Another day late review! This time the review is for Mamamoo, who have made their first comeback as a full group since HIP (which was released around the time last year). Headlining this comeback is AYA, the title track from their tenth mini-album, Travel, and it follows the release of their pre-release track, Dingga two weeks ago. It may have been the first group comeback for the ladies, but it isn’t really the first time we have seen each of the members. Solar made her solo debut with Spit It Out, while Moonbyul and Hwasa made their solo comebacks with Eclipse and Maria. So it has been a busy year for the group since their last comeback, nonetheless.
Since HIP was such a successful song for the group, I was wondering how they were going to top that release. It was going to be one difficult feat. After many repeats of their new title track, I don’t think AYA even comes anywhere close to overthrowing HIP as one of their best tracks ever, if I was to be completely honest. This is because AYA noticeably lacks hooks. I was dying to hear a catchy moment but that was never delivered. That is what made HIP so addictive. Here AYA just keeps on giving us really nice melodies and vocal work. But it never went back to a central line to really establish itself, if you know what I mean. Likewise, it lacked a chorus that could have acted as a central point to return to. The pan-flute sequence is probably the closest form we get to a chorus in this song. By all means, that the lack of chorus or hooks wasn’t frustrating. The member did manage to give us another stunning song. But it just needed that foundation or ‘safety net’ as I might call it to go back to. So what makes AYA stunning? Well the vocal work was quite nice. It isn’t their most vocally charged song nor does it feel much of a statement. But the vocal work compliments the exotic nature of AYA. I like how Moonbyul’s rapping adds stability to the song. And this exotic nature was definitely a really captivating piece of music to listen to. The change up for the last half a minute of the song was very interesting. If you were becoming bored of the exotic flair that AYA had going on in the first three minutes, then they will surprise you with the change in tone. Overall, the song lacks a fundamental element. This impacts the song, but Mamamoo still manages to make do.
To match the exotic flair of the song, the music video goes with a visual concept of the same calibre. I am wondering if each of the characters that the members play in the music video are there for a distinct meaning. I have yet to find a theory explaining the music video or the characters, as I feel that the outfits Wheein is wearing during some parts of the video, Moonbyul’s archery shooting character, Solar’s monobrow character and Hwasa’s character decked out in leather and knocking out teeth are there for a reason (I do note that the latter was mentioned briefly in the lyrics). Other than that, I enjoyed the detailed sets and the emphasis on the golden hue throughout the video. Definitely fitting for the concept and these Queens.
The choreography for this comeback is definitely elegant and looks quite stylish. I really like how the member embraced their sensuality in this performance, which makes everything a lot more captivating. I also liked that despite how intense the final moments of the song got, the performance still went in well with the rest of the choreography and retained that exotic and sensual flair.
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.1/10