K-Pop A-Z

K-Pop A-Z Review: EXO – Mama

One song. Every day. Alphabetical order.

Keep up with EXO’s A-Z reviews here!

Mama (from Mama – 2012)

It would not be an overstatement to say that Mama was the song that cemented my love for K-pop. I’d dabbled with idol fare before, but this song’s bombastic mixture of Gregorian chants, heavy metal dance breaks and rock opera fervor proved too dynamic to ignore. It remains one of the most idiosyncratic debuts in K-pop, fighting against so many ideas of what we think a big pop single should be. This is SM Entertainment at their most grandiose, wrapping earth-shaking power vocals around a militant kick and jittery strings. And this is all before we hit the absolute freak-out of a bridge, which moves from electric guitar dance break to shout-rap intensity without missing a step. Seven years on, and Mama stands as a staggering piece of work, as big and bold as K-pop can go.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10



4 thoughts on “K-Pop A-Z Review: EXO – Mama

  1. Mama makes me laugh. But in an affectionate way. It’s a real good example of the wonderful cheeziness K-pop has to offer, and of why I tend to like SM’s stuff. To me, SM is pushing forward all the time, trying new things and going places that aren’t known or safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, it’s been such a long time since I watched or listened to that. In retrospect, it’s really interesting to see how EXO debuted with such a strong trademark 2nd gen look (that eyeliner and hair!) and sound but so seamlessly transitioned into the trademarks of 3rd gen.


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