When news broke out that Boa is officially going to “crossover” into the US music market, I was a bit surprised. Is she even ready? Vocally and overall talent, definitely a resounding yes! But language-wise and adapting to a major change in fanbase, perhaps not. I mean, it’s more than just cultural differences – expectations of the general US public and media are totally different. Her launch was only a few months shy of Se7en’s announcement, although Boa revealed that her US venture was 2 years in the making.
So now that she just jumpstarted her US career, the question in everyone’s mind is:
I ask this question because even if BOA has been a household name all over Asia, I somehow haven’t any clue as to who she is. Sure, you can’t really get to know a celebrity for who they really are, but at most you can get a tiny, tiny glimpse of their personality through interviews, behind-the-scenes, and other such things. I watched the making of her video of one of her Japanese songs and her documentary – and she was just… nice. TOO NICE, in fact. Nothing outstanding. If anything, she seems a bit bland. There I said it! (You can throw your pitch forks at me now, BOA fans) Okay, she seems like a sweet girl. But SM seems to shelter her too much. Have you ever seen BOA appear in any variety show or any show where the fans can get really up close? Perhaps once? I’m not really sure. Come down to earth where the rest of us humble humans are!!! I just want to see more to BOA than just the singing-dancing prodigy that she is, that’s all I’m saying.
Sorry I digress.
Now on to the review!
EAT YOU UP
Let’s begin with her title track “Eat you up.” First of all, how appropriate. BOA. Eat you up alive. Get it, get it? Okay so maybe I’m the only one thinking the title has a literal reference to a boa constrictor eating a real live human being, lol. It’s a very infectious song. The beat is really strong, something that you’d expect from BOA and her dance songs. But the lyrics are something you wouldn’t! “I’ll eat you up, lalalove, love. So yum, yum… If you move any closer boy there is no guarantee, what I will do to you I feel it and it’s scaring me… you look so tasty I could eat you up alive… I wanna take you to… my room”
The dancing was amazing. I can’t stress this enough. It was very strong. Finally a girl who can REALLY dance! It’s been a while (aside from Britney) since any female artist showed how moves are really done! Beyonce’s hip grinding and thigh jingling don’t count. Thank goodness they used the first version of the mv! I just think the song would be better without the sounds of a random catfight or is it (cat lovemaking??) you can hear every other second of the song. “So yum, yum.” Meowr!
I DID IT FOR LOVE
BOA collaborated with Sean Garret on this song, hotshot producer for top stars. This song uses a repetitive style that is bound to play in your head over and over again. “I I I did it did it for love…” BOA’s voice was heavily digitalized which makes you wonder at first listen if it’s really BOA. You can also tell that her pronunciation is not quite good in some parts – not saying that she made mistakes, it’s just that when she sings a fast verse you can hear it. I can’t quite make what she was saying at the beginning. This is a good song, but it’s not in-your-face fierce. The mv is also different from Eat you up. It’s half Aaliyah, half Cassie with a little bit of Britney’s Stronger thrown in. Again, a problem with the consistency of the image she is trying to portray. In an English interview BOA said that she wants to show her “tomboy side” – which she did perfectly in Eat you up. Change is good, but her "Did it for love" persona is like her evil twin! Loved the fan dance, though.
LOOK WHO’S TALKING
This mid-tempo song created quite a buzz because apparently Britney has some writing credit to it or it was supposed to be part of Brit’s album. Somehow it fell on BOA’s lap, and I think if both of them sang the song you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! It’s a totally Britney’s life story. It’s about the celebrity life, controversies, paparrazzis, and not caring about what other people think. “Champagne, caviar, hot boys at the bar… Think you got me figured out… but look who’s talking now… it’s me.” I especially liked the instrumental beginning of the song, which is quite intriguing. Again, her voice was synthesized, but I think it suits this song to give it a boost. Unlike in “I did it for love,” where her digitalized voice seemed phoned in. Loved this song!
FULL ALBUM PREVIEW.
This is a great song to play when you’re prepping up to go to a club. It’s a hot track! It’s about a girl being distressed because she’s crazy about someone it borders on obsession, lol. Far cry from the song topics she’s sung before! She finally shows her vocal prowess in one part where she goes “I’m obsessed with you tonight! I’m obsessed!” It really showed the feeling of angst and longing.
