Give me a moment to pop my eyes back into their sockets, pick my jaw off the floor, and wash my pants. Like, is this album actually happening right now? If I didn’t know any better I’d say the level of awesome in “Wonder World” is almost unreal. Yet here it is in all its glory, slaughtering the competition and serving it for dinner.
“Wonder World” is a hook-stravaganza. The Wonder Girls have taken a page out of the Western pop music handbook and focused a lot of this album around the addictive hooks that make Euro and Latin music a success. Considering their boring back catalogue, this move was almost necessary. But it’s more than the engaging melodies that are proving to be outstanding. The overall quality of these songs has me hitting replay, and that in and of itself highlights the genius of pop music.
On the one hand “Wonder World” is a fusion of light-disco and electro-pop, which is familiar ground for sure. “Sweet Dreams” has a prominent bass line that brings acts such as Scissor Sisters to mind, while “Stop!” is riddled with bright synths and glimmering melodies a la Kylie Minogue.
On the other hand, there are tracks like “G.N.O.” and “SuperB” that derive from the strong Latin beats that have become staples of today’s filthiest night clubs. I mean, the former in particular gives “In the Dark” byDev a good run for her pretty little pennies. The dynamics alone are through the roof and that goes for almost every track on this album.
Of course, not all is wonderful up in this joint, as the key track of the whole thing happens to be one of its shortcomings. “Be My Baby” is ten times cheesier than everything else on this album. Plus, it sounds like a song Mariah Carey omitted from her 90s Christmas collection. Don’t get me wrong, the song is alright. Maybe I’d be more responsive to it if they released it as a Christmas song in December, but as of right now, I’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist.
The one other flop moment is the rap-trocity “Act Cool” featuring San E. It’s a Lim solo. Enough said.
If I had my pick for lead single, “Me, In” is it. It’s enough like an anthem, yet totally doable for this quintet. Let’s face the facts, the Wonder Girls aren’t nearly as vocally potent as this album makes them out to be, but then again, they know to stay in their lane and JYP skillfully chose songs that work with their strengths as opposed to songs veered particularly to style alone.
For me, “Wonder World” is a distinct mirror image of “Out Of Control” by British girl group Girls Aloud. From the cheesy lead single (“The Promise” slays. Just saying.) down to the electro-pop focus, this album is almost too derivative of a sector of pop music that is done so fucking well overseas. Yet it still stands strong as one of the top female group releases this year. It’s sophisticated, inspired, and impressively produced, not to mention that these bitches actually had a hand in composing some of these songs. Whoa.
Furthermore, the songs on “Wonder World” are placed in such a way that you can’t help but not skip a track. Y’all know I’m a hard-ass bitch about cohesion and strong track lists (for good reason), so I’m glad to hear a full album that transitions so effortlessly and with such strong momentum. It proves my point that song placement is everything when it comes to the success of a pop album.
And when those songs happen to be so goddamn fierce, forget about it.
via Asian Junkie
Support the artist, buy the album: iTunes