Review: Yellow Flower by Mamamoo

Yellow Flower by MamamooMamamoo’s first full-length album, Melting, remains their peak. That was a tight, well-defined record, playing to the South Korean girl group’s strengths more. The two records they released after, Memory and Purple, suffered both from high expectations and a musical case of channel drift: good singles brought down a notch by badly-timed experiments or mediocre filler (of which there has been a lot). It is an understandable phase in a pop group’s life, the need for reinvention, but the dithering proved to be frustrating. With Yellow Flower they finally hit the reset button, taking the “mature” route head-on with a tasty mix of R&B and electronica, and an even stronger emphasis on their vocal chops. (Moonbyul singing last time is most definitely not a fluke; you don’t even notice her rap here, although she sort of does in single “Starry Night”, albeit in her breathy, sultry mode.) I’m relieved that this album is at least consistent. The shift in sound may not be to everybody’s taste – a part of me felt they were ditching their beagle image – but at least it feels more well-defined, more deliberate. (And it does not sound like they’re playing catch-up to Red Velvet and their slick R&B leanings, also someone will make that case.) The warm, friendly tone works nicely, the message delivered clearly: the girls are up there now, past the growing pains, making it out stronger and fiercer than ever. Yellow Flower also tells me they are now just hazy figures from a distance. [NB]3/5

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