Monday, October 29, 2012

Miss A's "Independent Women Pt. III" Album Review

After the success of "Touch" earlier this year, the girls of Miss A are back with a new concept and image while still staying true to their style and selves.  This comeback has offered them the opportunity to expand on their strengths, making them better than ever.

"Independent Woman III" is a homage to the R&B girl groups of the late 90s to early 2000s, specifically Destiny's Child.  As a result, the album is influenced with light R&B elements, allowing the girls to display their voices.  While the choice to pinpoint Destiny's Child as the inspiration was not necessary, there was definitely no better girl group than Miss A to pull off the feminine yet strong, independent, and empowering image.

A more in depth look...

The album opens with the first plug "I Don't Need a Man", an upbeat song tinged with hip hop about how women can be independent and lead their own lives happily without a man.  The song is phenomenal with its positive message and lyrics and fun sound.  The lyrics don't just promote feminism and boast about how women don't need a man.  They're saying they're capable of driving themselves in life while being perfectly happy, and don't need to lean on their families for financial support either.  The song is very catchy, especially the chorus.  Min can also be heard rapping along with Jia too!  She once said in an interview that she can not rap, but it looks like she's proved herself wrong. It's nice to see Jia getting the opportunity to sing instead of judt rap more, and her distinctive voice fit the energy of the song well. As always, Fei sounded great, but underused.

The MV is K-Pop music videos at its visual best: fun and colorful, but not too over the top or random and doesn't take away from the song. All the girls looked amazing. Their outfits during the dance sequences were simple but stylish, and the styles each girl had for the MV were very fitting. The choreography doesn't look advanced but still a lot of fun, and the girls executed it well with a lot of energy and personality. "I Don't Need a Man" is arguably their best single yet.

The next track "Ma Style" combines light hip hop with R&B. The beat and music of the song is unique and fun. The song sounds sweet yet slightly funky. An upbeat and catchy song that sounds a bit different from the usual K-Pop.

After is "If I Were a Boy", which Miss A have been performing as the opening song in their music stages. It is a midtempo and soulful song with a melancholic feel that shows the girl's lovely and strong vocals. This is definitely a highlight of the album. However, it would've been better to name the song "If I'm Over You" to avoid further comparisons with Beyonce.

"Madness" featuring Taecyeon of 2PM can be said to be the ballad of the album and also has the heaviest R&B influence. Going along with the album's concept, Miss A sounds most like a soul girl group here. The song has a smooth, serene, yet mysterious feel that makes it such a pleasure to listen to. Out of all the songs, this shows the girl's voices most. They all sound so smooth and soulful. Fei also gets the rare opportunity to let her voice shine here and steals the show.

The closing track is "Time's Up". The song is an electropop dance song that's very infectious and catchy. It is the only song with no R&B or hip hop influence and is a very upbeat dance song coming after two slower soulful songs in a row. As a result, it does sound a bit out of place, but doesn't ruin the consistency of the album too much and closes the album on a high and fun note.


Miss A continues to be the most consistent girl group, having tried different styles and images but consistently releasing good material while remaining the feminine yet strong and independent girls they are.  They aren't forced to be overly girly or more mature than they are.  Their sound is always fresh, fun, and polished.  With their empowering image, they are definitely going far and will emerge on top.  "Independent Women Pt. III" is a homage to past girl groups, but they still make the material their own while pulling off the concept seamlessly.  Each song is superb and a great listen.  This is their best work yet.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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