Hurricane Venus was BoA’s 6th Korean album. It was released on August 5, 2010 and reached no. 1 on the Hanteo Album Sales Chart. It has sold a reported 72,000 copies since October 2010. It was her first album in nearly five years.
2. Hurricane Venus
4. Yeop Saram (Stand By)
5. M.E.P (My Electronic Piano)
6. LET ME
7. Hanbyeol (Implode)
9. Haru Haru (Ordinary Day)
10. Don’t Know What To Say
OMG. If there’s one way to describe this album, it’s FIERCE!!!! BoA has come back to Korea and she’s taking no prisoners! It’s been long 5 years since she rocked Korea with Girls On Top. This being her first Korean album in 5 years, a lot has changed. When you compare it to her Japanese album, you’ll notice that sound and music wise, it’s different than her self-produced album, which is good. It features two main song types, but incorporates different styles. Another thing it has, amazing producers and songwriters; you can hear just how amazing the album is. Originally, I was going to try to review this album in magazine fashion, and have it short and condensed. But honestly, I loved the images too much, so I want to use as many as possible. So it will be pretty long, but still enjoyable. The album as it turns out, is a mixture of your hot and fierce tracks and ballads. It’s about a 50/50 split, give or take a song, but most of the songs can be put into either category, which makes it nice.
The title track Hurricane Venus really sets the tone for half the album. One of the things I like about the song is that it’s almost like the SWEET BLACK project, in this case though, it proves that a woman can be both strong like a hurricane, and retain her femininity and beauty. It’s extremely modern in it’s arrangement and its sound. There’s a lot of synth, but more in the hip-hop sense, as well as hip-hop beats, and some minor electronic elements, including vocal distortions and a little bit of auto-tune (not Ke$ha though thankfully). It’s an exhilarating song though, great vocals, English and Korean, and it’s infectious, it’s hard not to sing along to it. Awesome dance song too, you could go either way in genre, but dance fits a bit more, although it’s still very pop.
Despite me liking the title track so much, my favorite dance track without a doubt is DANGEROUS. It may have been produced by Swedish producers, but it’s FIERCE. No lie, it’s 10 times hotter and edgier than Hurricane Venus. Music wise, it sounds like something a hip-hop artist would use, very electronic with beat heavy and edgy, not to mention aggressive; it sounded angry at some points, which is good in this case. I loved the music, again, hip-hop yet mostly beat driven, namely electronic and synth focused. It’s overly infectious and another hot dance track; took me days to get it out of my head. Best song on the album, well, dance song that is.
Another awesome dance song, which was the first song to be released as a single, GAME. It’s considerably toned down compared to the other fierce songs, but it’s just as catchy. What’s good about this song though, is that it uses more of a variety of elements, including some jazzy brass, smooth synth during the bridge, and vocal distortions. Let Me also turned out to be one of the fiercer songs on the album. Characterized by a mid-tempo arrangement, hip-hop beats, electronic distortions and vocal distortions, the song is pretty damn catchy. The use of some brass instruments was unexpected, yet refreshing. Her English vocals were nice, and made sense, yay for good grammar!!!
Adrenaline was perhaps the most Americanized tracks. Its producers have worked with artists like Fergie, Selena Gomez, Beyoncé etc. That should give you an idea as to how the song will be; it seriously sounds like something Brittney Spears would release, music wise anyway. Instead of the usual hip-hop sounds of the other songs, this song is significantly more pop. Yes it still replies on the electronic beats, but it’s the up-tempo arrangement and seemingly up-beat music that makes it pop, as well as a more than catchy and original melody. Her English was flawless and I love the distortions attached to the vocals, great effects. The chorus features an unusually catchy rhythm, and some great adlibbing that really make the song. This song also proves that claps and electronic music can work hand-in-hand together.
Those were the more dance infused songs, some even more pop. The songs after that take more of a ballad tone. They’re toned down a lot, and more calming and relay less on beats. There are some fusions, which I will get into, now.
The first real amazing song that’s classified as a ballad, or more of an in-between as I would say, is M.E.P.(My Electric Piano). It’s my favorite song from BoA as far as Korean ballads go, and why wouldn’t it be? It features some great synth-infused music, giving it a modern feel. And because the music is so calming and more mid-tempo, it gives the song a soothing effect. I couldn’t get over BoA’s vocals either, she delivered great on the high notes, there weren’t any strains whatsoever. And again, there was a good amount of English, and it had correct grammar, a huge problem in her earlier work. This song could easily be classified as a semi-pop ballad, and it’s the best ballad IMO. My one problem, like her dance songs, it was too short, 3 minutes is not long enough for good songs. But, all her ballads were significantly longer. Anyway….onto the other ballads!
As it turns out, the ballad Stand By is over 5 minutes long, talk about a huge time difference from her 3 minute songs. It doesn’t really matter though because the ballad is wonderful. It features a true classical arrangement, an ensemble of strings, and some light percussion. As usual, great vocals on her part, especially during the high notes. Other than that, not too special, sounds nice, but nothing I’d rave about. For her other ballad, this one entitled Implode, the length is over 6:30, and you though the other ballad was long. Once you get over how long it is, you can appreciate the acoustic arrangement, as well as the piano keys, and soothing vocals. It’s slow compared to her other ballads, but it seems to be the most emotional out of all of them. Also interesting, the background English vocals that appear, during the last two and half minutes of the song. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s kinda messed up that it’s not BoA singing. At this point, the song takes on more of a synth arrangement, and BoA’s vocals become distorted a bit.
The final three songs are all ballads, which is both good and bad in its own ways. Ordinary Day is a decent ballad. It has some nice claps as beats, some piano chords, strings too, and my favorite, synth. It has a nice melody and rhythm, not a bad song, could use a little more “umph” though. Don’t Know What To Say is a piano driven ballad, simple and great use of English lyrics. Romance oddly enough songs like a jazzier rendition of the previous song, with a some string instruments. Overall, a calming song, easy on the ears, and classy. It also happens to be the third longest song on the album, lasting over 5 minutes total. And as many of you might have guessed, the vocals are excellent. And she sounds extra mature in this song.
So, what else can I say about this album? Not much really. The one thing I can stress is that this shows how much BoA’s vocals and English skills have improved. In addition to that, all of her ballads have proved that she’s matured since her failure of an album. This album is a hell of a lot better than her previous failure of an album. The one major strength of this album was simply, BoA’s vocals. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was this blown away by anything that BoA had sung, it’s seriously been that long. Despite there not being a bunch of genres or variety, at least there were two categories. She had some aggressive and hot dance songs, along with the melodious and touching ballads. The dance songs were mind-blowing, and the ballads were flawless. And I loved the fact that she dabbed into the auto-tune business, at least with vocal effects etc (this wasn’t like her debut album auto-tune). The one thing that I love about this album, the one thing that’s always important in albums, is the fact that this album and the songs as a whole are memorable. Despite this album being Korean, it easily belongs in the top albums of the year *hint hint*.
DANGEROUS || M.E.P. (My Electric Piano) || Hurricane Venus || Adrenaline