Review

Buried Treasure: YooA (Oh My Girl) – Diver

Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


Upon my first listen to YooA’s debut solo album, I was struck by how consistently solid it was. It can be hard to find K-pop albums that don’t just feel like a hodgepodge of disconnected styles and concepts. There’s a nice flow to Bon Voyage, but it’s not too samey either. The EDM-tinged Far is a standout example of a big, beat-drop chorus working well. Abracadabra is a great showcase for YooA’s charisma. But for me, the effusive retro-funk Diver is the album’s uncontested high point.

Back in 2016, Oh My Girl released a funky b-side called Knock Knock, which I’ve long considered an underappreciated gem in their discography. To me, Diver feels like a bigger, more assured version of that song. It’s incredibly groovy, unleashing layer upon layer of rhythm to create a bouncy sound that never lets up. Importantly, the track’s melody echoes this approach. It’s almost as percussive as its instrumental, even when it swoops into more elongated structures. Best of all, nothing about the production or arrangement feels canned. There’s a satisfying sense of fluidity to the whole thing, driven by that unyielding groove.

In this way, Diver reminds me of so many mid-80’s funk workouts. Its indelible sense of rhythm comes off as a modern interpretation of Wanna Be Startin’ Something, though the instrumental brings in chugging guitar to give it more of a live band feel. YooA is absolutely flawless as the track’s protagonist, offering a nimble performance that compliments the production without being overtaken by it. At nearly four minutes long, Diver allows itself a bit of indulgence – and with a groove this funky and polished, it could have easily run for a minute longer.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.25


~

15 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: YooA (Oh My Girl) – Diver

    • I don’t know man, I am really confused listening to her track it feels like 3 different people and heavily processed and the difference doesn’t make sense.

      Like

      • I think its that we have heard YooA so much in her high mixed voice and head voice, that these songs that are in her lower mixed and chest voice, well we have never heard this side of her voice before. OMG songs just aren’t placed as low as “Far” or “Abracadabra”, which aren’t low by western pop songs but low for kpop girl groups (with a few exceptions).

        And then for some but not all of the album, YooA also subtracts out the aegyo cute girl nasal sound. So on something like Abracadabra and Diver, where there is no aegyo, well, we haven’t heard this side of YooA either. And then the final track, “End of Story”, back to a higher placed song with aegyo, and more of what we would have expected from YooA.

        So I agree it is an interesting palette of timbres coming from YooA. Its neither here nor there for me, however, because I am not as big of a fan of “Diver” or the rest of the album anyway. “Diver” is at best low 8’s for me. Its alright. It sounds like a Pointer Sisters B-side to me.

        Like

        • Thinking about it, when WM trained them they probably had the ambition going into the English speaking market (i reject using “the west”), since they all seems to have this mode of conventional english pop singing and they pulled it off effortlessly in their recent collab, and they are actually the first group to start the round of girl group north america tours started 2019.

          That said one very different thing about pop vocal from things like opera is the emphasis on an identity of the vocal (see Yuqi, also one thing to note is that Chinese are very obsessed with this kind of voice), and the way they approach this seems contradict to this, not saying it is essentially a bad thing.

          Also it seems she has some problems going into higher notes that’s why the album is produced this way.

          Like

          • I don’t think YooA can’t go high fundamentally, I think she just hasn’t had to do low mid and high in the same song ever, and hasn’t exercised that ability much if ever. Granted, the high high notes in OMG ouevre are more usually sung by Hyojung or Seunghee (Closer – “Can you hear my cry!”), but OMG songs generally don’t break below middle C. All of them also have over time pulled their head voices down so they are hitting B’s and even A’s in head voice, as sopranos, where they should still be in a mixed voice. Take for example “Banana Allergy Monkey”, which is all in head voice for style, while the whole song really could be in almost all mixed voice. It only seems high.

            I think we are in general agreement in any case.

            OMG came to Atlanta, which is only … 10? 12? hours drive from me, and it was a Thursday evening, … so I didn’t go.

            Like

  1. Wow, I really need to listen to this album.

    FYI Nick and all, I have a new blog! Check it out and give thoughts on the reviews!

    From now on I will be posting under a new name. Probably ‘108ent’ or ’10-10 music’

    108ent.blogspot.com

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Also, Nick! Stray Kids put out their comeback mashup video and the instrumental in the background sounds so killer!! I really hope it is the instrumental for their title track because it’s exactly what I was waiting for since MIROH!! If you know anything about it please tell me, thanks.

    Like

  3. Oh, I didn’t expect this kind of song from the album teaser concepts! It took me by surprise, but in a good way.

    YooA’s vocals are bolder here than I’ve heard her in OMG songs. I should check out the rest of the album (haven’t even listened to the title track yet) and see if it also follows suit.

    Like

  4. This is pretty great! I love the energy/funk of this song. I also prefer this kind of vocal performance much to the thin head voice style that OMG often goes for stylistically in their songs.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.