Boy do I love me some miss A.
Something about them suddenly clicked for me last year with their album “A Class“, which I thought was pretty, classy, and extra sassy – just how I like it. Still, I don’t think I can say that I had high expectations for their 2012 comeback, as I was just excited to see them back in full swing again.
This week, miss A released “Touch“, their latest mini album (or “4th Project”, whatever), and I’ll just be upfront with you right now – it’s not as amazing as it could have been. It’s a pain to admit it, but I just have to go with my gut on this one.
Let’s just get something clear – “Touch” isn’t a bad mini album. After all, this is miss A, so unless they went ape shit with something like “Breathe“, then I knew they would be fine. What I’m finding to be something of a chip on miss A’s shoulder though is the overall production and musical construction of “Touch”. For the first time this year, I can genuinely get all douchebaggy about various aspects in the production quality of a mini album, because JYP has made some critical mistakes here, and they’re not going unnoticed by anyone.
Starting with the title track “Touch”, I think most if not all first time listeners found it to be rather dull compared to miss A’s past singles. To me, it wasn’t so much that it was dull, but simply out of fucking key. I know “Touch” is supposed to be dark like that, which it is and everything, but miss A do not sound that great on it. The production is almost unflattering to miss A’s voices, which is just weird. JYP Entertainment has always been one of my favorite places to find clean, crisp productions, but as time has gone by, I’ve realized that I felt that way because JYP himself knows how to work his magic on male voices (2PM, 2AM), but his work on female voices (Wonder Girls, miss A) is way more amateur in comparison.
Another factor working in the song’s detriment are the singers themselves. miss A’s not the strongest vocal group in K-pop, but they’re not that bad either. Yet, you wouldn’t know that from listening to “Touch”, because miss A’s too busy not giving a rat’s ass about this song. miss A’s singing is out of key, out of tune, and out of character in “Touch”, all of which is more distracting than the poor production. It’s like they’re not even trying, and that kind of vocal delivery on any song is both disappointing and worrisome. At least a sprinkle of emotion would have validated all the fake angst going on, but nope, nothing.
As a song, “Touch” is fine – with its 80s influences and whiny synths – but the execution needs revision, and I’d start by waking miss A from their fucking slumber, because they might as well have been snoring through this one.
The rest of “Touch” shows promise to grow into an okay album the more it frequents my iTunes … if I let it.
“Lips“, the song errbody and their mothers would have preferred as the lead single, is a total club doozy. It’s blaring, full of hype, and quirky. It’s rhythmic as fuck, and will probably make a decent warm up song in a club. I just wish all the excitement that it builds led to something explosive, as the entire song grows in intensity, but it’s almost as if somebody is pacing in place real fucking fast without really going anywhere. “Lips” is a cool song and it has direction, but it’s cyclical direction, in that it takes you in a circle rather than a climactic destination – not the most ideal formula for an uptempo. In fact, I think most of the songs on “Touch” are a wee bit loopy for their own good.
“Rock And Rule“, the third song on the mini, is by far the most miss A-song on the line up, and by far my favorite. It’s not lead single material, but it embodies the youthfulness in miss A, similar to what “Love Alone” did for them last year. miss A is a young group and I don’t think they’re at the stage in their career where they want to (or should) let that slip from their fingers. They can be fierce all they want, as well as sweet as hell, but I’d rather hear them mature with time and experience than grow up overnight.
The last two tracks, “No Mercy” and “Over U“, are probably the best tracks on “Touch”, at least on the grounds of power and impact. They’re fierce, and they’re also very beautifully sung. miss A in a nutshell, basically.
“No Mercy” has a classic drum line and a strong musical direction, something I felt was weak in the beginning of this mini album, but most importantly, it has a wonderful middle eight! The whole thing shows off miss A’s attitude, as well as their vocal prowess, and I just don’t get enough of that from JYP sometimes. Plus, it’s fresh and different, and I think we can agree that miss A’s existence in K-pop brings a breath of fresh air among all the cookie cutter stank, regardless of how underwhelming they can be sometimes. Likewise, “Over U” showcases what a good execution of simple, repetitive music can sound like. SM, take note.
I can’t say I’m in love with “Touch” or that I’ll ever love it, because there are significant chasms between these songs, as well as gaps between these songs and miss A. I think I couldn’t have gnawed my fist enough at the sound of some of these mixes, because they’re kind of disastrous at times. “Touch” – the song – is definitely not the strongest JYP production, and “Touch” – the album – is more incomplete than it is fulfilling. I hear the appeal and I think this whole dark thing is something miss A is good at, but I wish both JYP and miss A had let themselves go completely into some of these trendy styles, because the intentions are good and promising. “Touch” is just not as finished and as refined as it should have been, especially for a deserving girl group as miss A, and thus it ends up leaving a very big room for improvement.
via Asian Junkie
preview the album (LINK)
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