For the 14th week of 2012 we will be reviewing Exo’s “Mama” and 4minute’s “Volume Up”.
Exo – Mama
April 7, 2012
Before we address the song or the video, we would like to praise SM for truly stepping their shit up. We have been complaining for the past year that SM is stagnant and boring, but the debut of EXO is really something to be marveled.
Before the song itself even starts the magnificent opening story in English was brilliant (and by this we mean a brilliant idea, for the actual speaking made little grammatical sense, sadly). There is no group concept that really is as unique as EXO at this point in time. Cheesy yes, what with the narrated cartoon introduction, but the inner sci-fi geeks in us marveled. “Mama” is genius. It has a definite new feel, but uses past concepts of different SM groups, such as that of early Super Junior. The only difference is that we didn’t particularly like that side of Super Junior, while EXO kind of pulls it off. The screamo blended well with the techno, chanting, and rock. Counter to the norm of SM, which is mostly cheery catchy songs about non-sense, “MAMA” is very deep. The lyrics are astonishingly majestic, and even the Chinese version maintains the integrity of the lyrics. We personally like the Chinese version more because it is a touch softer sounding than the Korean version. K’s version sounds a little too aggressive for Pop. The members of M seem to have a little bit more control on their singing as well.
We really hope that “MAMA” becomes a song that will bring a new era of K-Pop. If the videos that have come out circa-2011-12 are any indication of the near future, we will be saying goodbye to the days of bright cheery cute videos of SM’s past and be thrust into a more serious and intense world.
This was an amazing 6 minutes of life. No group nor agency has anything on the two versions of “MAMA”. While the Chinese and Korean version vary little, they both create the most spectacular story ever.
“MAMA” is what every “Avatar: The Last Airbender” fan was expecting from the Hollywood version of the show. The amazing special effects rival that of multi-million dollar productions. This video is everything that every Asian child has grown up watching in vintage Anime- a crazy mix of every little boy’s imagination and pretend super powers. Between the Super Saiyans and mixture of element bending, this video is mind blowing.
“MAMA” was well worth waiting for. Every aspect of its production was captivatingly brilliant. Because “History” and “What Is Love” were particularly vapid, “MAMA” was thrust into a level that it could have never been without the lowered expectations created by EXO’s pre-debut songs.
Though the most uneventful portions of this video are the dancing clips, EXO must be praised for having nothing less than SM perfection in timing and synchronization. While the dance itself is very tasteful, it persists and is visually pleasing and fresh.
4minute – Volume Up
April 8, 2012
“Volume Up” is actually a great song. Without lyrics, the sound is great; the saxophone and keyboard create a really sad blues feel, while the electronica pumps up the song. The singing gives off a melancholy mysterious vibe, and the rapping adds power and volume. This was a great choice of song that really allowed 4minute to show off their vocal capabilities. We’re used to 4minute coming out with a much more “auto-tuned” sound, so it’s great to see a song in which natural abilities and dimensional tuning are balanced. The chorus is captivating, and while “Volume Up” is not necessarily as catchy as, say “Huh”, it’s a beautiful song that was extremely well made.
T-ara had zombies in “Roly Poly”, and that did not go well. So when it was announced that “Volume Up” had a vampire concept, we did not know what to expect. We were honestly thinking it was going to be as cheesy and bad as “Roly Poly”, but 4minute surprised us.
The beginning of the video features Hyuna, walking through a large hallway whilst eery speaking (that, by the way, bears striking resemblance to Harry Potter’s parseltongue) is echoed across the room. Hyuna, to much lack of suspense, turns around, revealing red eyes (in which case we are to assume red eyes obviously means she’s a vampire). And so this concludes the intro, and onwards to the video.
As for the rest of the video, we want to say it was weird, but a good kind of weird. This concept was actually perfect for the song, and fit it fantastically. The members play provocative sexy vampires that enjoy being touched by other females (we don’t get it either). Each member is seen in their own “vampy” scenarios, which don’t really make any sense whatsoever, but the sets and props were great. We see why the music video was “expensive”, though to be honest we don’t think any money went towards 4minute’s wardrobe, seeing as for practically the entire time, the members were
grinding dancing around in sheer pieces of polyester and cheap pleather.