[Review] Where Are We Now – Mamamoo

Mamamoo is the next big name group to make their return this week. So far this year, we haven’t heard too much from Mamamoo. This might be due to the fact the members were renewing contracts with RBW. Currently, all members aside from Wheein have confirmed to have resigned with their company, with Wheein’s contract still being negotiated. That being said, we have seen some of the members since their promotions of AYA and Dingga at the end of last year. Solar has released an OST track for the Korean drama Vincenzo, Wheein made her comeback with her first solo mini-album and the track water color and Moonbyul collaborated with Bumkey for the single The Lady. On Wednesday, the group made their comeback with their 11th mini-album, WAW and the single Where Are We Now.

For a group who is known for their amazing and power vocals, it is pretty interesting that this is Mamamoo’s first full-fledged title track that is also a ballad. They did release Paint Me in 2018 as single, but it didn’t get the same promotional treatment as Where Are We Now. The new song was initially breathtaking as Paint Me, showcasing the group’s vocals abilities in an undeniable sense. The song starts off with Hwasa’s husky vocals and piano/guitar backdrop, before we are introduced to the lightness with Wheein’s vocals. And this is all followed by Solar’s soaring vocals. I really like how they keep the song grounded, despite all the lightness and high notes we do get. It brings the song back to a stable point and allows for the thrill of the same lightness effect and high notes to return as we listen to the song some more. But let’s skip back a few sentences. I stated that ‘The new song was initially breathtaking…’. Key word in this statement is ‘initially’. It came off as breathtaking the first time I listened to it for sure, but I think the effect has worn off with multiple listens. Sure, the song is still captivating. But with multiple listens, I am pretty familiar with the song and yet I find myself preparing for the disappointment that comes in the song’s second verse. And that disappointment has to be Moonbyul’s rapping. It isn’t her style or delivery that I find disappointed. I just find the rapping to be an ill-fit for Where Are We Now. I wished Moonbyul had stuck to singing like the rest of the members, and showed off some vocals like in 10 Nights. I am not looking for Moonbyul to replicate her high note that from example song, but I think Where Are We Now would have sounded better full of vocals rather than with a rap sequence. I also think Moonbyul could have been given more parts and not be confined to just the second verse. Overall Where Are We Now had potential to be grander, if it hadn’t conform to the need for a rap sequence as per most KPOP songs.

There was a mix of elegance and casual visuals throughout the video for each the members. But regardless of which scenes fell along the spectrum of elegant and casual, they all came together to make this a really beautiful video to watch, complimenting the same captivating feeling that the song had. While I tend to not like the moody colours filter that was applied throughout the video, I felt that the moody colour tone was expected to fit the ballad genre. The most stunning scene has to be the one where they are in their white dresses, surrounded by the revolving lights. The birds-eye view shot we got with the lights started twinkling was amazing to watch, and appropriately matched the peak of the song.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

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