Jul 6, 2015
Girl Group Comebacks Of June: Mamamoo, Sistar & AOA
You know it's summer when all the girl groups come out to play. Not that I'm complaining though. My love for girls and groups composed of them reaches no limit, and in June alone there were three popular girl groups who made their comebacks: Mamamoo, Sistar and AOA. Since I nowadays work every weekday from 8 AM to 5 PM I've had little time to sit down and do a review on each and everyone of their comebacks, but I hope another one of these joint review posts isn't too disappointing. It saves me a lot of time and energy anyways!
Mamamoo was the first girl group to make their comeback on June 18, only a little over 2 months after their collaboration with Esna. This time however, they stand alone. This group debuted with quite some impact last year, as they stole hearts everywhere with their undeniable vocal and performance talent, and it seems as if they're only getting more and more popular too which makes me happy. Their newest single "Um Oh Ah Yeah" is actually their highest charted single to date, and I believe the future will have even more success in store for them. This song in particular isn't as retro and jazzy as we've used to hear from them, but it still isn't far away from their image. It's definitely more radio-friendly and commercial, but it doesn't necessarily make it any worse than their other title tracks.
The video too takes on a different approach than what we've seen neither them nor any other girl group do as elaborately before; drag. Three out of the four members dress up as men, and they take it quite to the next level with their costuming as well. Wheein and Hwasa are literally unrecognizable as their respective male characters, and I love that they didn't shy away to keep it "pretty" but are going all in for it instead. The concept is basically that Solar is the only girl surrounded by a bunch of guys (the other three members), and she takes a special interest in Moonbyul's character. I have to admit though, she makes a very pretty boy. While she tries to win his heart, the other two try to win hers with different methods. From the start it's obvious that this is a comedic video, and there are some funny situations as you can imagine, but there are also some upsetting ones.
The way both parties go about as they try to impress their interest is quite frankly horrible. Hwasa's greasy character knows no limits as he inappropriately touches Solar and refuses to leave her despite her attempts to push him away. It not only bounders on but actually is sexual harassment, and althoug Hwasa does an excellent job of completely getting into her character it's actually a bit difficult for me to watch without feeling uncomfortable.
Solar however is no better herself, as she also takes advantage of Moonbyul's flower boy character and tries to kiss him and touch him as he's temporarily unconscious. I almost want to rip my hair out because of how great this video could have turned out had they not included this kind of sexually harassing behavior, because it does take away from all the great parts. The main highlight obviously being that Moonbyul's character actually turns out to be female, throwing everyone off and turning the entire ending into one big, hilarious mess.
I love the comedy in it that actually works, the members' acting and involvement in their performances as these characters, and I love the fun, bright summery vibe that the video gives off. It's colorful, vibrant and full of energy and happiness. As with always with these girls, watching them perform makes you want to go up there and dance and sing with them because they're that captivating and that impressive. I love the styling and the dancing, and I love that they're trying out new, unexplored territories for girl groups. Why in God's name did their company decide to have the plot turn out the way it did? It makes me terribly frustrated and also kind of disappointed with this comeback because it could have and should have been much better.
I don't think I've actually ever written av review on Sistar since I started this blog, and I'm not quite sure why. There not one of my bias groups but not nearly all my reviews are so it's not really an excuse. I guess you could say that while I like them individually and I do like some of their songs they simply don't appeal that much to me as a group. For this year's comeback I was actually quite intrigued while looking at the initial teaser photos, but "Shake It" turned out had nothing to do with famous female villains as we all first believed.
I have absolutely no idea and obviously the video director had some serious decision anxiety. The overall premise I suppose is to let go, have fun and shake your booty to the music which is an awesome message, but I simply wish there was a clearer concept behind the video because I virtually understood 0% of what was happening. I don't know if they're just trying to promote the idea that dancing is the solution to every situation, but that's at least what I'm getting. There sure is a lot of booty action going on though so they've made that part quite clear at least.
Obviously there was more thought put into the visual outcome of the video, because it's truly a feast for the eyes. There is a lot of things happening in the frame and I think you'd have to watch it a least five times to try and grasp every detail. The editing is also quite fast which makes it kind of hard to follow the story, and the sudden comic-inspired additions such as exclamation remarks and speech bubbles also results in a slightly overwhelming viewing experience. It's a very creative video in that sense, yes, because it feels like they literally included every single idea anybody involved proposed, but it's a bit too much for me. However I have to say that I do like the styling and all the girls look amazing, but that's mainly because they're Sistar and have fantastic bodies.
My main complaint though about this comeback is that it feels very repetitive. It does seem like at this point Sistar's creative team has run out of ideas for what a summer comeback can include, because there's nothing in this that we haven't seen before. It gives off the exact same feeling that "Touch My Body" did and even that felt dated. Considering Sistar's impressive past of hit songs I'd hate to see them get stuck in doing only this kind of concept with a similar sounding song, and that's kind of we're they're at now. Am I disappointed? Yeah, a little bit.
Last but not least we have AOA, my one and only guilty pleasure. I kind of resent the way their company decided to completely abandon their band concept and go all in with this sexually objectifying image that's clearly catered to the male gaze, but at the same time I adore these girls. They're all so pretty and charming and I love watching them perform, but I am always worried about them too because of their new-found image. 2014 was a great year for them though, especially since they released my favorite AOA track so far "Like A Cat", and I was as always ridiculously excited for this comeback.
The plot is, even for someone who doesn't immediately understand the lyrics, very easy to follow and I could understand basically everything that was happening throughout the entire video. I do approve of the video's message of not giving up and working until you reach your goals, as the girls successfully do, and I like that they all encourage and help each other whether it'd be playing lacrosse or trying to get a guy to notice you. Additionally like with their most recent two videos the girls themselves are playing active roles in the respective premises of the MV's, and it's because of these aspects that I can't quite be mad about the objectification that also occurs.
I get that it's included more or less in every girl group MV, and in some boy groups' too, but for some reason it always stands out way more with AOA. Last video it was the scene where Seolhyun finds her way through the laxer field using some very sexually suggesting moves, and this time it's the girls stretching out before the game. It's not really the action itself but more so the way it's filmed, and it becomes even more obvious with the up-angle that's used for a huge part of the dancing sequences. With the length of those skirts you can almost see up them, and I'm sure that's very intentional too.
Still, I can't hate this video, in fact I can't even dislike it. These girls have me wrapped around their little fingers, and although there are many things about this plot that don't make sense like with all of their plot-oriented ones, it's still such an enjoyable watch. It's not supposed to be taken seriously but is simply a fun summer video with hints of comedy and lots of hot bodies. The song too is actually quite good, and although the vocals are quite over-processed and the hook is slightly vague it's a high-energy dance track that we haven't seen AOA do before. And of course they all look like goddesses, but you know that already.
As you can tell my favorite was, of course, AOA. That's not really surprising though, is it? Overall I thought they provided the best package deal, but of course no one can beat Mamamoo when it comes to live performances. Sistar comeback on the other hand was really disappointing to me, and if I had plans to genuinely get into them before it's certainly not going to happen now. Now awaits many more girl group comebacks from big acts such as Girl's Day, A Pink and Girls' Generation and Nine Muses already had theirs a couple of days ago. It's turning out to be an amazing summer season so far, and I can't wait for the year-end shows because literally everyone is going to be there.