Nov 30, 2016
Mamamoo's "Décalcomanie" Is As Fantastic As It Is Problematic
I love Mamamoo. I love their vocals, performance skills and individual charms. I don't, however, always love their music. When it comes to Mamamoo I follow them more on a title-track basis, meaning I don't care too much about their albums or b-sides, but I do like to enjoy their promotional songs and performances. Unfortunately their most recent releases haven't been anywhere near as impressive as their earliest tracks, with both "Um Oh Ah Yeh" and "You're The Best" leaving me quite disappointed. "Décalcomanie" on the other hand is everything I've ever wanted from this group; strong vocals, an epic chorus and packed with power and fierceness. The MV however is quite a different story.
The song is, if you missed it, is probably my favorite Mamamoo title track (well apart from "Ahh Oop", but that was a collab with Esna), and after two underwhelming songs it comes as a wonderful breath of fresh air. It certainly has that Mamamoo flavor to it as it's certainly a bit jazzy and retro as most other tracks, but it's definitely not as sweet. It's has more punch and power, with a chorus that almost seems a bit out of place with the verses as it sounds more like contemporary pop music. After one or two listens though it doesn't feel odd at all, and I've really come to appreciate the chorus breakdown. Of course it helps that the members are all fantastic at what they do, and Solar, Wheein and Hwasa are really delivering with the vocals.
I also love the concept for this comeback. This is probably the sexiest they've ever been and I love the way the confidently own their sexiness. It's also presented in a very classy and elegant way in the music way, both with the glamorous dresses (and suits) and the fancy sets. It feels very high-end and luxurious, and it's a concept I can see Mamamoo doing more in the future and do well. There are however some issues with the video that are related more or less exclusively to the plot. This video features a male love interest, played by a sleezy-looking white guy, and the way the relationships between him and the members are portrayed are quite problematic. Although it appears as if the ladies are in fact in charge of their sexuality and desire, and the lyrics add to that too, it's not exactly presented as such in the MV.
Well, this version of the video is better but this is actually a re-released version after the initial one was taken down only hours after it was put up. Why? Well, let's just say it had some mildly disturbing scenes in it. I guess it's what you would call "romanticizing sexual violence", as it featured a shocked Solar being pushed up against the wall in quite a non-consenting way. Even with the scene now removed there are still some questionable moments, like the regular wrist-grab that we've all seen too many times by now. It doesn't exactly make it better that the love interest is both unattractive and very creepy-looking, and I can't understand why they couldn't get a more handsome man in the video. Sadly it does take away a lot of appeal from the video, as it otherwise could've been a very good one.
As usual the girls look fantastic and the choreography is as you would expect from a group that primarily focuses on vocals, and it's tragic that the video had to be this off-putting because I'd call this a otherwise very successful comeback. I love the concept and the song, and of course there are parts of the video that I do like as well. Singing and making a video about female sexuality and desire is always appreciated with me and I do appreciate that they gave it a shot but this is not the way to present it to an audience. I hope that with their next comeback, if it's the same kind of concept, will have a better MV to match the quality of this group. In the meantime I'll just enjoy all their fabulous live performances.