Saturday, October 13, 2012
Jewelry - "Look At Me"
The Jewelry sound has always been funky, slightly edgy and strong, but feminine at the same time. Not girly, not slutty -- feminine. It was the kind of music that wasn't really for the oppa fans, although it was still kind of for them, but in a sense, also for the female market. Sure, the songs were sexy and so was the choreography, but there has always been this air of nonchalance to their music -- like they were doing it for themselves as much as for the opposite sex. So basically this is the closest K-Pop has gotten to the "girl power" that other countries had.
But the one thing this EP has that legitimately surprised me was the level of cohesion. It's cohesive! That hardly happens in K-Pop. From start to finish, the production, the execution and the songs themselves -- they all sound like they come from one act, and they all sound like they come from Jewelry. Jewelry in 2012. The girls have really "found themselves" and found the Jewelry point with this EP, and I must say what they've found is pretty good. So good that they may very well be my favorite girl group of this year.
I've never really been a rap person, but "Rhythm HA!!!" was okay, and it made sense. It has that intensity, but sometimes I think the rapping turns into screaming, which I assume isn't a good thing in rap, because it's hardly ever a good thing anywhere. It just charges full speed ahead, which I think is a very apt intro for what's to come.
At first I thought "Me Too" was going to be another one of those stock ballads all these girl groups get, and in a sense the melody is, but the way they executed it with this pseudo-Jamaican sound was really smart. The melody alone is pretty boring, and the girls' vocals aren't exactly the most powerful, but the instrumental, and the arrangement of everything, managed to give the song a light shove. And that shove really translates into the song. It's a step below the quality of the two songs that came before, but it's also a welcome break from all the up tempos.
"Look At Me" as a whole is probably one of the best releases I've heard all year, and it's also the one I've enjoyed the most in the past few months. It's cohesive and it has it's own identity, but it's also extremely brave. It's that brevity in the repertoire, in the execution, that makes this album such a pleasure to listen to.