"Red Moon" is a comeback album for the four members of Mamamoo. (Image via K-Pop)
Sounds x
"Red Moon" is a comeback album for the four members of Mamamoo. (Image via K-Pop)

In the group’s newest release, K-pop meets Latin flair meets fiery vocals.

From top-of-the-chart-bops like “Um Oh Ah Yeh” to their most recent slap “Egotistic,” the four ladies of Mamamoo have come back to the Korean pop music scene with a vengeance. As part of their year-long mini album drops, Mamamoo’s most recent “Red Moon” album highlights the season of summer as one full of Latin flare and sultry vocals. Bid the dreamy spring full of “Starry Night[s]” goodbye, and say hello to the smokey intensity of Mamamoo’s “Red Moon” album.

Well known for their charisma and incredible vocals, the ladies of Mamamoo certainly do bring the heat in this release. The usually sweet and sunny leader Solar (Kim Yongsun) gazes into the camera with the scorch of a thousand suns, while the group’s maknaes (term for the youngest), Wheein (Jung Wheein) and Hwasa (Ahn Hyejin), exude a sexiness that is both entrancing and intense. Moonbyul (Moon Byulyi), the shining star of this album, and her cool stare bring a chic kind of sexy to the table.

Here is a review of the newest songs from Mamamoo’s “Red Moon” album.

“Egotistic” Music Video

Unlike the more detailed music video storylines in title songs like “Um Oh Ah Eh,” the “Egotistic” video relies more on each member’s sultry charms than it does on plot. The video starts with an acoustic guitar riff played by a faceless man and ends with the guitar going up in flames (courtesy of an angry Jung), but who can complain when these amazing singers slay everything from vocals to choreography to their tastefully colorful outfits?

[MV] MAMAMOO(마마무) _ Egotistic(너나 해)

Since summer is the theme for this mini album, the warm red and orange color scheme only adds to the fire in the song. The fiery colors contrast perfectly with Moon’s usual cool and laid-back aura, especially when the charismatic rapper perches on a red crescent moon with the cool starry night in the background.

Without a highly symbolic plot for fans to analyze, the music video certainly helps the viewer to focus on the individual members’ voices and their unique styling.

1. “Midnight Summer Dream”

If you don’t have plans to travel this summer, don’t worry because this “Midnight Summer Dream” is going to be the vacation you go on with a click. As the opening track to the album, this whimsical but lowkey creepy song relies heavily on the carefully crafted instrumental.

Opening with the sound of something being wound up, the intro slowly bursts into action with a quick drumroll that cues Ahn’s signature voice. The muted xylophone ringing in the background makes the song a bit playful, contrasted with the lyrics about feeling like one is in a nightmare that are accompanied by creepy albeit oddly appropriate noises. In the instrumental version, a creepy giggle is heard after Moon sings of how “I hear the sounds of an unfamiliar laughter.”

The vocal line is like a dream — it’s hard to predict where the melody is headed. The dreamlike quality of the song is exactly why it’s fun to listen to. With the intricate background and the interesting melody, “Midnight Summer Dream” brings you into a reverie that is difficult to wake up from.

2. “Egotistic”

Mamamoo is a well-respected — though sometimes underrated — K-pop group that brings a different flavor with every album and comeback, and “Red Moon” is no different. Their title song “Egotistic” brings Latin flare and powerhouse vocals together in a combination that is hard to ignore. If “Midnight Summer Dream” is like a premonition, then “Egotistic” is the subsequent realization and reaction to whatever shady occurrence that arises.

Written about not feeding someone else’s ego any longer, each member of Mamamoo stands as a woman who knows her worth and will not settle for less. With Kim’s powerful voice, Jung’s clear and agile vocals, Ahn’s smoky and sultry tone, and Moon’s chic yet swaggy rap, each of these musicians make it clear that “I want to do as I please too.”  No “bicho malo” (bad boy) would stand a chance against these four queens.

3. “Rainy Season”

Cooling down the fiery heat of “Egotistic,” “Rainy Season” is the R&B track that showcases a smooth and silky side of Mamamoo. With a simpler instrumental background that relies heavily on snaps to keep the beat, each member interprets the motions of heartbreak with their unique timbre.

