Review: Mamamoo – “You’re the Best” Fires On All Cylinders

mamamoo

To promote their first album Melting, vocal powerhouse Mamamoo pulled out a few rather impressive stops. They released “I Miss You,” a free R&B single that showcased the foursome’s chops. They made a music video for the hilarious and surprisingly rap-heavy “Pride of 1 cm.” Absent from either one of those tracks was the sort of explosive soul/pop sound that Mamamoo had made their trademark with the likes of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” and “Mr. Ambiguous.” Thankfully, the group didn’t simply forget their signature appeal. Mamamoo’s newest music video “You’re the Best” highlights Mamamoo’s best traits, from their wondrous talents behind a microphone to their incredible charisma in front of a camera. As a lead single for the group’s first album, Mamamoo chose wisely with “You’re the Best.”

As far as pop tracks go, “You’re the Best” is the sort of song that sounds tailor-made for Mamamoo’s strengths. The single features a joyous blend of gleefully-blaring horns, a small smattering of soulful guitar riffs and a battery of booming synths and percussion. Put together, the instrumental track is hard-hitting (the opening Hans Zimmer-esque THWOMMMM is a terrific opening cue), the sort of summer anthem that absolutely requires a set of vocalists who can not only get loud, but also match the warble and tenor of a brass section. Unsurprisingly, Mamamoo is more than capable of doing just that. (The only other group who I think would be equally as suited for “You’re the Best” is SISTAR.) The entire group is on point here, seamlessly transitioning between pop-anthem warbling and bluesy jazz. Even the obligatory K-Pop raps are integrated nicely as Mamamoo essentially includes the entire group into the process while allowing Moonbyul to take the lead.

Adding it all together, “You’re the Best” is pretty much flawless from start to finish. The lack of a strong hook may keep “You’re the Best” from being instant-earworm music but the song’s appeal stretches far beyond a singular chorus or phrase. Far more importantly, there are simply no lulls in “You’re the Best.” The group’s vocals are a treat as always and the production amps up the single in a way that enhances Mamamoo’s sound, rather than masking it. While it is true that “You’re the Best” doesn’t find Mamamoo taking many risks with their sound, when the group produces something this good, it’s nearly impossible to fault them for erring on the side of the familiar.

The video may not take many risks either but it’s solid to say the least. “You’re the Best” is more or less a dance-in-a-box video dressed up in a vacation setting. The direction is workman-like and the video’s editing can best be described as non-distracting while the music video’s Thailand location setting seems almost completely incidental. Thankfully, “You’re the Best” is elevated above cookie-cutter status by a strong sense of set framing and Mamamoo’s screen presence.  The way that the video is able to inject bold color contrasts into the video, whether that be Mamamoo’s brightly-hued apparel against muted backgrounds in single shots or the strong lighting differences that are apparent in each varying location shot (whether purposeful or not), makes up for a lot of the less imaginative elements of “You’re the Best.” Mamamoo itself more than mask whatever deficiencies remain. Yes, the group looks amazing but it’s the way that Mamamoo is able to inject silliness and fun moments into their performance that truly makes “You’re the Best” work as a video. Watching Hwasa wash a car and Wheein stuff her face with food is great fun. Watching the way that Mamamoo squeezes comedy out of their group shots is even better (Solar is the MVP for camera-mugging and I say that in the most complimentary way possible).

For a song that conveys as much triumphant happiness as “You’re the Best” does, the video matches it beat for beat.

Over the past few years, Solar and company have quickly honed in on a style that works for them and “You’re the Best” encapsulates the best characteristics of the group. It’s soulful, it’s powerful and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. “You’re the Best” does better than live up to Mamamoo’s reputation. It makes the group shine all the brighter.

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3 comments

  1. You know Hwasa reminds me a bit of Gain in the way she seems to carry herself with such confidence and oozes sexuality without apparent effort to do so. It just seems like its a natural part of her. I bet she intimidates the hell out of a lot of the male idols backstage. It’s a bit like the old Hall & Oates song “Maneater,” “Watch out boys she’ll chew you up.” Man she just jumps out in the gifs with that flame red hair. It just screams “look at me boys.”

    The Sistar comparison is interesting. It would be interesting to see Sistar cover something of Mamamoo’s and Mamamoo cover something of Sistar’s including the choreo. You can’t cover a Sistar song without a lot of moxie and the same could be said for a lot of Mamamoo’s material. Plus you need some depth at the vocalists spots and not many girl groups have that.

    I’d like to see Mamamoo do well with this, but a part of me would really like to see Ladies Code pick up a trophy on at least one of the shows because I think it would mean so much to them. That had to be very hard for them to step on stage again for the first time since EunB and RiSe’s death without them there even if you had rehearsed it many times. It’s just a different feeling with a live audience there and the energy of a live performance.

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