Female group MAMAMOO is, for the first time in a long time, back with a mini album. It’s led by two title tracks, “Star Wind Flower Sun” and “Starry Night.” Both take up the mature concept of January’s single “Paint Me,” an austere vocal showcase that departed from the group’s fun, funky sound of the past. If “Paint Me” was an indication that MAMAMOO was trying to leave behind their 2017 image, this comeback is the next step towards doing so. “Starry Night” is a dramatic tropical pop track, while “Star Wind Flower Sun” is an earnest ballad that welcomes spring with all its might. While I don’t know that it’s necessarily their best comeback, it is a successful one.
Admittedly, 90% of that success is drawn from—you know what I’m going to say—the vocals. There’s no denying that MAMAMOO’s are some of the sweetest voices you’ll hear all year. It has always elevated their songs an extra notch or three, and “Star Wind Flower Sun” and “Starry Night” are no different. It’s certainly the high point of “Starry Night,” which has some magnificent buildups (whose power are owed largely to…yes…the vocals) but whose tame tropical hook delivers little of the energy promised by the bridges. “Star, Wind, Flower, Sun” is without a doubt my preferred title track of this comeback. While the key change into the second chorus is completely unnecessary, I’m completely enamored with every other detail of this ballad’s composition. The hook is a simple one, but the simplicity lends it a pure, almost innocent charm. Carried out by MAMAMOO’s vocal line, it’s enchanting. Even so, where the song shines the brightest is outside of the chorus. While the pace of the verses is slow, the vocal phrasing is often quick, and that contrast moves the song forward. In between rapidly phrased lines (accompanied, of course, by exquisite harmonies), gentle moments such as Solar’s soft “georago” in the first verse or Wheein’s “la-da-da”s in the second verse ratchet up the song’s sweetness. The end result is easy to adore and easy to replay.
The rest of mini-album “Yellow Flower” is solid, though its lack of variation in tempo does make it blend together a bit after “Starry Night.” Perhaps most notable is the sultry “Be Calm,” a solo by member Hwasa. “Rude Boy” is quite a groover, and “Spring Fever” has some delicious compositional moments. It’s all worth a listen, just like everything that features MAMAMOO’s vocals. It’ll be interesting to see where this new concept takes them in the future, because until this year the group’s sound has been a unique brand of jazzy pop, so it looks like we’ll see whether they blend into the mainstream pop background or come out bigger and stronger.
STARRY NIGHT AND STAR WIND FLOWER SUN: KAYBOPS OR KAYFLOPS? Both are bops, but mostly “Star Wind Flower Sun.”
Take a look at MAMAMOO’s “Star Wind Flower Sun” and “Starry Night” MVs below: