Apr 15, 2015

Slay A Little: Miss A Comeback Post

Miss A - Colors

Last time Miss A promoted as a group was in late 2013, which is almost one and a half years ago. Quite a long hiatus if you ask me. My blog wasn't even running at that point, so I never got a chance to review the amazing "Hush" when it came out, which is truly regretful. This time the quartet have switched up their concept a bit since when we last saw them, and they're back with a brighter and sweeter image just in time for spring.
The MV

I initially thought the preview for "Only You" sounded great, and although it was a different sound it still felt much like Miss A, especially considering they've done similar concepts in the past. One of my absolute favorite things about this group is that although their visual image can differ quite a lot as well as the theme of the songs, the core of the group always feels intact. There's never been a release by them where I felt like it wasn't enough Miss A or that they've switched identity completely, and I guess most of it is because of their sound. Despite JYP himself not writing all of their material anymore it all still sounds very much like a song from that particular label, and this similarity can be found in the label's other groups as well.

Miss A - ColorsI don't love the song, that I have to admit, in fact I think it's a bit too safe for a group like this, but the video is even more lukewarm. Miss A have had much better videos in the past, and I feel like much of their talent is underused in this one. While the song has grown on me quite a bit since I first heard it, the video unfortunately has not. It's a box-video in its fullest form, but it desperately tries to convince us that it isn't. The bird-perspective skyscraper shots in the beginning as well as similarly inspired street sets are there to set the mood of the video, but it's still painfully obvious that none of it is real.

I do like the set-up though, despite parts of the video being shot through the eyes of a peeping tom in a not so Miss A-like way. The girls are in their apartment getting ready for a night out, and engage in activities well known to many other females such as painting your nails, picking out the perfect outfit and styling your hair. The rest of the plot follows them as they make their way through the city and finally arrive at the big party they were getting ready for. Yes, the story isn't particularly groundbreaking or inspiring and I actually think that I wouldn't be a fan at all if it was another group.

Miss A - ColorsPart of what makes Miss A so likable is that they represent genuine girl power, and I mean that not in a "we're-so-tough-and-fierce" kind of way but in a confident, self-aware and humble way. Even when they're singing love songs like this one they never once act passive or helpless, but instead are true to themselves and their feelings. The video shares many of those traits too, as they are singing about a guy but the scenarios in the video aren't directly about him. They party and have fun, and at one point the peeping tom even gets called out by having the four members stare him down while executing choreography.

Other positives about the video include the color palette, which is gorgeous, and the styling of the members. Every scene is full of vibrant colors in the form of either the sets or the members' outfits. Like the title of the album, "Colors", it's pleasantly filled with pinks, blues and reds and is bursting with joy and happiness. As one of Miss A's more feminine efforts I've think they've approached it the correct way, because while it is sweet and romantic it's still mature and confident. That balance isn't the easiest one to find and there are plenty of other groups who can prove that, but Miss A have mastered the art of singing about love without being either overly sexual nor cute.

My final words on the MV would be that I definitely like it, but that's about how far I will stretch. It's fun, sassy and joyful and it's totally Miss A, but there's no denying that it is their most commercial release to date. I personally prefer their sexier, more powerful stuff such as "Hush" and "Good-bye Baby" but this certainly isn't a bad effort by any means.

MV Score: 3,8/5

The Album
Miss A - Colors

I think that Miss A has one of K-pop's most solid discographies as pretty much every album, both full and mini, have had good songs and a cohesive sound. Although their particular musical style isn't the one I'd consider my absolute favorite they have put out some amazing material over the years, and the fact that they're one of K-pop's most well-rounded groups is alone reason enough to like their music. They can all sing; Jia can rap pretty well and at least three out of four are amazing dancers. Now that's not a line-up you see every day.

Miss A - ColorsThe album titled "Colors" opens up with "One Step", a piano-driven jazzy tune with groovy finger snapping. This track is fairly slow and the rhythm is definitely jazz-inspired as it's very laid-back and chilled. I normally tend to drift away from these type of songs since they're usually not my preferred taste, but "One Step" is actually surprisingly easy to jam along to. All you want is to swing from side to side whilst snapping your fingers to the rhythm. It also helps that the members' vocals are perfectly adapted to the song's vibe and that the line distribution is flawlessly even.

Next up is the title track "Only You", and as I stated above I find it a bit too safe for this group, but it's still a serviceable track by all means. I actually find that the horn-based intro is by far the best part of the song, because at that part it still feels like it can build up to be a high-energy dance track, but then the actual beat kicks in and it's not so energetic. This song by far Miss A's most public-friendly song to date, and it has shown because the digital sales for this song are no joke. It makes me really happy of course, but personally I don't think the song is as interesting as it could have been.

Miss A - Colors
"Love Song" is the next track, and it's probably my favorite track on the album. I guess you could say this is the follow-up of one of their most popular tracks "Lips", but this one isn't quite as good. While "Lips" was much more of a club-banger this track doesn't quite go there. The structure of the song is much more interesting though, as the verses are stripped-down and sparse and as the song progresses the beat slowly builds up and comes together in the infectious hook. I don't particularly love the drop though, as it only consists of violins as background music, and it certainly feels like it should have been even more powerful. Still, it's a pretty awesome track.

Continuing on with the same vibe is "Melting", which for sure is the sexiest song on the album. Instrumentally it's quite simple, with only a steady beat and a sparse melodic line keeping it afloat, and that's where it falls flat for me. This song could have been so much better if there was more musical layers to add some dimension, because as it is right now it doesn't go anywhere. It's a shame because the premise is highly promising and the "na na na" hook is wonderfully placed, but at the end it's just not a memorable track.

Miss A - ColorsSuzy is the brain the behind the lyrics for "I Caught Ya", a song about discovering the person you thought you could call your own has been cheating on you. In fact, if you judge it by the lyrics it almost seems like he's been caught in the act. I absolutely love the energy and attitude in this song, and it also helps that they've added some electric guitars to give the track a bit more of a rocky feeling. As Miss A is a group that I do find represent girl power more than others this track sits just right with me.

The final track on the album is "Stuck", a romantic love song with a sweet melody. The musical style of the track is very similar to the opening number, but this one is slightly more dimensional as it features classical horn instruments making the song's structure more dynamic. I do think it rounds up the album pretty well, almost ending it on the same note it started on, but it's a bit too harmless for my taste. However, I do appreciate that the final song wasn't an over-dramatic cliche ballad like it tends to be on K-pop albums, but instead it finishes the album in a mature way.

As a whole "Colors" works magnificently well. The album is, like basically all of their other ones, incredibly cohesive and well put together, and although I might not love every single song there's no denying the quality of it. As a fan I'm also overjoyed by the reception of their comeback, mainly by the general Korean public, as their title track have done unexpectedly well and even scored them this year's very first "Perfect All-Kill" which isn't an easy thing to accomplish. I hope this marks a new turning point for them as their status in their home-country has been slowly declining since their debut days, and that they'll finally reach that number one spot I know they deserve.

Highlights: "One Step", "Love Song", "I Caught Ya"
Album Score: 3,9/5

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