The queens are back.
Fresh off of their win of Queendom, Mamamoo is officially ending their Four Season era and starting new with their 2nd full album “Reality in Black.” Even as the girls explore new ways to push their music, they still echo accents of their previous extended plays making the album show to new and old fans what makes Mamamoo so talented.
The title track “Hip” perfectly demonstrates Mamamoo trying something new musically. While the vibe of the song is constantly changing, it is still all Mamamoo. The song starts with just Hwasa delivering lyrics with attitude over clicking beat winding the mood up for an almost whimsical and rock breakdown of the song. After the trip through that, Wheein’s soft vocals over a beat that holds onto the whimsy is a nice change. The soft, higher tones are replaced by Moonbyul’s deep rap as the tempo of the song increases. Solar takes over and brings the song into the chorus when the playful attitude of the song comes back. Wheein and Solar go back into their powerful clear voices but keep the tone steady making the tongue-in-cheek attitude even more prevalent. The song’s reliance on the lower tones of the girl’s voices let’s Moonbuyl and Hwasa play around more with the raps and shows a different side of Solar and Wheein’s vocals.
The actual opening track of the album is the song the group showcased on Queendom. “Destiny” starts off with a traditional twange of a country song followed by Hwasa and Solar setting up the story of the song. In a beat the entire vibe changes as Hwasa takes back over. There’s still a characteristically country guitar in the background when Wheein starts singing but the background starts to develop more, adding clapping beat along with the bass. Moonbuyl’s rap causes the dynamic change as her deeper voice plays off the changing beat.
The biggest surprise of the song comes after Solar and Wheein slow the song down only to work the song up to a peak. Solar spits out a phrase and a beat the listener wasn’t paying attention to drops. The dynamic and storytelling of the song demonstrates how well Mamamoo can play off of those changes and bring the emotions for the story for any song.
The album slows down a little with “Ten Nights.” This is when longtime fans can start to see the similarities to previous tracks by Mamamoo. Taking inspiration from the slower songs on the EP “Memory” the song is a nice break from the more vibrant songs on the album. The mainly instrumental background lets the group’s vocals really shine. Along the same theme of “Paint Me” every member sings, even Moonbuyl who mainly sticks to her rap. Her deeper voice distinguishes her parts from the others and gives fans a chance to hear something different from her.
“High Tension” follows the trend of taking after previous tracks. “High Tension” is a new take on the overarching sound on their first album “Melting.” The R&B vibe is more mature and more suited to the kind of group Mamamoo has developed into. The song isn’t trying to do anything fancy, just an easy listening song that makes the listener relax to Solar and Wheein’s smooth vocals, Hwasa’s sultry tone and Moonbuyl’s casual rap.
From harder hitting songs like “4X4ever” to boardline funny tracks like “Zzzz,” Mamamoo has demonstrated their ability to experiment with new sounds and reinvent familiar concepts. Even as the Four Season era ends, “Reality in Black” displays how much more Mamamoo has to offer to established stans and to newer fans.