Queen of K-pop BoA tends to make her return around this time of year. Most recently, she came back in December 2020 with a full album and December 2019 with a mini. New release Forgive Me arrives a few months after the launch of her music show K-909, where she fully embraces her position as K-pop tastemaker.
I haven’t been impressed with most of SM Entertainment’s output this year. Their current rotation of producers just don’t seem to match my taste and too many of their artists are starting to sound similar. BoA’s voice and charisma will always set her apart, but Forgive Me doesn’t feel like much of a standout in her (admittedly huge) discography. Its most notable element is rock guitar, which hasn’t been leveraged this strongly on a BoA single since 2003’s Rock With You. Forgive Me melds this instrumental quirk with a hip-hop beat and dark textures to create a grungy atmosphere that’s more fascinating than thrilling.
I like the jerky energy of the chorus. The way BoA’s vocals match the crunch of the guitar is cool. But, Forgive Me lacks a compelling hook. Its melodies are solid and match the tense atmosphere of the track, and there are moments of showmanship that recall the best BoA singles. However, the track threatens to blend into one moody, murky energy. A last-minute chanted breakdown injects some variety, though I don’t think I would’ve wanted this segment repeated anywhere else. In the end, the force of BoA’s performance carries Forgive Me over the line. Otherwise, it’s pretty forgettable.