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.