BoA: The First Album

BoA
BoA: The First Album
March 17, 2009
Billboard 200: #127
SM Entertainment USA / Arsenal

After a very long haitus for such things as Company shows and finals, I’m back with a very overdue review of BoA’s BoA: The First Album.

Most of my readers, if I have any (lol), know about BoA but if you don’t I’ll fill you in. At age 13 she was discovered by South Korean music jaggernaut SM Entertainment. Under the wing of Lee Soo Man, the head of SM, she bridged South Korea and Japan in a fan of music and dancing for the last decade with such huge hits as VALENTI, BEST of SOUL, and [Meri Kuri]. She began to crossover into Chinese territory when she apparently put her foot down and decided to come to America. This is her debut album. The girl can dance, sing, and act while being stunningly beautiful and lacking the sluttiness of Western artists (and Eastern artists for that point, ahem, Kuu). Anyway, BoA’s kind of the shit and if you like dance music, you’ll like her.

BoA doesn’t kid around with the dance music. It’s straight and never lets up with the heavily synthesized vocals or beats. BoA is dominated by producers like Bloodshy & Avant, Henrik Jonback, and Sean Garrett which give the album an interesting sound; blending hip-hop, dance pop, and electonica (if this sounds familiar, that’s because Namie Amuro’s been doing it for five years but without the slick production of the Swedish or the Americans). But what Amuro lacks is BoA’s vocals even if as of late they seem more strained and nasal, perhaps because of the foreigns sounds of English, but she is definitely getting better with her third language.

Track-wise, BoA gives us four exciting dance tracks that stand out from the seven other dance tracks. Firstly, [I Did It for Love] is a post-modern electronic bash of synthesizer and drum machine. The song centers around a girl who has changed everything about herself for a guy and realizes she’s lost herself in the love and it’s hurting her. Sean Garrett, who’s featured on the track (and produced it, for that matter) gives an apologetic voice to the man, but BoA’s delivery helps keep the focus. [Eat You Up], the lead single from the album, is a dark club banger with penetrating synth and a killer chorus. The double entendre of the titular phrase the song gave it the boost it needed, the song was #6 on Billboard’s Club Airplay chart.

GaGa-ish [Obsessed] features, wait for it, more synth; but the song has that thumping beat that makes it perfect for hip swaying, so dance-able it is. A perfect mid-track for the album that leads into perhaps the most credible beat on the album. [Touched] features heavy 808 and music box sounds that throw such a hard hip-hop curve at the album it almost comes from left field. Her accent here is more controlled and she sounds like a stronger voiced Keri Hilson and pulls off excellently what should be the next single off this album.

Other good songs include [Did Ya] a great throwback track with great lyrics and hook, Britney Spears’ throwaway [Look Who’s Talking], and another club hit [Dress Off]. The album ends with an electonric art song called [Hypnotic Dancefloor] which features dizzying synth and more 808.

The good thing about synth and 808 is that those two things can be so completely different from song to song and I thankfully never feel as if BoA is repeating itself. Each track is separate but cohesive and completely lacking any music challenge (unless you count the accent), but if you are looking to dance this is the album of the year.

A-
Four Stars

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~ by vinyabarion on May 15, 2009.

5 Responses to “BoA: The First Album”

  1. Of course you have readers. We’re all just unhappy because you post so rarely these days XD. Oh, and in regards to the album review…

    Agreed x 1000

    Definitely the best dance record Ive heard in ages. It’s a shame it’s so short. (and that the English Version of Girls on Top is so average.) I love nearly every track, particularly Eat You Up and Hypnotic Dancefloor.

    Most people who chance upon it seem to love it as well. When I played the two aforementioned songs on my college campus, both were nicely-recieved.

    Quite a breath of fresh air from the still great, but vanillaness of her recent Japanese songs. (With exceptions, of course)

  2. I so agree with you about Touched. I love it, I love this album.
    BoA’s American debut is definitely a perfect dance album. The tracks are just so infectious, I was hooked immediately.
    Scream is the only ‘ok’ track on this album. I hope she becomes a sensation here, she deserves it.

  3. It’s comforting to see that people are actually liking this album. as for me? I thought this album was mediocre, and unprofessional. I hate how her voice is synthed in EVERY song, so you can’t hear her otiginal voice. Even Girls On Top, which originally hadn’t had her voice synthesized, now had become electronic. it all sounds so fake, and i really hate it. I also think that with the start of her American debut with an all dance album is risky. i was expecting at least one ballad here, but nope. the only songs i find horribly cathy are Did it for Love and Energetic (i can’t stop dancing to that one!) I only like Look Who’s Talking when she sings it live, and Eat You Up when someone is dancing to it.
    i really hope she does amazing here, though. i need to go check the charts…

    oh, and of course i read your reviews :D i just lost the internet for about a year, and had forgotten the website URL ^_^;

  4. What a long hiatus. Ha ha

  5. i was waiting for you to write a review for BoA’s English album. I have to agree that this is one of the most cohesive dance albums this year. I thought it was alot better that Lady Gaga’s The fame,which was pretty good. my main concern is the digitizing of her voice, it seems more like they’re limiting her vocally cos this girl can sing, an i think that only obsessed and Dress off showed that

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