May 30, 2016

AOA Starts Off The Summer Comebacks With "Good Luck"

It feels like AOA might be the next girl group to add "summer comebacks" to their yearly repertoire, just like Sistar who have almost made it their trademark image at this point. It's not too surprising though since "Heart Attack" was insanely popular last summer when it came out, and now when thinking about it I can't believe it's been almost a year already. I remember it coming out like it was only a few months ago. Anyhow this time around it seemed like AOA was going for a Baywatch-inspired beach concept with all the gorgeous, summery teaser photos as well as the teaser video that revealed an 80's sounding pop track. Their main promotional track "Good Luck" is however a completely different sounding song, and the video isn't really much Baywatch either.

First of all it's worth noting that "Good Luck" unlike all of their most recent title tracks is not a product of Brave Brothers. While I haven't been a huge fan of his work you can't deny that the combo of him and AOA have been successful, so I'm not quite sure why made FNC decide to leave him out of this comeback. Anyhow I think it was a good decision, because this song has a lot of great points and highlights not really seen before from this group, or at least not in a long time. "Good Luck" is a fairly simple song and has quite a low-key reserved instrumental, which means that it comes off as quite chill and casual, but that in a good way. It matches the vibe of summer and especially with addition of saxophone and a killer catchy chorus it makes for a really good and effortlessly sexy summer song.

What made me the most impressive though is defenitely the vocal arrangement of this song, because listening to this you can actually hear the members' voices and they all sound genuinely great (apart from Jimin's weaker-than-usual rap part). Compared to the production mess that was "Heart Attack" this is a truly welcome surprise, and it makes this release seem overall more mature as well. Part of that maturity is also closely related to the lyrics of the song that go hand in hand with the video. Well, maybe more figuratively than literally but still. "Good Luck" is basically the members of AOA telling boys to get on their level of cool, and it's packed with confidence and unapologetic self-love . They don't have time just for any guy because they know they're better than that, so good luck trying to capture their hearts.

For me hearing these kind of lyrics from AOA is so refreshing compared to a lot of their others lyrics from previous title tracks, because that's one things that's always bothered me before (I blame Brave Brothers), and hearing them sing it like this with this effortless sexiness makes me want to root for them more than ever. The MV for "Good Luck" is also a real treat for they eye, as their videos always are, but this one more than usual. Like I said this video isn't as much Baywatch as I had expected which is a bit disappointing, but it's still pretty good. As is the case with most AOA videos it isn't the MV itself that's what's good but rather the members the members, and for "Good Luck" that's definitely the deal.

The video doesn't really have a plot or even some kind of coherent factor because most of the scenes aren't really related to each other at all, but everything's just really gorgeous to look at. I'm not sure where they went to shoot but it looks like it could be California, and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. One second they're dancing by the beach, the next they're having a party or acting as life-guards by the pool. It doesn't make much sense but it looks amazing and it's almost as summery and free-spirited as it can get. 

Not to mention that all the girls look fantastic, especially because of how tan and glowy they are in the video, but naturally also because they're all stunning and have great bodies. It also feels like this is a song and concept the members are comfortable with, because they way they carry themselves throughout the video feels slightly different as they appear more confident and also much more mature and adult. This is probably the first time I've watched an AOA MV and saw young, confident and powerful women that own their sexuality and are in complete control. Naturally the video does contain the obligatory sexually objectifying male-gazey shots but since the overall feeling and nature of the MV is based on the fact that AOA are superior of all boys I can kind of let it slide. Or at least it doesn't bother me as much or make me uncomfortable. 

The only thing that I would say brings this comeback down is the choreography, which looks decent enough in the music video but when I've watched them perform live on music shows it really doesn't hold up. AOA aren't exactly known for having very complex or interesting dances as they're mostly just made up of them shaking their hips or moving around sensually, but this one is just a whole other level of lazy. It's uneventful to the point of it almost looking like they're not even moving on stage and even though I don't think they're the best female dance group I'm sure they're capable of much better than this. 

With this comeback we also get yet another mini album (come on FNC - it's been four years since their debut) which is also called "Good Luck" and contains five brand new tracks. I've always been kind of neutral towards AOA's discography regarding their B-sides, as it's mostly been good but never really that amazing, but this mini is actually really solid. The first song is the title track and although I like it a lot I think it's one of the least impressive songs on the album, even though I can understand why it was chosen as the title. The following track "10 Seconds" is easily the star of this release, as it is the song that was played during the teaser video for their MV. Clearly inspired by 80's pop music, this song is just all kinds of amazing. It's very relaxed and sensual and has the most amazing instrumental that actually sounds quite authentic to the time period. I've listened to this song a lot since I first heard it and I believe this will be one of my favorite summer songs as it matches perfectly with the vibe of a cozy late-night beach party.

"Cherry Pop" and "Crazy Boy" are also both good songs, with the former being slightly better than the latter. "Cherry Pop" has a retro feel to it and listening to it you can kind of imagine a 50's diner with girls in colorful dresses and boys with slicked back hair. Ok, maybe I'm thinking a bit too much of Grease and the song isn't that authentic to said era but the theme is still there, at least during the verses. The chorus is really catchy too and Choa and Yuna gets to show off their often hidden vocal chops. "Crazy Boy" is also a good B-side, but it lacks that ear-worm factor that makes me want to put it on repeat. It's one of those songs that's easy on the ears when listening to it, but it's not a track you'd want to put on yourself. Anyway compared to many of their other B-sides in previous albums I can't complain much about the quality of this one.

The last song "Still Falls The Rain" is also one of the mini's highlights. Being more of a mid-tempo ballad it's a song that kind of brings the album back to the ground after many intense up-tempo tracks, and of course it's the standard sad song about heartbreak, rain and lonely nights. However as jaded as the concept is this song has a great melody and chord progression as well as fantastic vocals. It's certainly a great way to end this album on.

There's been so much going on with AOA's comeback this time around, from Seolhyun and Jimin's scandal to them "mistakenly" winning first place on last week's Music Bank, so I think a lot of people are overlooking how good this comeback actually is and also what a great development the group is showing. This mini album is solid, the title track is way better than most of their prior ones and the concept is finally balancing being sensual and mature and not crossing over into the land of cute (you hear that, AOA Cream?). Apart from being boring to look at on stage I have definitely enjoyed this promotion.

MV: 3,6/5
Album: 3,9/5

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