Album Review: miss A – “Independent Women pt. III”

This is miss A’s second mini-album and fifth overall release under JYP Entertainment. It was scheduled for release on October 15, 2012, but was leaked to Spotify a day early.

This cover definitely illustrates the theme of the album but it seems a little lacking to me. I think I would have preferred something a bit more fierce, like a shot of them looking head-on at the camera.

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The title of the album comes into play on 남자 없이 잘 살아 (Namja eopshi jal sara; I Don’t Need a Man), a bumping mid-tempo hip hop track. I have to admit that I was a bit underwhelmed when I first heard this song, but after listening to it a few times, I can tell you that it is a grower. The vocals from all of the girls are confident and in control, and the rap verses don’t sound stressed in the least. My favorite part of this song is probably the song, which features the title prominently, and the part right after where they repeat “I don’t need a man” with the members asking “Really?” Although it’s not miss A’s most upbeat song, it has a cool message and is very listenable. 

Ma Style is a tricky one. The instrumental intro led me to believe that it was going to be a club banger or something like that, but it actually ended up being an uptempo R&B track. The instrumental sounds kind of dated, with its early 2000s beats and strings, but that actually supports the sassy sound. I had a bit of a problem with the abruptness of the rap, though. There wasn’t really enough of a transition and it sounded like it was dropped out of nowhere.

I’m sure a lot of people were hoping If I Were A Boy would be a cover of Beyoncé’s hit – it is not. In fact, it’s a laid back R&B number with layered vocals and some interesting melodic lines. You can tell instantly that this is supposed to be more of a vocal song, and it certainly succeeds in that aspect as the girls all sound really nice. It’s also very short (not even 3 minutes long), so it ends before you get the chance to be bored of it.

Madness (feat. Taecyeon of 2PM) had me feeling a bit apprehensive, because I wasn’t sure what kind of song it would be, but thankfully I ended up being pretty impressed. A low-key song (I wouldn’t exactly call it a ballad) about being desperate for love, the strong vocals, deep bass and somewhat creepy synths really caught my attention. I was also thankful that Taecyeon’s rap, which goes on to overlap with part of the second verse, didn’t distract or detract from the girls’ performances or from the song as a whole. Probably one of my favorite tracks on the mini.

Finally, something really fierce I can get down to! Time’s Up is a thrilling Euro-style dancefest and I absolutely love it. The strong synths and beat combined with the girls’ confident vocals give this song a definite radio-friendly, danceable feel. It’s also the perfect length at just under 4 minutes, giving me time enough to jam out but not to get tired of it.

Summary: So Touch was one of my favorite mini-albums of the year and I was hoping miss A would be able to build on that with this release, and judging from the title track alone I was all on board. In the end, though, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this mini. I really like the title track, although it took me a little bit to get there, and although all of these are technically good songs, they lack the spark of previous releases like Touch. In fact, the mini felt a bit like a less inspired version of their Step Up single from a few years back. There are a few songs on here I’ll be jamming out to, but not all of them.

Album Grade: B-
Recommended Tracks:
Time’s Up 남자 없이 잘 살아 Madness (feat. Taecyeon of 2PM)

2 thoughts on “Album Review: miss A – “Independent Women pt. III”

  1. I quite like this review and I know how you feel about Madness. It was an odd song at first but when I heard the intro, I quite liked it. I love every song on this album apart from If I Were A Boy however, something about that song did not appeal to me:/ I just wish they had a remix of I Don’t Need a Man with a more hip-hop style genre too.

    • I agree. I love the message of “I Don’t Need a Man,” but I was hoping for something a little more…fierce? I guess that’s the word. Hopefully they’ll come up with a cool performance remix or something.

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