Album Review: Wonder Girls – “Wonder Party”

This is Wonder Girls’ second mini-album. It was released June 6, 2012 and has sold 27,206 copies so far.

They all look extremely drunk with the exception of Lim, who seems pissed, lmao.

~

R.E.A.L is the opening track of this mini-album and I LOVE IT. It starts with a dance-y hip-hop beat and some fun vocals (mostly rap) from Sohee, Yubin and Lim, then followed by the chorus, courtesy of Yeeun and Sunye. Excluding the chorus and bridge, this song is mostly rapping, and I have to say I was impressed by the performances on this track. I think after listening to it a few times, I would have to conclude that while Lim definitely has better flow, Yubin has more swagger, and these opposing strengths help them play off each other really well. Content-wise, I find this song has an incredibly fresh, exciting sound. I also like the play on words in the chorus (“My love is R.E.A.L / Real good, so good“); it was unexpected. My only problem with this song is that it sounds disjointed at times, especially in the bridge, which kind of springs out of nowhere. Other than that, though, I really love this track. It is super fresh and cute and exactly what I love about WG!

I find it really hard to resist the effervescent infectiousness of Like This. Definitely on the dancier side of hip-hop, this song has a great rhythm and a super catchy chorus (which we hear right out the gate). Surprisingly, the bulk of the singing on this track is done by Lim, but she does a fairly good job considering the genre shift. The only one of the Girls who I don’t feel pulls her weight enough is, sigh, Sohee. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she tries really hard and the effort didn’t go unnoticed. But still, she sounded… out of place. Ah, well. It’s pretty obvious what they were going for with this song (the bridge practically SCREAMS “dance craze!”), but even so it is very catchy and hard to get out of your head once you’ve heard it.

Hey Boy brings me back to some of WG’s earlier material, and that’s a good thing. The feel of the song is very laid back R&B, with a hint of big-city slickness to the production. There’s really nothing more I can say about the song itself, but I can say that the vocals were pretty spot-on all around. There’s no rap, but Yubin’s vocal part sounds just as good as the other girls who are more experienced on the vocal front. Overall, this song is really chill. Perfect for a hot summer day.

I was a little confused by Girlfriend the first time I heard it. I was listening to it, and the first English words you hear are “I’m with my girlfriend right now” and I was just kinda like “… say what.” But as it turns out, that’s NOT what it’s about; it’s actually about finding out the guy you like has a girl already. Who hasn’t been there? This song is pretty similar to Hey Boy in that the sound is really laid back, but stylistically it’s definitely different, closer to jazz than R&B. If you’re looking for something to compare it to, I can tell you that several elements – the acoustic guitars, Yubin’s rap – reminded me of Lee Hyori’s Swing, so there you go. Oh, and can I also say I loved the vocals on this song? I mean, I hardly recognized Lim, who sounded really mature compared to her normal cute sound. Overall, I love this song, and can see myself jamming to it in the future.

I know I’m normally pretty hard on K-Pop ballads, and unfortunately, Sorry will be no exception. As a song, it is super typical R&B-tinged fare and in that sense, I’m not super impressed. I mean, it has one of those key changes I hate so much… haaaaate. However, I am willing to cut this song some slack for several reasons, one being that everyone sounds so damn good. What can I say? They never disappoint on the vocal front, not lately anyway. Also, I find it admirable that this song manages to be catchy despite its ballad-y banality. So I’ll give this one a pass. You win this time, WG.

Ah, The DJ is Mine. This was the flagship song of WG’s second attempt at U.S. market domination this past winter, and I can scarcely think of a better track. This is a really high-energy dance song that sounds a lot like what’s playing 90% of the time on major radio stations stateside. The chorus is super powerful and I can’t really think of another K-Pop song that used elements of dubstep so well (except for maybe Kahi’s 돌아와 나쁜 너). And what’s more, you can hardly detect an accent on this English-only track. Honestly, I think this is one of Wonder Girls’ best songs in recent memory and CERTAINLY one of their best English-language songs.

Summary: I have come to expect nothing short of excellence from Wonder Girls. Lineup changes and personal misfortunes notwithstanding, JYP’s main cash cow have risen from the ashes to be one of the groups to beat in K-Pop (I will stand by my opinion that Wonder World was the best K-Pop release of 2011, at least from a Big 3 company). I’m glad JYP decided on a mini-album for the Girls’ 2012 comeback, as I believe that, when done properly, mini-albums can be even more effective than full length LPs in capacity to fit a high concentration of quality songs into a limited space. In my opinion, Wonder Party definitely succeeds in this endeavor. At slightly under an hour of play time, the six tracks of this EP all tackle slightly different variations of pop and there’s nary a bad one in the bunch (though Sorry comes close). So thanks for the party, Girls. It was a blast!

Album Grade: A
Recommended Tracks:
Like This R.E.A.L Girlfriend The DJ is Mine

3 thoughts on “Album Review: Wonder Girls – “Wonder Party”

  1. The amount of copies is sad >__< R.E.A.L is my favourite song of the album but all the tracks (minus DJ is Mine which I believe should be on their American album and not an add-on to their Korean album) are amazing ^^

    • I agree. It really should have sold better, although, truth be told, the important thing in the Korean music industry nowadays is digital sales. And I love “R.E.A.L”! Such a great song. I had a really good time reviewing this mini, so I guess that tells you how I found the quality of the tracks lol.

      • Not only selling digitally but the fact they lost so much of their fandom in 2009/10 to back up buying albums is sad:/

        Yes, I enjoyed your review🙂

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