[Album Review] reality in BLACK (2nd Studio Album) – Mamamoo

Mamamoo is nominated for in 3 different categories (Best Female Group, Best Vocals, Best Female Choreography), while Hwasa is nominated for Best New Female Soloist and Best Solo Choreography for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support Mamamoo, Hwasa and your other favourite artists!!!

Mamamoo made their comeback two weeks ago with their second studio album, reality in BLACK (where BLACK is an acronym for Bless Life and Carry Knowledge). Their concept this time around showed us what the members of Mamamoo would be like if they were not part of Mamamoo in multiple universes. It is a very interesting concept that you should also check out in the music video below. HIP is the title track from this album, which also features their Queendom final track, Destiny (links all below). In addition to these 2 tracks, there are 9 other songs on the album. So let’s check them out!

reality in BLACK Album Cover

1. Destiny (우린 결국 다시 만날 운 명 이었지)Click here to read the full review for Destiny. (10/10)

2. Universe Universe is a straightforward pop track that has a nice pleasant melody and fun beat to it. It might not sound like there is anything special within the track if you just gloss over this track. But a more in depth listen to the song will yield awesome vocals, catchy vocals and an easy-going rap segment courtesy of Moonbyul. Two things caught my attention. This is very smooth, compared to songs released/promoted currently. Also, I really like how they personalise their songs. In Universe, they subtly incorporated their names into the lyrics, which I somehow managed to pick up within the first listen (Note: my Korean isn’t good). (8/10)

3. Ten Nights (열 밤) – The first ballad on the album is Ten Nights. And per any Mamamoo track (let alone ballad), the song features breathtaking vocals that captivate you. I honestly felt like it was well-suited for drama OST. The instrumental is standard for a ballad, so most of the appeal is made through their vocal work. Both Moonbyul and Solar’s high note really shocked me. I think Moonbyul’s high note was her first on stage ever, while Solar’s caught me off guard for a moment. Both Wheein and Hwasa were enthralling as well. The harmonies during the bridge between Solar/Hwasa and Wheein/Moonbyul was another highlight worth mentioning. (10/10)

4. HIP (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of HIP. (9/10)

5. 4x4ever 4x4ever is a very strong song. It makes sense as the song is all about self-empowerment, which is definitely one of Mamamoo’s domains. I really like the textures that the song features. From the heavy nature and crunchy rock elements found in the instrumentation, the breathy and raspy vocals and a rap sequence that aligns itself with the hip-hop genre, everything was powerful on its own and really worked together well to amplify this. It is a great track to listen to, but I wish there were one or two catchier hooks in this song. (9/10)

6. BetterBetter is decent 90s vibe track. I don’t hate it, but it isn’t my ‘go-to’ track on this album. I just prefer it when Mamamoo does something with a little more definition or oomph (if you understand what I mean). While the vocal work was awesome (Solar’s high notes and the member’s adlibs, as some examples in this song), I thought the melody was a little forgettable. I wished they did something more with the verses, which should have been better aligned with the powerful nature of their vocals during the chorus. (7/10)

7. Hello Mama – The second ballad of the album is Hello Mama. It is a ballad, with a jazzy influence, which I thought was nice. The member keeps their vocals from going into ‘powerful’ mode, which I think it is very fitting for the style. It feels like something that would have come from the 30s or be a theme song for someone with a well-known elegant image. It was beautiful to an extent. I just wished they dropped the rapping because it felt out of place in this track. But apart from that, it was good. (7.5/10)

8. ZzZz (심심해) – The title of the song essentially refers to being ‘bored’. And I thought the lyrics of the song encompassed this theme very well. It features a quirky instrumental, made of instruments that you wouldn’t find in a standard song. And while it is quirky, I found it very interesting that the energy levels of this song was kept down to a minimum (which in hindsight does go well with the title and lyrics). It is almost like the quirky moments of the instrumentation was made due to the sheer boredom, while the producers were lying down on the floor or half their body was hanging off their bed. The melodies were nice and pleasant. (8/10)

9. rEALITY – The next track on the album is the reggae influenced rEALITY. But the reggae influence is not strong, and nor do I find anything too special about the instrumentation. Instead, it is the vocals that do most of the appealing in this track. I really like how they brought different textures within their voices to the song, giving each section a unique and different feel, relatively to what we had already heard in the song. I really like Hwasa’s ‘I’m Fine, I’m Hurt’ line that follows the chorus. It felt very loaded, despite the instrumental being stripped back to nothing and Hwasa singing that line very softly each time. (8/10)

10. High Tension (춤을 취)High Tension is a groovy and jazzy R&B number. The song contains good vocals and rapping. Harmonies are probably High Tension’s strongest point. The instrumental also pushed along nicely. But other than that, there wasn’t anything worth pointing out, honestly. It is a standard track and probably my personal pick for the track to skip over on the album. (6/10)

11. I’m Your Fan I’m Your Fan has a very addictive and alluring beat, despite it being like any other pop track we have listened to. I liked how the chorus continued with instrumental of the verse with very little fuss or added elements, keeping the song relatively consistent. There was a mini breakdown in the middle of the song, which I did like, which gave the song a break from becoming too consistent and overly tiring over multiple listens. The song’s main hook has to be the ‘I’m Your Fan, Your Fan, Your Fan’, which followed the chorus and provided a cute element to the song through its autotune. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

reality in BLACK Teaser Image

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