Girl group Mamamoo have slowly been inching their way into the major leagues of k-pop. Their sound is unique among their peers, opting for an old-fashioned mix of soul and r&b in a world of trendy production techniques and concepts. This approach can only succeed with true talent at the helm, and Mamamoo are a powerhouse of vocal and charisma. New single Décalcomanie feels like their big moment.
Décalcomanie (데칼코마니) refers to a French decorative technique, and is where we derive the word “decal.” It’s an oddly obscure title for a single, and belies the song’s immense mainstream appeal. Built on stomping percussion, the track uses raw, rootsy instrumentation as the driving factor for its verses. But it’s during the propulsive chorus that Décalcomanie truly shines. With a sweeping, powerful burst of brass and drums, the gargantuan refrain feels like Mamamoo going full Beyonce. It’s as cathartic a melody as they’ve ever given us, and a case of the instrumentation finally matching the strength of their vocals.
In this way, Décalcomanie feels like a natural climax to the string of singles the girls have given us over the past few years. It may lack some of the viral charm of their more attitude-infused tracks, but it more than makes up for that with its complete distillation and evolution of their sound. Even the brief sprinkles of rap verses (while always fun), feel completely tied to the song’s overall arc rather than shoehorned in. It’s not as if the girls needed to prove themselves, but Décalcomanie absolutely confirms their spot as a vital force in modern k-pop.