뮤직뱅크 Music Bank - 장마(Rainy Season) - 마마무(MAMAMOO).20180720

Kim, who usually sings the powerful high notes, tones it down in this song with a lower register that sounds both tender and contemplative. Jung, who studied music at an art high school alongside her bandmate Ahn, has a much brighter quality to her tone that brings a sense of naivety to the break up song. In comparison to these two singers, Ahn’s timbre is a little more distinct. For someone who channels her loves of both jazz and Rihanna, a raspy and sensual voice comes naturally to Ahn.

As the member who focuses on rap, Moon never disappoints with her seductively low voice. In contrast to the intensity shown in “Egotistic,” the versatile rapper delivers the lyrics of “Rainy Season” as if they were an internal monologue. She effortlessly mixes together singing and speaking to make her lyrics easier to understand and relate to.

One wouldn’t believe a group with so many distinct singers would be able to harmonize well, but not all groups are Mamamoo. From studio recordings to live performances, these artists demonstrate their aptitude for singing and harmonies time and time again.

4. “Sky! Sky!”

Channeling the energy of their youth, the cheerful “Sky! Sky!” marks the celebration of coming to terms with a breakup. Throwing aside the gloom of the “Rainy Season,” Kim, Jung, Ahn, and Moon lend their fresh and bright voices to this girly summer bop.

While this innocent vibe is not their usual style, the mature Mamamoo emerges in the lyrics and their stylistic embellishments. The lyrics of “Sky! Sky!” convey a determined relief in saying goodbye to toxic or unfulfilling relationships.

The fullness Kim’s voice takes on while singing “goodbye,” Jung’s sweet tone, and Ahn’s throaty but light lines all come together to demonstrate the undeniable vocal versatility of this group while Moon’s badass rap offsets the sweetness of the melody. As the song closes, the listener is left only to smile at the sense of contentment and ease.

5. “Sleep in the Car”

Congrats on making it to the fifth song of the album, and welcome to the Mamamoo fandom. What better way to celebrate becoming a MooMoo than to enjoy this “hype” of the pulsing track of “Sleep in the Car”?

This song is another reason why most people never leave the Mamamoo fandom. Unlike many idols in the industry, the ladies of Mamamoo are given some artistic control of their music that results in a banger like “Sleep in the Car.”

Everything about this song, from the way that it pokes fun at their seriously sleep-deprived lifestyle as idols, to the hilarious use of “hype” sounds, makes it hard to believe that this was just something randomly made up by the members in a car. Known for other humorous and catchy “troll” songs like “Taller Than You” and “AZE GAG,” this song is funnier than most stand-up comedians.

The key line in the song, “At least you can sleep in the car,” is rapped by every member as they all tease one another for sleeping-in despite the work that lays in store for them. Humor is key to the tune, and the exaggerated enunciation of vowels and consonants makes this bop fun to listen to as well as sing. I love the way that the end of the line is rapped in double time compared to the beginning of the line — after all, it seems like Mamamoo is always cramped for time.

6. “SELFISH (ft. Seulgi)”

[MV] Moon Byul(문별) _ SELFISH (Feat. SEULGI(슬기) Of Red Velvet)

Featuring Kang Seulgi from the idol group Red Velvet, this solo release from Moon starts off with a jaunty tune reminiscent of a video game and a rap verse only she could pull off. One would never guess that Moon was originally brought into the entertainment company as a vocalist rather than a rapper.

While the musician has a voice of gold, her ability to spit fire seems to be her calling. “Selfish” is the perfect feel-good, self-love song for the artist who has so much potential. The lyrics express the singer’s desire to love herself in a world that constantly dictates what she should wear, how she should look and how she should sound.

Again, with the simple instrumental, the listener can focus on the encouraging message and Moon’s articulate flow. Coupled with Kang’s clear voice, the song exudes positivity and is a great way to end the mini album.

The “Red Moon” album is musical journey that plays a story of suspicion, anger, sadness, freedom and self-confidence that everyone needs to hear.

Writer Profile

Christine Fang

University of California San Diego

Leave a Reply