BoA – THE FACE [6th Studio Album]

March 10, 2008 at 5:17 am (BoA) (, )

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BoA’s sixth studio album, THE FACE, was released on 02.27.08. BoA experimented with this album and because of it, some strong album tracks were born. BoA even took her hand at writing a song [ギャップにやられた!], showing a more personal connectin that she had while recording the album. The singles released before the album are Sweet Impact, LOVE LETTER, LOSE YOUR MIND and be with you.

BoA’s opening tracks tend to be one of the strongest and AGGRESSIVE is no different. The song opens up with a hot dance instrumental and segways into the opening line: “Let’s say I love you, it’s so easy!” Accompanying the beat are violins, which introduce the first verse flawlessly. BoA sails through the first verse with controlled vocals that blend perfectly with the music and once the chorus comes, the vocal strength increases and the true pop sound emerges. The use of English helps the words stand out during the chorus, properly seperating it from the rest of the song. Following the second verse and chorus pair, the music returns to its opening sound and BoA shows off her vocal range, perfectly hitting a note with power. During the following chorus, she flawlessly hits notes in the upper register and compliments the poppish beat wonderfully. The song ends with the chorus and by the end, a strong impression for the rest of the album is definitely accomplished. AGGRESSIVE wonderfully continues BoA’s tradition of powerful opening tracks.

Following AGGRESSIVE is Sweet Impact, the first single from this album’s era. To properly open up such a strong upbeat song, the English of the chorus kicks the song off as BoA sings “what you feel, what you see.” Opening with the chorus was a wise decision as the powerful vocals help it stand out strongly. While the music steps down a bit during the verses for a more mellow feeling, that poppiness still looms and keeps the arrangement interesting. This chorus ends with BoA singing “fall in with you baby” with a sort of techno-influenced moment within the music. The pure instrumental section really shows off a hot arrangement that begins low and transitions smoothly into the blaring beat accompanied by BoA’s vocal prowess. The song ends with BoA repeating “what you feel, what you see” and brings the song to an excellent finish. Sweet Impact, one of the strongest songs released beforehand, was a definitely an awesome follow-up after AGGRESSIVE.

After two uptempo tracks, BoA joins WISE for My Way, Your Way. A relaxing and sweet instrumentation opens up the song and soon more sounds are brought into the picture, supporting that cuteness factor even further. The first verse has BoA using softer vocals to really match the music and the approach of accentuating the first words of each line she sings definitely was a strong idea. The chorus is poppy and filled with so much sweetness that lies behind both the music and BoA’s vocals. Following the chorus, WISE delivers a fast-paced but sweet rap that works very well in the context of the song and creates a smooth transition for BoAs part of the verse. Following another chorus, WISE drops another rap but BoA sings alongside him on some lines such as “you made me feel special.” Having both of them performing some of the lines really solidifies the cute romantic element of the song and captures the atmosphere perfectly. The frequent of English phrases is present again and also adds to the whole cute vibe of the track. BoA’s vocals remain consistent throughout the song with its shining spots, making My Way, Your Way a song to remember from the album.

My Way, Your Way served as a clear bridge between the pop sound presented early on in the album to the fourth track, the beautiful love ballad, entitled be with you. The song opens beautifully with pure instrumentation alongside BoA’s soft vocalizing, blending into the first verse. Her vocals are seen as she holds the notes finishing each line. However it’s the chorus when BoA shows off her range both in terms of power and ability to reach notes in the higher register. The beauty behind the instruments comes out following the chorus in a small music section, which is able to capture the emotional presence of the song effortlessly. The third verse features a slightly different instrumentation, used to bring focus on BoA’s vocals, highlighting certain ones [such as the final line of that verse]. Similarily to how the song began, sweet instrumentation brings be with you. to a wonderful close.

LOSE YOUR MIND, which was released as the third single from THE FACE, is a return to hot dance songs. As a collaboration with Yukata Furukawa from DOPING PANDA, he lends master guitar playing to the instrumentation, which opens the song up. From the first line of the first verse, the vocal strength is clear and serves as a nice introduction to the rest of the song. The hook features some non-sensical lyrics [shoo-do-be-do you wanna bags, shoes and cosmetic?] but they give a cute feeling that works even in the context of a hot dance track. The chorus stands apart for its stronger vocals as well as the English phrases that begin each lyrical line. Following the second set of verse and chorus is a section comprised of pure instrumentation. Here Yukata Furukawa really stands out and the guitar plays more of a key role in the instrumentation. The final choruses really show off BoA’s range and as she sings the final “lose your mind,” she hits one of the most powerful notes on the entire album. LOSE YOUR MIND was the strongest song released as a single and it hasn’t lost any of its flavor in the context of the album.

Making perhaps the most flawless transition on the album, LOSE YOUR MIND is followed by Girl In The Mirror. This is without a doubt the most addictive and aggressive song on the album and an extremely addictive one at that. The song powerfully begins with the chorus and a very edgy instrumentation. The English used at the end of the chorus is always fun [“choose it: Crazy? Sexy? Kawaii?”] before she sings the title. The vocals during the verses follows a pattern of beginning of lower with finer vocals finishing the lines. The hooks in which she names three “professions” [i.e. “bad girl,” “Actress,” “supermodel”] uses a different vocal approach that sounds great in such a diverse instrumentation. The third verse features a slightly different instrumentation and powerful vocals that transition into a pure instrumental section. Finishing off the song is a repeat of both choruses. Girl In The Mirror is the edgiest song on the album and due to vocal strength and an interesting and aggressive arrangement and instrumentation, it’s one of BoA’s most memorable songs to date.

In contrast to Girl In The Mirror, Happy Birthday is a sugary pop song. It starts right off with the chorus, which has BoA singing more in the upper register. The little instrumental section following and it really is reminiscent of some of her older cute pop songs. The first verse continues the vocal approach of staying in a higher range and the transition into the chorus is absolutely flawless. During the verses, the instrumentation is very much present but some of the instruments are pushed back to really focus on the vocal prowess. They begin to return during the hook, which serves as a transition between the verse and chorus in terms of music. The longer instrumental section features a wonderful and welcomed change of instrumentation by bringing a new instrument to the forefront that compliments the overall atmosphere perfectly. Even though Happy Birthday may not be as strong as some of the other cute songs from her previous albums, it certainly is enjoyable and returns to that flavor BoA had in her older albums.

Although all of the B-sides from this era didn’t make it onto the album, Diamond Heart [from the LOVE LETTER single] thankfully did. Continuing the cuteness from Happy Birthday, Diamond Heart simultaneously takes more of a dance approach. The song opens up with an unidentified man speaking and then the chorus comes, whch features some strong vocals by BoA. During the verses, BoA delivers her lines at a somewhat fast pace in a lower register that comes off very slick and works well in the context of the song. Because of this approach, the verses actually hook me more than the chorus does and it serves as a good contrast to the cuteness of the chorus but still sounding cohesive. The third verse has BoA showing her range off and goes right into the chorus. The song ends with a fading of instrumentation and brings the song to a great close. Diamond Heart is a perfect combination of sweetness and more of a mature pop flavor that creates a fantastic dance song.

LOVE LETTER, released as the second single from the era of THE FACE, comes next. The song opens up with the chorus, which features brilliant vocals and a strong instrumental presence. The use of English [“love letter from my heart,” “love letter for your smile”] really makes it “pop” and makes it stand out. The vocals stay within a lower range during the verses, which serves as a perfect contrast to the power behind the chorus vocals. This is also supported by the instrumental that jumps out more during the chorus, making the entire song perfectly cohesive. The third verse changes things up a bit while still maintaining excellent vocals and making a smooth transition into a pure instrumental section that shows off the beauty behind the song. The ending of the song repeats the English lines and puts BoA’s range to the forefront by getting into the higher range. LOVE LETTER is a strong ballad that finds its home on the context of THE FACE.

Contrasting to the poppy songs [Diamond Heart and Happy Birthday] and LOVE LETTER comes BRAVE, the coolest sounding track on the album. Opening up the song is an amazing instrumentation that makes a great transition into the verses. BoA effortlessly delivers the lines smoothly with good vocals and slick sexiness to them that makes them extremely enjoyable. The use of English phrases [“brand new morning” and “silent sky”] also help the verses pop in support of the certain hollow atmosphere. A more uplifting feeling is achieved during the chorus, which features strong vocals that compliment the music clearly. The pure instrumental section features some impressive guitar accompaniment that smoothly transitions into the final choruses. For its powerful originality as well as dark and hollow atmosphere, BRAVE emerges as one of the strongest album tracks and most enjoyable songs off the album.

BoA decided to take her hand at writing one of the songs on the album and ギャップにやられた! was born. The opening is really strange and then the real beat comes in with a sugary light pop sound. The verses feature some poppy vocals that work well with the beat and stay to more of a higher register. Interestingly enough, BoA delivers one line before the chorus with a more distorted voice that packs attitude behind it. The chorus sounds really cute and pretty with wonderful vocals and the instrumentation works perfectly with it since it highlights certain notes that BoA follows through on. The third verse features lyrics entirely in English and helps it stand apart from the other verses in a big way. The song ends with pure instrumentation and brings the cute song to a perfect finish with a slightly funky ending. As BoA’s first attempt at writing, she definitely delivered a great adorable song.

The somewhat funky ending to ギャップにやられた! serves as a bridge to one of the most interesting tracks on the album: Style. The song opens up with a funky instrumentation that goes straight into the first verse. The vocals in the verses sound are more lower on the register and the lyrics are delivered with a slickness to them. The hook serves as a great bridge between the verses and the chorus and the cool arrangement during the “going on, going on” sounds great. The chorus is interesting as the words stand out because the phrases are so short and the vocals compliment them very well.  The third verse features a somewhat different arrangement and more power behind the vocals, which serves as a great transition to a small instrumental section. Following is part of the chorus with somewhat distorted vocals and then the regular chorus. The always edgy instrumentation ends the song with some strange sounds introduced but sounds great. Style definitely is one of the best album tracks and is memorable.

Another B-side to make it to the album is Smile again, from the LOSE YOUR MIND single. A beautiful piano opening introduces the song and then there is a transition to a fantasy-like instrumentation. The first verse returns to the piano alone alongside BoA’s deeper vocals and that fantasy feeling begins to come back as it introduces the chorus. The chorus features some amazing vocals that carry both power and emotion behind them. The pure instrumental section that is accompanied by BoA’s vocals in the upper register are definitely not to be forgotten. The song ends with that fairy-tale feeling and brings the song to a wonderful finish. Smile again is one of the beautiful ballads from the album and stands out for its strength and emotion clearly expressed in her voice supported by an absolutely gorgeous instrumentation that contributes to the wonderful atmosphere.

Like the other B-side from the LOVE LETTER single [Diamond Heart], Beautiful Flowers found its way to the album. The opening drum roll and following violins create an impressive introduction, which then melts into a strong instrumentation to create a fantasy-like feeling [somewhat similar to Smile again only in an uptempo form]. The verses feature a poppy dance beat with great vocals by BoA but it is really the chorus that stands out when the vocals get even stronger and the instrumentation jumps forward. BoA accentuates the beginning words [in English] with vocals that are highlighted by the music to make it catchy and memorable. The pure instrumental section mixes the violins with the poppish instrumental to make a wonderful sound and soon the drum roll momentarily comes back, bringing all the musical elements together. The song ends with the fading of the chorus to end the song nicely. Beautiful Flowers is a wonderful part of the album and bears somewhat of a resemblance to Beautiful Fighters by Hamasaki Ayumi. Adding Beautiful Flowers to the album was definitely a wise decision since it’s A-side material.

Best Friend, a midtempo number, was chosen to finish off the album. The vocals during the first verse are well-maintained in the lower range and compliment the music well. The chorus features cute English phrases [“you’re my best friend” and “I wanna be there for you”] and has more powerful vocals. The third verse is my favorite part of the song as the vocals reach new highs and the instrumentation becomes more involved. Following is the chorus and is somewhat remiscent of an acapella section since BoA’s vocals come to the forefront and the music takes a step back. The song ends with a nice instrumentation made for listening to. Best Friend is a cute midtempo song and a sweet way to finish off the album. I think Smile again would have been a better ending for the album but this track is still cute and friendly and relies more on a simplistic arrangement to find beauty.

Album Ranking: A

BoA’s sixth album, entitled THE FACE, features lots of strengths. From the beautiful ballads such as Smile again, LOVE LETTER and be with you. to the edgier and cool tracks such as Girl In The Mirror, AGGRESSIVE, BRAVE and Style, BoA offers such versatility and diversity with this album. From start to finish, BoA’s vocals show their true power and range as she belts out some notes [LOSE YOUR MIND] and sings primarily in the upper register [My Way, Your Way and Diamond Heart]. THE FACE is one of BoA’s strongest albums to date featuring strong singles and amazing album tracks to create a cohesive and enjoyable experience.

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2 Comments

  1. boamyjewel said,

    HOLY!!! LOVE YOUR REVIEW and this album o’coz! XD

    I’ve reviewed it too XD

    boamyjewel.wordpress.com

  2. sbs said,

    Hi~~
    I’m KOREAN.
    I like BOA.
    Your BLOG IS very nice.
    I love this blog.
    VERY NICE BLOG.
    VERY FUNNY.
    nice meet to U.
    take care~

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