Review: Purple by Mamamoo

Purple by MamamooJust a few weeks ago Sistar released their last single, marking the last of many Korean summers spent with a frothy, bouncy bop from the group. (That last bop was, uncharacteristically, a ballad.) It wasn’t a gap ripe to be filled, but the timing of all this meant someone will inevitably look like they’re trying to. Unfortunately for Mamamoo, they’re playing that role. Purple‘s empowerment-themed title track, “Yes I Am”, brings them back to the template they perfected on “Um Oh Ah Yeh” (and the one they deviated from on their last single “Decalcomanie”) but it’s now clear they’re dropping the retro sound that made them popular in the first place. It’s made for the disco; it’s definitely Sistar territory; luckily the good, non-annoying side of it. However, Mamamoo’s current awkward artistic phase – which first came to light on the ultimately confused Memory – has rubbed off on Purple, highlighting some sort of existential crisis. Will they go the way of the dance floor, or will they keep their streak of larrikinism (as they had then with “Taller Than You”, as they have now with “Aze Gag”)? Will they keep on throwing half-baked bait to fans (Moonbyul finally sings – solo at that – on the ultimately ill-fitting “Out Of The Way”) or will they build on the vocal chemistry the group clearly has? I’d love Mamamoo to find their way sooner or later, but it feels like they’re getting deeper into the woods. [NB]3/5

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