I need to talk about Mamamoo’s new mini-album Yellow Flower. Isn’t it just wonderful? I’ve loved these beagles for a little over a year now, and while I was rather late to the club (they debuted almost four years ago), they’ve been a constant presence among my most played, and I can barely go a day without listening to their music.
If you don’t know about them — they’re a four-piece girl group from South Korea, comprised of Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein, and Hwasa. They have a distinctive funk/r&b/pop vibe, but their latest album (and particularly the song Starry Night) takes inspiration from what they call ‘chill house,’ and has a Spring concept Hwasa describes as ‘yellow mellow.’ They are known for their strong vocals and energetic stage presence, and it was initially their charisma and playfulness on Korean variety shows that drew me towards them.
Yellow Flower is their sixth extended play (or mini-album) since their debut, and they plan to release another three to represent all of the seasons, and in turn all of the members (Yellow Flower is Hwasa’s record). It’s probably my most favourite release from them thus far, and has a delectable assortment of tracks. The lead song is Starry Night, but the first track to be unveiled was Paint Me.
Paint Me is a powerful vocal piece and is quite prominent among fans as one of few tracks in which Moonbyul displays her singing talent (she is usually the rapper of the group). It was great as a single, but I think it fits even better as the closing song of the album. I’m certainly no music scholar and cannot elaborate on the composition or components of the piece to any fine degree, but the song just works for me.
I was listening to it whilst on the train that other day, watching the world go by, and it took me back to those youthful days where I would stay up all night and listen to music in the dark. Some tracks seemed to take on a new degree of emotion in the depths of the night — with no sight and no external noise or activity, it was just me and the music.
That day on the train — me and the empty carriage, sullen winter fields passing by — with Paint Me as the soundtrack, it really felt like a moment. I was hit by this astonishing sensation, which is difficult to adequately express. It was as though my mind had, for a moment, cleansed itself and I tapped into a perspective more serene and wholesome than usual. I guess I felt inspired, to put it simply. When a three and a half minute song can make even one person feel such a way… that’s just masterful.
Starry Night has gone on to be the most successful song from the album, which is, in itself, a stunning track that I feel diverges fantastically from more conventional Korean popular music, but I certainly felt more emotional resonance and depth with Paint Me. Even then, there’s so much more to the album. Star Wind Flower Sun is a passionate ballad in which all the members absolutely shine, and Hwasa’s solo track Be Calm is a soothing piece that displays well her remarkable vocals. Then there is Rude Boy and Spring Fever which, while not my favourites, are still excellent songs that I would be silly to skip. Even the twenty second outtake From Winter to Spring, which serves as the album opener, has so much charm.
Yellow Flower may be their sixth extended play, alongside one full album, but I feel as though Mamamoo still have a wealth of fresh concepts and sounds ready to divulge. There is seemingly no end to their layers, and I can’t wait for everything to come.