While tropical bubblegum sounds with sun-bleached lyrics have long defined “summer tunes” in K-pop, Mamamoo’s new album is nothing to be expected from such a standard: It adds more heat to the fire. But hey, it works.
Like the group’s distinct vibe and character, Mamamoo’s new EP “Red Moon” is successful in that there is no single track to lose. Never forgetting the soulful vocal group’s own identity, the six tracks on the EP show what “variety” means, embracing topics and genres the group had never before attempted.
Mamamoo goes outside the box with opener “Midnight Summer Dream,” a spooky song about a creepy summer night and nightmare. It breaks listeners’ assumption of a romantic summer night.
“I was alone when I fell asleep, and somebody’s standing in my room. ... Repeated nightmare,” sings Mamamoo in a much toned-down voice. The wicked group seeks a drastic mood change, covering the previous chill with fiery lead track “Egoistic,” one of the songs that best represents the group. Influenced by Latin pop reggaeton, the song feels as if it has soaked up the radiant sunlight of the region and perfectly fits the group’s vocals.
Kicking off with Latin guitar strings, “Egoistic” allows no time for getting bored, as each vocalist brings her own distinct capacity to the mix. Hwasa and Wheein have an edge in their groovy vocals, while Moonbyul and Solar offer more feminine tones to a stylish bob. And stay focused for Solar’s purr in the middle -- a true earworm. The angry vocals send a scolding message to an egoistic lover, “You can’t act however you want. You only think of yourself.” And this really raises the heat.
Another big surprise comes as the girl group sings in sweet voices for “Sky! Sky!” in a song that feels like opening a window for that sweet summer breeze. If you had thought Mamamoo too wild for such a breathy mid-tempo melody, you will be amazed by how it nails the first take on a new concept. Old Mamamoo fans will welcome “Sleep in the Car,” as the naughty song developed from an inside joke offers Mamamoo’s classic funny, funky and down-to-earth styling.
Wrapping up everything about summer, from the creepy summer night and boiling heat to the cooling breeze, in “Red Moon,” Mamamoo has once again proven why it is one of the most beloved K-pop acts to date.