This is a so-so song. When you’ve listened to most of her songs, by the time you get to this track you won’t be able to tell which is which. Some of her songs have the tendency to be quite similar with the other songs. I guess they’re trying to make the whole album cohesive. But it’s one thing to hear an album and in the end think it as a whole, and it’s another thing when songs sound too much alike you can skip one and not notice it was even there. The same applies with the track called ENERGETIC. For a song with this title it’s not very energetic! Both songs are good for a first; second listen, but the third and subsequent you’d find yourself wanting to press next!
I think BoA’s US Album cover is pretty, but she’s had better covers IMHO. But I noticed her album photos show her either turned sideways or with her hair covering half of her face.
The beginning reminds me of Beyonce’s “Ring the alarm.” Because literally there are police alarms and bells going around everywhere. It’s definitely a club song with come hither intentions. She’s talking about wanting to get someone’s number, flirting, then love at first sight, then she talks about “I wanna be touched, I wanna be touched!” Seriously BOA. Not to undermine her English skills and all because right now she’s speaking it quite fluently, but sometimes I wonder if she’s even sure about what she’s singing about! Or did she even have a say as to what songs are going to be in her album? In her previous albums, BOA had her hand in writing some of her songs, but in this album, it seems as though her management has pulled in all the reigns and let US producers take control. I know her producers have worked with the likes of Rihanna and Britney and they can definitely pull off these type of songs – just not sure about BOA.
This is song is hypnotic, but not in a good way. It gets exhausting to listen to, when all the while I was wondering if BOA was the one singing it and not a robot.
This song takes a page off the fictional popstar in the movie Music and Lyrics who sang the hilarious “Buddha’s delight.” I loved Haley Bennet’s new age overly sexed up version. It was a funny take on pop stardom and how ridiculous it can sometimes be. Did ya has the exact same beats and vibe, except with better lyrics. I’m not sure about the people behind this track, but I guess they gave SM the rights to the track. But BOA does so much better with this song because the chorus showcased her vocal powers and there was minimal digital tinkering.
Haley benet’s Buddha’s Delight
BOA’s DID YA
This track is a deceptively seductive song. It starts with “Just looking at you.. I know what you want to do… Why don’t you whisper to me, how you wanna get freaky… So all you wanna do is take my dress off… I know that you want me with my dress off.” I say deceptive because it might seem like a sexy song but it actually tells the guy to wait and that he ain’t getting any! Good one.
All in all, BOA started off her entry in the US with a bang. Now I’m not a music expert or anything, so don’t take my word for it. It’s pretty annoying how people always refer to her as the “Asian Britney” because vocally she is leaps higher than Brit, the little miss Minnie Mouse on Helium. But after I heard her whole album, it’s clear why people keep putting them on the same plane. There were elements in Brit’s Blackout album that you can hear in some of BOA’s songs.
Will BOA make it? She’s doing quite well in Itunes downloads and dance charts. But it’s pretty early to tell. In my own opinion, she’s going to make RIPPLES in the US market for sure, but I’m not sure if she can cause huge WAVES, what with all her tough competitors in the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and a whole lot more, and even Britney herself.
Overall, I give this album 3.8 out of 5 stars. Still worth the buy. I did! Props to BOA and all her hard work. The girl’s been working her butt off since she was 13!! This album is definitely for those who like songs with high quality technicals and strong beats – a lot of her songs here will be club hits! If you like her mature, edgy side, this one’s for you. But if you’re looking for something unique and groundbreaking, this may not be it.
Back to the question, who is BOA? Well, you can look at it both ways. When one asks: “Who’s that girl? Dang!” It could mean that she’s hot! On the other hand, when someone asks, “Who’s that girl, again?” It means trouble! But for sure, BOA’s career in the US will do well, perhaps maybe not as much now – but in the future. I bet Se7en’s inevitable failure on it!
Quite ironic since her Girl on Top English version begins with “Everyone’s telling me to be somebody I don’t want to be… This is who I am, I just want to be true to myself…”
We hope that’s true, BoA.