With SME’s power female solo releasing her 6th Korean album Hurricane Venus August 5, 2010, the new kpop listeners among us might be feeling alienated (or confused) by all the anxious waiting. Though it’s almost impossible to come up with a short Starter Kit for her, here’s what we’ve got:
BoA started in the hiphop R&B genre, but over the ten years of her career, has ventured into both different music genres: the ballads, the rock, latin groove and the dance and electro pop, as well as different markets: Japan and America have both received her music.
BoA’s wikipedia page and those of her albums are comprehensive for those looking for the highlights of her career in both Korea and Japan. If interested in her Japanese singles, the wikipages keep track of her standing on the Oricon charts, a good basis for the impacts of her albums there. What we’ve put together here is the playlist, which, though, might be closer to a random sampling of her released singles than a thoughtful selection, is helpful in getting an idea of how BoA has grown as a vocalist, as a performer, and as a partaker in many different genres. We span the genres because a 10 year career means the BoA has immersed herself in the changes of pop music, and you can see her style change (quite drastically at times). We span the 10 years because it’s important to get the sense that BoA grew up in greater Korean society and the kpop scene. This means that her fan base is partly composed of those who’ve seen her grow up as a little sister (or as an older one), and these are the type to appreciate more her growth to the polished artist she’s become. On the other hand, they’re also the type to prefer a certain genre for her. Either way, there’s a lot of history (read both love and hate) between BoA and her fan base, that can only be understood by sampling her career chronologically. So without further ado, here it is:
THE PLAYLIST (the link is on our NEW kpopunwrapped youtube page): 01 ID; Peace B 02 “Don’t Start Now 03 기적 04 “No.1” 05 My Name 06 Moto 07 Girls on Top 08 Atlantis Princess 09 Shine We Are 10 My Prayer 11 Stay in Love 12 Winter Love 13 Valenti 14 Do the Motion 15 Sweet Impact 16 Universe (ft. Kay and Verbal) 17 Eat You Up 18 永遠 19 Love Letter 20 Game
- “ID; Peace B“, “Don’t Start Now“, “기적“, “No.1“: BoA was 13 when she released “ID, Peace B”, so factor that in when you watch the MV’s. Upbeat songs with lots of violins, you can see the R&B influence (think Destiny’s Child). “No.1” is one of tracks that gets her compared to Britney Spears vocally, but BoA, even then, had the better falsetto.
- “My Name“, “Moto” and “Girls on Top“: “My Name” sounds a lot like a Nelly song, and “Moto” and “Girls on Top” have the Janet Jackson vibe to them. As dance tracks, “Moto” and “Girls on Top” are songs where BoA’s voice carries the songs, having gained both character and polish. And of course, her dancing has gotten almost perfect.
- “Atlantis Princess“, “Shine We Are“: Essential BoA bubble gum pop. I like “Atlantis Princess” a lot. Though “Shine We Are” is a good song also, it’s around 2 minutes too long.
- “My Prayer“, “Stay in Love“, and “Winter Love“: BoA’s ballads, which I believe she’s always done well. “Stay in Love” is my favorite where she has great control of her falsettos.
- “Valenti“, “Do the Motion“, “Sweet Impact“, “Universe (ft. Kay and Verbal)”, and “Eat You Up“: These show the range of genres she’s gotten into. “Valenti”, her most successful song in Japan has the latin vibe, guitars and everything, though because of its weak verses, I prefer the Sade/Santa influenced “Do the Motion” (though her voice does get whiny in some parts). “Sweet Impact” is her tribute to Michael Jackson (so the MV is quite essential), and it somehow fits the jpop genre quintessentially. It has a pretty addictive chorus. “Universe” is actually a pretty decent funk song despite it being kind of out there in terms of BoA’s usuals. “Eat You Up” was the carrier single to her American album. It comes up quite horrible because I don’t think the verses turn out well despite a catchy chorus (I can actually forgive the autotune, though I may be in the minority).
- “永遠 (Eien)” and “Love Letter“: These last two are my favorites, fitting in the R&B genre, but show a more sophisticated BoA.
- “Game“: from her latest album, though it’s not the carrier single, I’m already quite addicted to it, despite the video. samkpopsal’s review will be on here soon!
Over at boajjang they offer some biased (but still helpful) reviews of some of her albums.
Lastly, we leave you with the teaser for her next single: Hurricane Venus. I think I am actually going to bust out my 3d glasses for when it comes out.
Of course, this is just one experience of BoA, so leave a comment and share with us your favoriete BoA anecdotes, performances and songs