After a couple great teasers and a rather promising sampling of their latest single, Mamamoo has finally released their funky dress-up single “Um Oh Ah Yeh.” The good news? The song is a well made and slick pop song that is easy to take in and enjoy. The bad news? The video threatens to upend the slickness of the single with a plot that simply doesn’t mesh well with the lightweight peppiness of the music.
On a positive note, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is a fairly solid summer pop song. While it definitely eschews from Mamamoo’s soul sound, the funky synth line that plays throughout the single is absolutely addicting and the jaunty tempo of the verses works perfectly with Moonbyul’s and Hwasa’s rap parts and it keeps the whole song feeling incredibly light – a quality that is much appreciated in jams for the warmest months of the year. The chorus is masterful; a deadly combination of persuasive synths and an earworm-worthy hook of “um oh ah yeah (yes?)”. If there is a downside to “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” it’s simply that this sort of funky beat doesn’t allow the members to exhibit their rather usual bluesy flair and the vocals sound a tad nondescript as a result. Still, what “Um Oh Ah Yeh” lacks in wallop it makes up in its imminent replayability.
By comparison, the video for ‘Um Oh Ah Yeh” is a bit more ~problematic~. The girls look amazing during the choreography bits and the wardrobe and makeup for Hwasa, Wheein and Moonbyul’s characters are pretty great (shout out to Hwasa’s Leno-jaw). No, in a rarity, the most distracting and ~problematic~ element of the video ends up being the story line and not the more cookie-cutter elements that are the usual targets of ire in these little reviews. Watching Solar’s attempts to woo Moonbyul through her (apparently) three jobs as a French maid, a flight attendant and a nurse is wince-inducing. Increasingly questionable actions such as roofy-ing a drink and straight up trying to take advantage of a drugged patient are played for laughs as is Hwasa’s sexual harassment of Solar’s thirsty maid-attendant-nurse. The big problem is that, at best, it’s mildly amusing. At worst, it’s tonally jarring to watch so much humor being invested into base creepiness, especially given the levity of everything around it. At the very least, it detracts from the song and the other elements of the video that are done quite well.
Out of Mamamoo’s singles so far, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” sounds like the most radio-friendly out of the bunch. That is not a dig at the song at all. “Um Oh Ah Yeh” rests on the “inconsequentially enjoyable” side of the pop spectrum and the synth line does killer work while the vocalists do some good work with what they’ve been given. The video, while very promising in concept, flubs the execution. Now, this could be a cultural humor thing (or I could just be an SJW-Tumblrite-Male-Feminazi) but the way that plot aspect plays out is so overwhelmingly distracting that I had to listen to the song without the video to really get into it. Whenever I tried to just play the video, I’d always reach a point where I’d go, “Wait, is this really happening?”. The saving grace of all of this is that if the live performances are good (and they certainly seem to be) then Mamamoo may have a hit on their hands as that would allow everyone to simply enjoy a great beat and nice vocals without having to think about the implications of… whatever Solar is doing in this.