MAMAMOO have made their comeback with “Decalcomanie“, which is the origin word of “decal”. They ended up doing a quality job of mixing their old sound with new twists, but the music video was … interesting.
From the start, it was clear the vocals were going to be an important part of this track. They are so prominent throughout that the instrumental definitely ends up taking a backseat most of the time, which I actually found rather unfortunate.
The instrumental felt like something we’ve heard from them over and over, which is good in that I know a MAMAMOO song when I hear it, but can also be bad in that it runs the risk of meshing together. I began to think about that about “Decalcomanie” as well when it started with the clapping effects. However, what stood out to me was the bass strings and the tempo at which it was played, because it made the verses sound almost like something out of a Western. That was a rather new feeling for me while listening to K-pop and I thought it was evidence that they were evolving in terms of using their older sound but mixing in new elements to create something fresh.
As I mentioned, though, that was overridden for most of the track, with MAMAMOO giving the middle finger to subtlety and belting a lot. The same goes for the production, which seemingly choose to highlight vocal volume over everything else. It’s only appropriate then that the chorus was a whole lot of vocal yelling, and though there was no real hook or earworm melody, it did end up having a choral effect that reminded me of something performed at the end of a musical.
That kind of stuff can be hit or mess with me, and the overall package didn’t quite come together this time around. That was definitely reinforced after the oddly timed interlude that was basically a jazz club breakdown.
The music video had an interesting look and a solidly executed concept with the symbolism, and I especially liked the parts of the choreography that used mirroring effectively.
Again, though, the breakdown was just … weird?
And this part was just plain uncomfortable to watch.
I mean, at least they all looked great?
In the end, what it came down to with “Decalcomanie” was that MAMAMOO downplayed the strengths (the verse instrumental and mirrored choreo) and emphasized the weaknesses (vocal belting and weird kissing scenes), and the rest of the track wasn’t catchy or memorable enough to compensate for it.