There have been “diverse” DryedMangoez Music Mondays before, but this week tops them all. Diverse in style, diverse in language and definitely diverse in quality. A VERY diverse mix of songs from ALAMAT, OWV, BTOB and N.MIXX.
“ABKD” by ALAMAT
After my recent deep dive into P-pop, I’ve slowly, but surely become a big fan of ALAMAT. Their latest track “ABKD” has everything that’s helped make that happen. I absolutely love the way ALAMAT has been able to incorporate both traditional Filipino instruments and sound as well as different Filipino languages into their songs. It’s that proudly Pinoy touch that is so appealing to me. And “ABKD” takes all of that into this positive, uplifting package of a song.
It’s no secret that there’s a continuing prejudice regarding skin color in the Philippines. Whitening soaps and glutathione creams and pills are still a popular part of skin care routines across the country. And a person’s skin color continues to unfairly be the basis of a person’s worth. Even worse, a person’s skin color continues to be used as a point of criticism or insult.
ALAMAT and “ABKD” reminds everyone how that should absolutely not be the case. Instead, the group and the song encourages everyone to be proud and comfortable in your own skin (and that goes beyond the largest organ of our body). Be proud of who you are because you deserve to be celebrated, no matter your skin color or background.
The music video illustrates that sentiment in the most perfect, feel-good way. A young girl from the Aeta indigenous people of the Philippines is the well-deserved star of the MV and is later accompanied by other Aeta youth as they proudly and joyously dance to the bright song. It’s also a song that’s perfect for the Philippines’ upcoming summer dry season as well. All good, positive and cool vibes from a group that’s quickly becoming one of my favorites.
“You” by OWV
J-pop group OWV has already shown their versatility with both dark, charismatic songs and bright, summery tracks. They continue to show that talent with their latest release, “You.” And it might be my favorite from them so far. It’s a great midtempo pop dance track whose dreamlike vibe and romantic lyrics really allow the group to show off yet another different side of themselves.
“The Song” by BTOB
As some of you may now, Im Hyunsik is one of my Ultimate Biases. So I am so happy that he’s safely completed his military service and back with BTOB to release another wonderful ballad. BTOB has really come a long way and experienced growth and maturity in their releases since their debut. “The Song,” composed by Hyunsik and Son Youngjin of MosPick, is a perfect example of that. A bittersweet, but warm track about the memories of time passed. A fitting track for this late winter season.
“O.O” by NMIXX
It’s not really a good sign when you have to preface your comments. But I definitely have to here. First of all, I am not a fan of tracks that smash together two or more songs into one loud, tangled mess. But that’s exactly what NMIXX’s debut track “O.O” is. Second, the ladies are obviously very talented and very charismatic. And it’s sad to say, but thankfully so because otherwise, the general public would easily wave them aside.
That’s the harsh reality of the K-pop industry. When you’re getting a new boy or girl group debut every week, first impressions are very important. And a misstep on your debut can (unfairly) turn people off from ever checking you out again in the future. Even when their future tracks could actually be some of the best in the business upon release.
So first impressions are definitely important. And NMIXX has the huge benefit of being an artist under one of the industry’s biggest companies. Otherwise, “O.O” just won’t cut it. It is one of the most baffling instances of this “trend” that I’ve heard yet. There’s at least three distinct and diametrically opposed songs slammed together here. (Maybe even more.) And what’s even more strange is that the music video itself highlights the drastic differences between the battling sounds and styles. I think it absolutely would’ve been better if these different sounds were songs on their own.
Has the song got people talking? Absolutely. Will NMIXX succeed? Sure. But when judging a song on its own merits, “O.O” is just a mess. And for me, it gets even more puzzling with every listen.