[Review] MAMAMOO don’t quite find the right fit with Latin pop on “Egotistic”

After kicking off the year with the colorful music video for power ballad Paint Me, MAMAMOO have embarked on a release schedule centered around colors and seasons. March gave us “Yellow Flower” and the folksy EDM of “Starry Night, and now the girls have moved onto ‘red’ summer with the Latin-pop of “Egotistic

Upon first listen, it’s clear that there’s more meat on “Egotistic”’s bones than the instrumental-focused “Starry Night”. The song has a dynamic structure, drawing a strong balance between its impressive production and MAMAMOO’s enviable vocals. Opening with a brief flourish of Latin guitar, the first verse gradually builds as more percussive elements are added to the mix. This culminates in the chorus’s resounding stomp, which blends the girls’ voices for a chant-like hook that is hard to resist.

As much as the Latin trend seems to be taking hold in K-pop, I’m not sure that it’s a perfect match for MAMAMOO. The girls can carry just about any genre, but “Egotistic”’s beat-driven structure doesn’t allow them much opportunity to unleash the kind of harmony and power notes that made their earlier work so idiosyncratic. Beyond the standout chorus, too much of the track feels like set-up. This set-up is beautiful and sultry, but I’d prefer more engaging verses that better matched the energy of “Egotistic”‘s hook. 2016’s Decalcomanie felt like a masterclass on how to achieve this sense of structural tension, but I’m concerned that MAMAMOO’s music is starting to favor trendiness over careful song construction.

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