Sunday, July 15, 2012

Single of the Week: GLAM - "Party (XXO)"

To say I had high expectations for GLAM would be an understatement -- my expectations for them went through the roof ever since I watched their MTV reality show. (Which, may I say, was very well-done -- but that's for another post ;D) You have an idol group five girls who all have voices, two of them outstanding and the others with their own individual merits aside from voices, under an agency with considerable stature in the industry (2AM, etc.) -- does that not sound familiar?

Yes, my friends, GLAM is probably the closest we will ever get to a female DBSK.

"Party (XXO)" isn't ground-breaking, it isn't making me worship the songwriter or anything, but if you will recall, neither was "Hug". What those two songs have in common though, is that they are the formula, the quintessential idol group song -- done right, and with just that much more musicality. Of course debut singles have to be good, but over and above that, they have to show off the group as well as possible, and open as many doors for the future.

From the very beginning, the harmonies are there to go and say "hey, listen to us, we actually have voices" -- they're pretty generic and cheap around the edges, but the thing to pay attention to is that they don't sound like computer-generated harmonies, nor do they sound like one girl singing all parts just thrown together during post-prod. The harmonies have body, body only a group dynamic can give.

Those soft, but confident harmonies are immediately contrasted with a short rap part, before going straight into Gahee's solo. I didn't like her voice the first time I heard it (when they were auditioning for the Jokwon duet), but as a whole, the verses match all the girls sing it, and they're delivered with both grace and conviction. The verses also add that (bearable) "cute" dimension, without losing the technical proficiency we're going for on this song.

The chorus is gorgeous, and again, it sounds very simple and cutesy, but listen to it closer, those "dips"/"scoops" require trained, talented voices to pull off, and control. Give that to another useless idol group member and those dips won't even exist. The hook is melodic but catchy in it's own way, and again, those harmonies make it so, so much better.

And while all of that is happening, you have one of the most epicly Swedish instrumentals going on -- with bass you can actually feel, and gorgeous yet subtle synths. And really, as a whole the instrumental is extremely subtle, stepping in only when needed, and just sitting back and letting the girls do their thing, and do it well.

Add everything together and listening to it is such a pleasure because from the song alone you know these girls know exactly what to do, and you know they love it. There is nothing more effortless than talent laced with conviction.

I wouldn't call "Party (XXO)" the greatest thing since anything, but I give it high marks because it's extremely effective in showcasing everything that matters with GLAM. Vocal proficiency, femininity, conviction and sheer talent.

This, I believe, is a slap in the face to every female idol group who ever tried to do soft and feminine but confident, and failed. GLAM could very well be my new favorite girl group, if they manage to keep this up.


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