Apr 25, 2015

Mamamoo and Esna Team Up For "Ahh Oop"

I doubted whether or not I should do this review since this is not a Mamamoo "comeback" per se, but it's so good that I decided I wanted to anyway. Mamamoo are actually making their official 2015 comeback after "Piano Man" later this spring, and this collaboration with fellow singer and label-mate Esna is only a tease for the fans.

It makes me slightly embarrassed to say that I had little to no knowledge of who Esna was before it was revealed that she would be featuring on Mamamoo's new single. Apparantely she's an America-originated singer-songwriter that is signed to the same label as Mamamoo, and that she has had hand in writing quite a few hit songs as well. 2014 mega-hit "Some", starring Soyou and Junggigo, was co-composed by her, which is pretty incredible if you ask me. Skills like hers should definitely be recognized, so in that way it's great that she got to team up with Mamamoo, who are becoming more and more well-known with each comeback.

"Ahh Oop" is definitely a song of its own, as it doesn't sound similar to anything else on the commercial market right now. Although Mamamoo's musical style has been quite different ever since their debut last year this track feels even more artistic and genuine than any of their others. I did however find the song's structure to be a bit confusing at first as it doesn't stick to the regular verse-bridge-chorus build, after a few listens it was stuck on my mind. Esna is once again the brain behind this masterpiece, and what makes it even more amazing is that she released her own version on her YouTube channel, appropriately titled "Ahh Shit". If you didn't like Esna before, you certainly will after listening to her telling it like it is. What a queen.

Moving on to the actual video however, which in itself is a release worth thanking the higher powers for. Mamamoo for me have always represented a different kind of girl group flare, and I enjoy that their concepts relies more on their talent and confidence as performers rather than sticking to an overused archetype. This song and video only further confirm my theory that Mamamoo are bad-ass ladies that take no crap from no one, and of course Esna as well. To understand the video better however, it is a good idea to have read the lyrics which are, unsurprisingly, fantastic.

ma esRespecting a woman's body is the main idea for the song, and they sing over and over again about how it's not cool to touch their bodies and how men should learn to behave themselves. There's a hint of annoyance and tiresomeness in the tone of the lyrics, as if they're getting both sick and frustrated of all these unwelcoming advances, and they even go as far as saying: "Ain't nobody got time for this". To put this in a wider perspective: in a market as saturated with idol groups as this one, and one where girl groups desperately resort to marketing primarily their bodies in order to gain attention, a song like this is needed. Here we have these gorgeous women singing about owning their own bodies and dismissing any kind of objectification put on them.

With such a serious issue you could have expected the video to be equally as serious, but instead they've used the message and included it in the video in the most clever way. This video is brilliant, to say the least. It's funny, smart and absolutely gorgeous to look at. Like all of Mamamoo's videos so far the production quality is top notch, but this has to be their best one yet. Symbolism takes the upper hand as the plot centers around "Salon die Mamamoo", where the girls act as barbers taking on a handsome, new costumer. Like the sound of the song the salon is just as retro, and the old-fashioned filters used in the barber scenes certainly gives it a unique vintage feel. Furthermore, the other sequences are shot as if they were part of an old paper or a retro fashion magazine, pushing further the idea that perhaps this kind of behavior on the man's part is getting both old and dated. It's not the 50's anymore, guys!

The male costumer, which is presumably the pursuer that they're singing about, is being taken care of throughout the video by the five ladies in the salon. He receives the full-on treatment: getting his hair washed and cut as well as a clean shave, but with a knife-sharp razor-blade. It's like the situation has been completely reversed, because now he's the one in an affected position, which is very much symbolized by the various sharp items throughout the video.

The climax of the story is Moon Byul's rap portion in which she's literally holding the blade against the skin on his face, and the intensity of the fast editing increase as her rapping gets more and more aggressive, and it ends with a small drop of blood falling onto the white shaving-foam. When Solar takes a picture of the client as he's done, it is put up on the framed picture on the wall behind by Esna, the one with portraits of different men and the text "Missing". It's all so clever and hilarious and it was really the perfect finish to such a perfect video. These ladies don't tolerate any of that sexist crap.

At the end of all this, I don't really have anything negative to say about this video. Like, at all. Every single member of the Mamamoo is captivating and alluring and I don't know who trained them but for being a rookie group their confidence and camera presence is off the charts. Hwasa especially is wonderful to watch with her funny facial expressions and endless amount of sass. It makes me truly happy that a group like this exists and although this typically isn't the kind of music I'd listen to I still follow them and their pursuits. They put out both great material and confide wholeheartedly in the concept they've been given. There also needs to be more credit given to Esna for composing this and contributing with her talents and non-nonsense attitude, and I sincerely hope that both of these acts will get even bigger and brighter in the future. At least I will root for them.

Song: 4/5
Video: 4,75/5

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