AOA is back with a sexy concept (again) with the help of the production team of Brave Brothers (again). Considering the success that the two teams enjoyed together on “Miniskirt” and “Short Hair“, it may not come as surprise that the two adhere closely to the same formula of disco dance beats and fantastically sexy concepts that come to define AOA (and has defined Brave Brothers since forever).
The song for “Like a Cat” is a bit jarring at first, given that a funky guitar number may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about sultry cat burglars. Once the groove settles in and the bass line is given a chance to shine, “Like a Cat” comes into its own. An assertive snare does a lot of work to propel the beat as playfully cheerful keys and a jaunty guitar riff keep things as light as a cat’s prowl. As far as the production goes, “Like a Cat” is disposable fun, and its mindless but incredibly catchy “la-la-la-lalalala” hook perfectly encapsulates everything great about “Like a Cat”.
It is difficult to judge the vocals as they’re rarely given a moment to breathe, as is often the case in a Brave Brothers-produced beat. If weak points exist it depends on how one feels about Jimin’s devliery (Confession: mostly not a fan). The interspersed bits of “I’m good, I’m hot, I’m fresh, I’m fly” stick out like a sore thumb. While they’re probably meant to act as a contrast to the unending slickness of the processed vocals and instrumentals, they can’t help but clash with the beat and the accompanying vocals. There is a difference between sounding bold and bratty and Jimin’s sneer veers towards the latter to the point of distraction (although I will say that her rap goes by smoothly enough). Still, “Like a Cat” may not be a masterpiece but it’s a shallow, easily digested beat (a Brave Brothers strength) combined with fair vocals and a strong (equally shallow) hook. As far as Brave Brothers-AOA collaborations go, that may be par for the course but its undeniably a formula that’s working for both.
The video though.
The video is nearly perfect. In fact, it would take a couple of anthologies to properly explore everything that is going right with “Like a Cat”. The story line may be fairly predictable (Cat burglars!) but that doesn’t make the perfection of AOA in skin-tight black outfits any less hng-worthy. The hip shake during the “la la la-lalala” bit of the choreography is almost as hypnotic as the hook itself. The members look unreal. Seolhyun does her best Catherine Zeta-Jones impression and comes this close to claiming the concept for herself. Choa’s hips may be their own distinct blessed entity. None of this is a revelation and one could predict what happens in the video in the time it takes to say “Like a Cat” but there is so little wrong in the execution of the concept (and the video takes the time to put together some nice sets and shots to compensate for the flimsy plot) that it’s hard to fault it for its lack of imagination too much. When the only part that doesn’t work is the choreography which tries to make pawing the air like a cat look like a sensual movement (this could be my own personal hangup, but I just can’t help but see cat mimicry as silly, not sexy), you have a nice video on your hands.
In all, “Like a Cat”continues a strong tradition of AOA and Brave Brothers efforts. Like their previous collaborations together, “Like a Cat” is slickly produced pop fluff masquerading as something slightly more sexy, an arrangement that works well for AOA’s vocal talents and Brave Brothers’ ear for disco. It won’t win any points for originality but the video has enough effort put into it, along with an unfair amount of prettiness, to compensate for the boilerplate heist concept. Bottom line, “Like a Cat” moves along as smoothly as a cat in the night and the tiredness of that analogy is only matched by how well it fits “Like a Cat”.