Tuesday, January 31, 2017

[Album Review] AOA - "Angel's Knock"

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AOA isn't a group known for their b-sides, however being someone who listens to quite a lot of albums I've noticed that they do have quite a few golden ones. I'd even go out to say AOA have more than a handful of good b-sides, and "Angels' Knock" serves that notion.



1.) Excuse Me




Arguably the best song of the year yet. It's catchy with a great retro dance theme. This song from start to finish is great from the addictive pronunciation of "excuse me" to the beat drop with Jimin's rapping. It's both classic AOA and a new spin if that makes any sense. 






2.) Bing Bing 



This is "Excuse Me"'s lesser but I don't think it's terrible. It took a few listens to have it grow it on me, and I can say, I enjoyed it. It has that mid-2000s big brass sound that had they elaborated a bit more on the song it could have been just as good as "Excuse Me."  The problem with "Bing Bing"'s problem is that it almost feels like demo, the verses sound a bit too bare in comparison to the chorus and even that could have been better. While I like "Bing Bing" I feel like there are other songs on the album that could have gotten the second title track slot.

3.) Three Out




"Three Out" has a great introduction and everything else is just, well, solid. My only problem with the song is that is sounds less like AOA and more like AOA interpreting "Twinke Twinkle" era Girl's Day. It's a bit too twee sounding with the lighthearted vibe and toyish chorus. I feel like AOA Cream or even I.O.I would have had a better chance with this song.






4.) Feeling



"Feeling" is where the b-sides really start to shine on the album, and this is probably my favorite song on the album. It has a dark 80s dance vibe with a slight disco vibe and one killer chorus with the incorporation of synths. The girls vocals sound great over the seductive mood set by the song. It reminds me a lot of something Nine Muses would do, which is closer much closer to AOA's style than "Three Out."

5.) Can't Sleep



With a name like "Can't Sleep" then you'd expect some boring slow-burning ballad but no, you actually get a modern upbeat pop number that's a borderline club banger that comes close to "Heart Attack" in terms of style. It makes usage of guitar in the verses, synths, and also some weird electronic harmonica that you'd think would end up ruining the song but doesn't.




6.) Lily Feat. SF9



I actually really love this lush slightly 60s inspired jazz-ish ballad. It has a bit more pace than the average ballad and is just really dream-like I can't hate it. It's a song that I would play a lot in the spring and summer seasons while downtown or something. The girls voices sound very clear over the track and they match the calm tone of the song. SF9 don't really add anything super spectacular to the track however I appreciate their contributions. Is the song a little cheesy? Yes, but it's the kind of cheese I like.

7.) Melting Love



Staying content with the retro theme, we return to an upbeat early-2000s number. Usage of a clap-track, horns, and piano reminds me of  Alicia Keys when she made songs like "Girlfriend" and "Fallin.'" I really love chorus here, it's just super catchy with "aiku aiku like you like you" bits. Choa and Yuna's voices really shines here, it honestly makes me want a duet between the two.




8.) Help Me (Korean Version)



Song is straight fire from start to finish. "Help Me" is an electro-pop number that's packs a heavy punch from the spaghetti western intro, to Jimin's quick rapping, to the trap snares, to the electric guitar breakdown, it's an all around fun spin that's high on energy and entertainment. Since AOA's Japanese songs were unavailable in the US for some time, I didn't hear the original Japanese version until fairly recently.

9.) Oh Boy (Korean Version)



Keeping the ectro vibe we follow up with the Korean version of  "Oh Boy" and it's fine. I liked "Oh Boy" when it first dropped due to it giving me Britney Spears "Womanizer" feels and by it just being super catchy in general. Jimin's rapping which was the only odd thing about it but she's a bit better in the Korean version. My only nitpick I have with the song, is the same I have with the Japanese version-it seems to just drag on for too long that eventually becomes white noise. Other than that, it's still just as catchy as the original so it's good with me.




10. With Elvis



Standard album ending ballad dedicated to the fanbase. I literally have no other words for this other than if you like typical K-pop ballads then you should like this.

Overall I think "Angel's Knock" was the right move for AOA; they had a rough beginning scrapping of the bits of shit from netizens before eventually gaining some traction on the charts, so that's good. It would be a shame to see AOA burn out at a time like this. I can pretty much recommend all but two songs, "Three Out" and "With Elvis." It's definitely worth a listen.


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