Review

Song Review: Mamamoo – Wanna Be Myself

One of my absolute favorite Mamamoo songs is 2016’s Woo Hoo, which wasn’t promoted as a title track at all. Instead, it was a CF release, tied to the release of LG’s G5 mobile phone. Sometimes, not having to conform to title track expectations frees a song. Composers don’t necessarily have to have choreography or concept in mind, which allows for greater focus on aspects like melody and musical continuity. Such is the case with new track Wanna Be Myself, a tie-in with sportswear brand Andar.

As with many recent K-pop tracks, Wanna Be Myself uses disco as a jumping-off point, but modernizes the genre with an energy more suited to 2020. This includes the kind of hazy synths I often compare to runny watercolors. Thankfully, this oft-heard arrangement is complimented by the inspired addition of strings. This element brings a needed drama to the verses, which are otherwise pretty forgettable.

Wanna Be Myself’s high point is its chorus, which pulses on slinky percussion, airy vocals and descending swoops of disco strings. There’s a brightness to this hook that never feels cloying or over-the-top. It’s effortlessly cool in the way that much of Mamamoo’s discography is, but still allows for some personality to poke through. I love the bouncy keys in the background, and actually think they could have been used more prominently. But lately, I’ve been craving a bit of piano rave in K-pop, so that might just be my bias talking. All in all, Wanna Be Myself eclipses its standing as an advertisement and comes across as a satisfying Mamamoo track in its own right.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25


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12 thoughts on “Song Review: Mamamoo – Wanna Be Myself

  1. For a song that is about having character, from a group that has so much character, it is rather lackluster.

    Another me me me song. They are so about being myself these days, being their own individuals, that they don’t really sing with each other anymore. Or barely appear in the same MV anymore, or in the same dance. Sure, for some parts they are in the same frame, but are they really dancing together? We have come a long way from Decalcomanie.

    I didn’t realize before now that it is actually a CF for all the sports bras and leggings they are wearing, so the costumes make a bit more sense.

    The song itself is OK, somewhere in the low 7’s for me.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Mamamoo have not had a new song since last November, and now we get a CF, yay, woo hoo! See what I did there 🙂

    This song surprised me, for a CF, it actually is decent, maybe I will listen to it for a week before tossing it aside. I would not be surprised if it appears on an upcoming album in the next two months or so.

    I may write a review on it today or tomorrow (hopefully)

    Like

  3. I love this! The UK Garage influence in the verses sold me – so much of this year’s disco revival has felt… fun, but toothless. The skip in the percussion adds just enough edge to help this stand out.

    Like

  4. I have yet to really fall in love with any Mamamoo full-group singles post-Decalcomanie.
    (I love Moonbyul’s Eclipse.)
    It’s not just ditching the retro swing that’s hurt them, imho.
    It’s just that everything they’ve gotten is overly beholden to trends, glossy and toothless.
    I swear I love the group, but they’ve become something of my favorite demonstration of why the discourse on K-Pop vocals is largely pointless: they have some of the most talented, characteristic vocals in the industry, but without strong songs to channel those, it’s really for nothing.
    (Meanwhile, people will drag other groups for being unable/unwilling to sing live. I’m just like, fuck that, half of your Spotify playlists are probably occupied by their songs anyway. Lmao.)

    That said, I’ll give this a couple of days. I think this might be as close as they’ve gotten to something I love in a long, long time. I like this enough, I hope this liking actually lasts this time, because I miss really falling in love with a Mamamoo song.
    (I thought Hip would be it, but the song did not age well. I blame the lack of an actual melodic hook…)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hip didn’t age well for me either, despite my initial excitement for it. Their earlier stuff has aged so well, though. I LOVE Mr. Ambiguous, Piano Man, You’re The Best, Woo Hoo and Decalcomanie. I also consider Memory to be a holiday classic.

      Ah, to have that Mamamoo back!

      Liked by 3 people

        • Same here! Hip did stick with me for a bit, but I still like all their ‘older’ material better. This song isn’t doing it for me either, unfortunately.

          Like

    • I feel you. At this point I cheer them on from the sidelines, happy for their widespread recognition but hoping they’ll dip back into the retro niche they carved for themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The beginning of the chorus ( “Sesange jeonghaejin gijuneun eopseo” )reminds me of a 90’s or 00’s song, DON’T RECALL WHAT SONG IS please someone help?

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