[Review] ILLELLA – MAMAMOO

Let’s knock out some reviews for some new and recent releases. And there is a lot of them this week. First up, I am covering MAMAMOO, one of my favourite KPOP of all times. So far this year, it has been fairly quiet on the group front with all members focusing on their solo careers via solo comebacks and collaborations. Slowly, the group turned towards group activities, beginning with the Mamamoo+ subunit consisting of Solar and Moonbyul, whom collaborated with Big Naughty with Better (yet to be reviewed). Now, the group has returned to group promotions as a full group with the release of ILLELLA and their 12th mini-album, Mic On.

For me, ILLELLA feels like a return to form for the group. Since the release of AYA in 2020, I felt the group hasn’t really been showing themselves off as much in their title tracks. While each song did have their individual charm (even though I didn’t realize it at the time of review), I do miss the days when MAMAMOO performed a meaty song with thanks to their vocals. With ILLELLA, the group definitely delivered strong vocals that had bite to them. And with a song that has some nice percussive bass, I feel that ILLELLA has proved itself to be what I have been craving for. Sure, ILLELLA is still a length away from being the group’s best track. But it still does a decent job of throwing itself up there. The biggest charm of ILLELLA alongside the vocals is that it features a dose of reggae influence, which adds some zing to the pop that features as an underlay in the song’s instrumentation. The biggest flaw, on the other hand, is the fact that the song sounds repetitive, which is probably thanks to that guitar riff and the way the hooks were looped. It dries up the song, which is disappointing. I wished the song had done something more to dispel this repetitiveness. Potentially, having an instrumental piece of song kind earlier in the song and that dance break we got as part of the music video but not the official audio would have been great addition to ILLELLA. It was quite unique and the broke the song up decently. The way it used the ILLELLA hook and glitched it was rather intriguing. This would also been quite an addition to help prove to others that MAMAMOO can indeed perform a more complicated routine. But overall, ILLELLA hits the spot.

I quite enjoyed most of the music video. It is one of those videos that makes the members look good, with the standard formula of closeups and choreography shots. The outdoor scenes with the colourful outfits, the more brown and earthy tones brought forward through their fitness wear choreography scenes, the different solo shots we got of the members, the black leather outfits (Solar looked so good in that dress!) – there were definitely many scenes where the group looked amazing. The biggest no-no for me was when the members were on top of the car, driving down that city-pop highway. It just felt so cheesy and forced. The truck dance break was also pretty bad conceptually, but it was bearable (as the video reverts to that proper dance set).

The song definitely had rhythm, and you can feel it in the accompanying choreography for this comeback. I liked how the members also really embraced the reggae and used it to their full advantage to give us a sensual performance piece. I also really liked how the dancers added to the stage performance, allowing the group to focus on their live aspect of their performance.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

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