It’s been about a year since Mamamoo returned as a full group, but the ladies have been keeping busy with solo projects. Now, they’ve debuted their first sub-unit. Mamamoo+ brings together Solar and Moonbyul. This release comes as a bit of a surprise, announced only days ago. Better is an inauspicious debut, opting for laid-back vibes rather than a fresh, dynamic sound.
This style of minimalist trap-pop feels slightly behind the trend, but it suits Mamamoo’s talents. Minus a super-strong melody, I’ve never been a big fan of this sound. There’s a fine line between chill, vibey music and a song that feels undercooked. Better has one sticky hook to its name, and it’s repeated often. I could see its chorus becoming an earworm, but the inert production doesn’t give it enough lift. This beat isn’t just subdued – it’s practically D.O.I.
Fortunately, Solar and Moonbyul bring plenty of vocal firepower to compensate for the sparseness of the instrumental. The harmonies sound great, delivering an airy texture that’s quite pleasant. It’s not enough to make Better stand out, but fans of this sound will enjoy getting lost in the soundscape. Way too much time is spent on Big Naughty’s rap verse, which feels too aggressively performed for such a laid-back track, and Better ends with a whimper instead of a bang. However, the song meets its modest ambitions. Even if I won’t be going back to it, I can imagine a playlist where this would work quite well.