Wonder Girls "Wonder Party" Album Review

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wonder Girls were never on my K-pop radar before, but after they released "Be My Baby" last year I've started to follow their activities. In fact, I've been anticipating their new comeback. And now they are finally here with a new mini-album "Wonder Party". 

The album seems to be divided into three parts: firstly  breezy rhytmic pop songs ("R.E.A.L", "Like This", "Hey Boy"), secondly slow-paced R&B influenced songs ("Sorry", "Girlfriend"), and finally the dance-club hit "DJ Is Mine". Overall, "Wonder Party" shows how much the girls have improved over the years. Their vocals are clearly more powerful than compared to their earlier songs like "Tell Me" and "Nobody", and they have definitely broken free from that typical cutesy K-pop girl group mould. The girls are more involved in producing their songs and consequently show that they are capable of writing lyrics of their own. On one side "Wonder Party" is fun and funky, on the other it's mature and feminine. Either way, Wonder Girls have grown up and should be called Wonder Women now.


This song is the funkiest and cutest among the rest. It was almost entirely composed by Yenny. She also wrote the lyrics that describe a girl's love for a guy who doesn't appreciate it. They compare her love with healthy foods: "My love is like strawberries, It’s very sweet and has a lot of vitamin C, No matter how much you eat it, you don’t get fat"And his love with junk food: "Girls who say they like you and go to meet you, They seem pretty like cotton candy, but look closer and they’re just blocks of sugar, You eat and eat but are still hungry, and it’s too sweet that it makes your head hurt, They stick to you here and there, sticking and rotting". Her love equals to real love while his is just driven by momentary passion. 
At the end the girl says: Do you still not know? The answer is obvious. Hold onto me before it’s too late, Say you love me baby, say you need me baby, If it’s not now, it’s never – you’ll never find me again. What you threw away is a diamond."
I find the song summery and catchy, but I don't love the song. However, I do like this unique and humorous take on love and relationships. The message that "R.E.A.L" tries to convey is actually pretty appropriate for the society of today that only concentrates on appearances and fails too see the real thing.

"Like This" 

I can already see that the title track "Like This" strives to be this summer's K-pop hit. And with a good reason - the song rocks. It's a fun feel-good song with a catchy beat. The lyrics say: "
Put down the heavy burdens in your heart for a moment, If you want to really fly freely like those birds, Then don’t worry – in order to make you forget your fearful worries, I will make you drink this music, hurry and trust me." 
I love the simplicity of the video. It follows the same concept of the lyrics. It is set in a mall area where the girls try to get the surrounding people dancing and singing along. The girls are dressed casually and look approachable as they work the crowd. The choreography is fun and faily easy for fans to learn. 
The one thing that's missing this time around is the JYP whisper, which is the trademark for every JYP composed song. Now that it's gone, fans seem to miss it, myself included. Go figure. Although...some sources claim that if you were to listen really hard at the 00:01 mark...JAY WHY PEE.

"Hey Boy"

"Hey Boy" is a sweet pop song about first love. This is the song you might wanna listen with your girlfriends on a sleepover. The happy-go-lucky feeling and a lovely beat makes it also a perfect tune to listen on a summer's day.  
The lyrics (this time written by Yu Bin) are fairly simple and describe how a girl is falling in love and how she realizes that first impressions don't necessarily mean everything. She found the guy a bit frustrating at first but then his friends say that he is actually a good guy, and she says: "Hey boy, actually, my first impression of you wasn’t that great, But boy, a guy that treats me this well, I think you’re the first – I think you’ll make me special."


My second favourite song from the album ("Like This" obviously being the favourite) is "Girlfriend". It gives off a very mature, a slightly jazz-like feeling. It doesn't sound like conventional K-pop, instead I could imagine hearing it in a classy bar or a lounge where broken-hearted people are sitting alone by the counter and drinking their troubles away. 
This song was written and co-composed by Yenny as well. I must hand it to Yenny, I really like the lyrics and I think she's should continue writing songs. The lyrics start with a woman, who's been drinking, calling to her ex or man she has been seeing. The man picks up and says: "I’m with my girlfriend right now" (by the way, the line is sung by 2PM's Junho). The woman is crushed that the man has moved on and forgotten about her. She asks: "Loving me, forgetting me, making it be like nothing, Is it that easy for you? Is that how you empty me out? Is that how you erase me? Yes, call me crazy but I still can’t forget you, Say that I’m talking crazy, I won’t remember this tomorrow anyway."


"Sorry" is beautiful ballad about having second thoughts about a break-up. The song has a slow, relaxed rhythm, which is complemented by a pretty piano melody. The vocals are in the main focus and this time around Yu Bin sings instead of rapping, which is a nice change. Though, her vocals aren't as strong as the other members' she has improved. Plus, her smooth voice matches the feeling of the song perfectly. 
The lyrics describe how a girl realizes how much she misses her ex, but is afraid to admit her feelings, thinking that she'll hurt him again. She wishes to start again but knows she's being selfish - "Baby I’m sorry, I still want your entire heart, I can’t let you go, I still want your love, Why did you love such a bad person like me? Baby I’m sorry."

"The DJ Is Mine"

This song was originally released in January as a collaboration with an american girl group School Gyrls. It is an electro pop tune and sung completely in English. When I first heard it I didn't really like it because it reminded me too much of mainstream American music that are only about partying and always set in a club atmosphere. Like Rihanna's hit-song "Don't Stop The Music", for example. Not that such songs are bad, but in my opinion, the club-theme is starting to get a bit old. Though I have now warmed up to "The DJ Is Mine" and quite like it, I still prefer Wonder Girls' own style more. Even if the girls are to release singles in the States I don't want their music to be "Americanized".

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