First off let me say that I have never heard Korean pop music, but someone gifted me this album and I decided to review it.

I would never listen to such music because I am a badass metal guy and I only listen to the rock and roll. I don’t like melody or pretty singing unless George Lynch is playing those melodies on his axe and Ozzy is singing real beautiful like on the first Sabbath album which is the only metal album I will listen to with Ozzy Osbourne because he sold out.

Piano Man EP cover

I know people that would say that and mean it. I hate them, but they don’t know because I could tell them they suck and they wouldn’t hear it. They don’t hear anything, ever. They sit with 1000 people around a lake and only see their own reflection. They attend a music festival and think they’re the only ones buying a $70 tour t-shirt. Fuck ’em. Moving on…

Track 1: Piano Man. Song starts out with one of the ladies – Hwasa – singing “I’m ready for some action” and that’s exactly what we get with this song. Pure action, from beginning to end. It’s a song musically dominated by a piano, and it’s about a guy who plays a piano. The music is very, very interesting compared to the stuff that passes as “pop music” in America or the UK. That’s not saying much but the real star(s) here: The vocals. “Hey piano man” “Hello”

And that’s about all that I can decipher because I’m terrible at Korean. I’m still trying but it’s hard to grasp the language in comparison to something like Japanese or Spanish. It’s close to Japanese I suppose. I don’t know. The only thing I know is that this was my introduction to Mamamoo and I fell in love.

Singers Hwasa, Wheein and Solar are three of the best live singers I have heard from any country. They’re able to harmonize perfectly, something many in my country haven’t been able to do since 1976.

“Piano Man” is not an RnB song. It isn’t a rap song or a dance song. It’s just a really good song. This is kind of a swinging song with piano and brass and I can not explain it further than that. The vocalists are complemented by a rapping part from Moonbyul, the resident rapper/singer of the band/group. I don’t know what to call this. It isn’t a girl group dancing around and doing rap songs. I guess you have to hear it to understand it but these women are talented AND restrained. They’re singers! What a novel concept. They aren’t cussing at me and thinking they came from the mean streets. They are showcasing their talents. You know. Stuff that entertainers are supposed to do. “Piano Man” from Mamamoo is one hundred times better than “Piano Man” from Billy Joel.

Which reminds me of a story, back in an English class during high school. We had to listen to a song and give our impression of it. The song? “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. The most depressing fucking song about being a singer ever. I pointed out that this song was horrendously depressing to the point of making a listener commit suicide. I got an A. Everyone else thought it was a fun song. They’re morons!

Track 2: Gentleman. “Gentleman” features a Korean-American singer named Esna, who was also one of the composers of this song (and the first track.) It’s a collaboration of sorts, I guess vocally only, but Esna has a very distinct voice that you pick up on immediately. Don’t let that fact distract you, though. Every member of Mamamoo has a distinct voice.

I realize during this song how far down this Korean rabbit hole I have gone, for I can pick out which woman is singing on their first note. Not only with Mamamoo, but with at least a dozen other Korean groups. I don’t know what happened to me. I’m not a hard, heavy, metalhead anymore. I have become someone that – OH FUCK – actually likes and appreciates melody and composition. It’s not hard to know when Moonbyul raps, but sometimes Hwasa raps. That’s what I’m talking about. I can tell you when each woman raps, sings, talks, or makes a noise in the background. Clearly, I’ve become a fan of this music over the past decade.

Who cares. Mamamoo does this kind of big band-ish type of shit with their tunes. I’m into big band type music. My great uncle was a jazz bandleader (and drummer) in the late 1920s and 30s. He recorded vinyl before most of your grandparents were even born, you fucking young nerds. Ohhh, I get it. You can’t listen to anything but what’s in your little stupid box. I was like that when I was 12.

There are people who will violently make fun of anyone into shit like this, and I get it. When I was 12, I would’ve rode my bike over to my own house and chased myself with a poster of Mamamoo, yelling about how gay I was, and that I was gonna kick my ass. I get it. The thing is, look, I ain’t fuckin’ 12 anymore. I’m a god damn old man and I grew up not only on metal but I loved the radio. 80s radio which brought me women like Madonna and Stevie Knicks and Donna Summer and Pat Benatar, and fuck you if you can’t handle someone being into music.

Like I usually say to people who like to get mouthy on musical subjects such as this: “I was listening to Van Halen when I was 5. What were you listening to? Teletubbies?”

Go fuck yourselves, you non-musical posers; wretched globs of human waste; dumb dufuses of Dorkville Dungeon. I’m old but I know posers when I see them. You might be one!

In this song Moonbyul really shines. The music is abnormal. It is musically extremely strange to me. It’s kind of off. It’s stranger than the metal, rock, or country shit that I would normally listen to. Every single noise project I have ever heard, and every single metal band I have ever heard, and there have been thousands…none of them, not one single band in the history of metal as a thing, could make something this strange sounding because their minds would probably blow up. It couldn’t have been simple to make something sound this simple yet not be simple.

Track 3: Love Lane. The beginning of this song has some guy saying “Just imagine. I know you want it.” He’s wrong. I don’t wan’t him. This kind of shit throws people off. It’s unneeded garbage put at the beginning of pop songs to make it sound more American. American pop has sounded dumb for 20 years and I don’t need some guy saying something before the women start singing the fuckin’ song! He sounds like a little wimpy guy.

The singing starts and it’s beautiful. We have another winner here, very good vocal performances from everyone. I love the harmonies on this song especially. It is very OLD sounding. The vibes given off are like a nice stroll around the town. That reminds me I haven’t walked in a town for years. I live in a tiny village that looks like ten bombs hit it and the people never recovered. Seriously, it’s a total shithole with one redeeming quality: Everyone fucking sticks to themselves. I like that because it’s what I do. I came here because I wanted to be left alone. And here I sit typing this shit, wanting to walk around a town. Maybe I should take a trip or something.

This song stops abrupbtly… and the ending musical part of it is at the beginning of the next fucking song which is just “Piano Man” again without any instruments but piano. I like it, maybe too much.

I took piano lessons when I was a kid and I’m certainly not good but I learned how to read music thanks to my piano teachers and I’ll always be indebted to them. I’d have been just another shit head, fucking dumb, guitar playing loser who doesn’t know shit about anything but god damn stupid tablature and the dreaded “self taught” lie that lots of people try to pass off on you in an effort to excuse the fact that they are music regurgitating pieces of human waste.

Mamamoo should be everyone’s introduction to Korean pop. They’re probably the best representation of what the genre as a whole can do if pushed to do something that isn’t just dancing around like Britney Spears or New Kids on the Block or something.

Remember how Samantha Fox used to dance? It’s kind of like that, but infinitely better, with much better vocal performances.

Here is their website: