Simplicity is bliss, and less is more. Those are two quotes I've always agreed with. For Miss A's first full length album "A Class", the group goes for a clean cut pop sound mixed with influences of R&B.
The album is first introduced with "One to Ten", which opens with a pretty piano melody. The piano keeps its presence throughout the entire song by blending with synth beats and the girl's sweet and strong vocals. The result is a soothing and lovely song that's neither too fast or too slow, but instead maintains a pace and melody of its own. One of my personal favorites.
"Help Me" is an extra special treat. It is a R&B influenced song, and Miss A pulls it off fantastically. It possesses a great beat and soulful vocals. In this case, their experimentation was a success.
"Break It" is the first rough spot "A Class" hits. The intro makes for a good thing to get pumped up to. The part where they yell "Break it!" is what kills the song for me, as it sounds childish and cheesy. Some of the vocals are auto tuned too, creating a bad effect. It has it's good parts, but "Break It" overall is a weak song and the closest to being a filler.
"Mr. Johnny" carries a simple yet great hook. The techno influence makes it fun and upbeat yet edgy. They sound mature yet fierce. Jia's English rap is wicked! I especially love the first line of the rap "I'm a fool for your love but want nothing to do with your company".
Another rough spot is hit with"Play the Music DJ". It isn't actually a weak song, just not nearly as good the rest of the album. The intro sounds a bit immature, which is not fitting of Miss A's image. Fei does get to show off her vocals with the lines "Hey DJ", which is great, but it gets repetitive.
"Step Up" is similar to "Breathe" in terms of carrying the same exotic feel, but "Breathe" is much more memorable. A decent song, but not one I listen to often.
For anyone who ever doubted Miss A's solid vocal abilities, the ballad "Blankly" will blow you away. The song is beautiful and stunning. All four girls put so much emotion and power into the song. They each get a chance to showcase their vocals, particularly Fei and Suzy.
Next up is "Love Again", which was Miss A's unofficial debut song before Min joined. It is an outstanding track because while it's fun and upbeat, it brings something fresh and doesn't feel like your typical K-Pop dance song. The girl's vocals are sweet and unlike most of their songs where Jia has one solo rap, her rapping is finely intertwined in between the verses here.
"Love Alone" is one of my personal favorites from Miss A as it is a simple yet solid song. The song sounds sleek yet clean cut. It has a great beat and the girls get to show their strong vocals here with individual solos. The theme is empowering and meaningful as it deals with unrequited love and not wanting to "love alone". Also, "Love Alone" is sung completely in English, and it's refreshing.
For once, an English K-Pop song actually sounds like it could pose as an American or European song instead of a bad attempt at singing English! (I actually think this song is reminiscent of Europop.). Perhaps this is just because the song was originally composed in English instead of being translated from Korean, but it flows very well and smoothly.
Their debut track "Bad Girl Good Girl" is also included on their first full length album, which remains one of their best songs ever. The repeated "You don't know me"s and "So shut up boy"s is unique, effortlessly catchy and in your face. The harmony and solos of each girl is solid. The composition of the whole song is empowering and seems to give off girl power. Hearing this song always makes me want to get up and move.
"A Class" closes with the Silver remix of "Goodbye Baby". It is a decent remix, but like movies where the original is always better than the sequel, the original is always better than the remix.
Highlights: "One to Ten", "Goodbye Baby", "Help Me", "Mr. Johnny", "Breathe", "Blankly", "Love Alone" (Not including "Bad Girl Good Girl" and "Love Again", which were previously released.
Weak Links: "Break It, Play the Music DJ", and "Step Up".
"A Class" is a strong debut and strong album in general. It does have its weak links, but strays away from having actual filler and consists of several highlights. The album does a fantastic job of showcasing what Miss A's musical style and what they have to offer. It shows their great promise and potential. If they continue their efforts, no doubt that in the future, Miss A will emerge as one of the top groups as well as one that is well respected and praised.
Rating: 4.25 Stars
Author's Note: First an artist critique, then a review of their recent EP, and now a review of their debut album! Am I showing bias yet? :P I genuinely love Miss A though and it didn't take long for them to become my favorite girl group, even though I've been giving other groups a try too. Something about them is so different and much more my taste. I enjoyed writing this in depth album review and hope it wasn't too long or boring. This concludes my series of Miss A posts for now, but I will definitely be writing more about them.
Featured artists in my upcoming K-Pop related posts will be my other two favorites, Younha and ALi. I will be doing some posts on more mainstream K-Pop as well.