BoA’s “Jazzclub” is a surprisingly convincing take on electro swing

Having released over seventy (!) singles, there aren’t many genres that BoA hasn’t tackled. But the electro swing of “Jazzclub” is definitely a new one. The single comes from her upcoming Japanese album, which will be her first full-length in any country since 2015. I can’t imagine that the entire thing will sound as distinctive as “Jazzclub”, but it’s fantastic to see an artist of her stature continuing to experiment.

From its opening moments, the brassy loop of “Jazzclub” sets the mood. The song feels like a hybrid between straightforward dance track and glitzy musical. I wouldn’t have imagined BoA’s tone to be a suitable match for this, but her performance is very much up to the challenge. The song’s verses are relatively straightforward, but made much more interesting by the constant vamping in the background. It’s the audio equivalent to a chorus line, weaving in and out of the track with breathy aplomb.

If the verses offer a taster, the chorus of “Jazzclub” dives headfirst into the song’s jazzy, vaudevillian theme. BoA lends the hook a sly modulation that transforms the titular refrain into its own addictive riff. It all climaxes in a gorgeous centerpiece of drum fills, percussive piano and — believe it over not — scat singing. That this all works is a testament to BoA’s commitment to the material. “Jazzclub” may feel like a bit of a novelty, meaning that you probably have to be in a certain mood to fully enjoy it, but it’s the most fun we’ve seen her having in quite awhile. Few artists could pull this off quite as convincingly.

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