I have to be in the mood to hear it. If I'm overly tired and it plays I will want to turn it off, not turn it up and dance.

4. Shattered - I can see why everyone names this their favorite song off of the album. It has that errie dark-techno vibe to it. The song builds up perfectly until it reaches the breach and even then, it never gives up on the impact it has.

5. Fox - This is a song I can't put a finger on, so I'm calling it jazz+funk. It has elements similar to "Smash" but it doesn't really sound like it at all. The chorus really shines here as it' super upbeat and the guitar licks really give it that extra something. Overall "Fox" is decent but it's not the most memorable on this album.

6. Double Jack (Feat. Eddie Kim) - I am familiar with Eddie Kim, as my best friend is a huge Eddie Kim fan. I find him decent to listen to if you're into to that guy-playing-an-acoustic-guitar indie rock/pop/ballad music. However if you're not into that kind of music or you're not into it on a BoA album, fear not, as this song is like half-acoustic and half-upbeat pop meets R&B. I've been playing the shit out of this song lately between train rides of work and I find the chorus really addictive and catchy. I love how BoA and Eddie's mix together as they have very soothing voices but the instrumental doesn't overpower either. The bridge is also nice and has dreamy feel, and although it's combing two genre's that have the potential to be very generic, "Double Jack" manages to be awesome and unique all on its own.

7. Home - Outside of F(x) and occasionally SHINee, SM rarely put out a decent R&B ballad on an album, but "Home" is an exception by many many miles. BoA sounds amazing, and although the music here is very simplistic by being stripped of layers, it still remains one of the highlights on this album. It's deep and mysterious (think a slow version of "Shattered") it doesn't need a booming chorus or tones of vocal runs to appear emotional and that's what makes this a very well done ballad.

8. Clockwork - If I were to pick a title track outside of "Kiss My Lips", "Clockwork" would be it. It has a 90's tango feel that is sexy and taunting, personally one of my favorites if not my favorite on this album. I could totally see BoA killing some tango choreo in a music video for this. The English is great and adds to the meaning of the song. I read somewhere that BoA wanted to save this song and use it as the main single for the repackaged version of this album but SM convinced her to keep it as an album-only tack. Damn. BoA must have a master song up her sleeve for this repackage (and I don't doubt it) for SM to tell her to keep something this stellar reserved only for the album.

9. Love and Hate - This is acoustic-guitar dominated track with BoA singing over it. It's not bad and it is nice to listen to, but it's like "Fox" in the sense that it's above average album filler but not strong enough to be totally memorable on its own, especially compared to some of the other songs on this album.

10. Green Light - Ahhhh, this is like the lemonade of this album. It is so refreshing to hear a song like this. It's combines the funk band elements again but uses them in a way that gives "Green Light" a grand orchestra vibe (similar to an anime opening/closing), and the chorus picks up nicely. "Green Light" is one of those songs that paints a picture in your head with the many trips it will take it on. I'm just waiting for someone in Korea to remake "The Great Gatsby" and have "Green Light" added on apart of it's OST.

11. Hello - This is a melancholy ballad that opens with a wisp of orchestra violins and leads the verses with a swift moving piano melody that gradually builds into an acoustic rock chorus but it refrains from being dull somehow. Maybe it's the tension builds up or what the build up actually builds up to or something because usually songs like this don't impress me, but something about "Hello" does. It's actually quite amazing the more I listen to it!

12. Blah - This is an upbeat pop song with hints of a ballad but it's not. It uses thumping drums and a slightly sad, slightly happy piano melody. The verses are good but the chorus here is the real gold. The electric guitar pops in and so do the (minor) trap beats. The message of the song and lyrics are also great as BoA speaks about not paying attention to what no-life-having netizens have to say about her. I think her and T-ara can relate deeply on a lot of stuff. Overall great finale to the album.

Final thoughts are WELCOME BACK BOA, I hate it when she disappears but she always makes up for it with releases like this. I'd say this was a pretty good 15th Anniversary.


TL;DR

Stand Out Tracks - My go-to songs

Kiss My Lips
Who Are You?
Shattered
Double Jack
Home
Clockwork
Hello

Solid Tracks - Above average filler songs

Smash
Fox
Green Light
Blah

Dull/Dud Tracks - Songs I don't mind but would still skip

Love and Hate

Pass Tracks - My ears thank me for not listening to these songs

-None-


3 comments:

  1. Kiss My Lips is a stellar album from BoA, I'd honestly say it rivals favourites such as f(x)'s Pink Tape and T-ara's Absolute First Album. KML is one of my favourite singles this year (though judging by the lukewarm reaction upon release not many feel the same way).

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    1. It's definitely an album I've been repeating a lot lately, BoA usually has good albums but she always manages to always improve herself. I'd say three or four of BoA's albums (including this one) are already on my favorite album's list. Fingers crossed there's going to be a repackage!

      I was honestly shocked at the reaction from KML! But the album has been doing decent on charts with one of the top selling albums of the year so it's not doing too shabby but I expected this to be an explosion or All Kill like "Hurricane Venus" or "Only One."

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    2. Yeah, considering how well Who Are You did (even knocking Loser off the top of charts for a bit), I expected Kiss My Lips to completely dominate the rest of May, but... it didn't. Pretty disappointing.

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