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Friday, April 6, 2012

Speaking of SPICA

Well, that was a terrible pun. I guess that’s what you get for not updating a blog for…4 months?? Jesus. Okay, well, I said in my previous post that I would blog about IU, Tablo, and Rania, but there is a certain rookie girl group that is catching my attention right now, and that group is called SPICA.

Left to right: BoA, Narae, Joohyun, Jiwon (sitting), Bohyung

            Composed of five members, BoA, Narae, Jiwon, Joohyun, and Bohyung, this group is showing some major potential, even though they are only rookies. They debuted with “Russian Roulette,” and they just recently started promoting their follow-up single, “Painkiller.” Both songs can be found on their repackaged mini-album, “Painkiller.”

"Russian Roulette" MV

            First, let’s talk about Russian Roulette. The song begins with a catchy synth riff that instantly gives you a very chill vibe. I love how they used some electric guitar in the verses, and the vocals sound very solid. The verse slowly builds in energy and in the lead-in to the chorus, I can detect some subtle use of timpani, which adds nice depth to the sound. The lead-in ends with a clever and catchy “Bang bang bang bang bang!” The chorus is probably my favorite part of this track. The harmonies are well-crafted and all the voices blend together very nicely. With a driving melody and strong voices, the energy carries through to the end of the chorus, which is again punctuated by a “Bang bang bang bang bang!” I am not usually a fan of rapping in pop songs, and this track is no exception. The lines in the beginning and the middle fit well, I suppose, but I am going to stick to my belief that rapping lines belong in hip-hop and rap, not pop. The bridge of this song is interesting, because although the beginning is not very melodically complex, it does modulate into a major key for a moment, an intriguing twist not often found in pop songs.

"Russian Roulette" [120209] M! Countdown Debut Performance

            The live performance of “Russian Roulette” is spot-on, vocally. After watching several performances, I can say that this group does not need any background vocals or autotune, whatsoever. All five members of this group have the ability to maintain their pitch and breath throughout the song. They especially stand out to me because they harmonize live, and they sing the entirety of the song, unlike other groups (cough, Miss A, cough) who don’t sing the chorus. The choreography does not really require any complex movements since the track is very laid-back. It does, however, require clean lines which I think SPICA lacks sometimes in their synchronization. Their vocals definitely make up for the lack of interesting choreography, and you can tell by the equal line distribution and forgiving choreography that this group is mostly a vocal-based group, unlike Miss A, who is a dance-based group, or 2NE1, who relies a lot on stage presence.

"Painkiller" MV

           “Painkiller” starts with BoA vocalizing over a piano introduction, which immediately sets up the tone of the track: intense, dark, slow tempo (again). I wish they didn’t promote this song right after “Russian Roulette”, which was also intense, dark, and had a slow tempo. To me, this song showcases each of the members’ vocal abilites a lot more, since the instrumental is less interfering and a bit more relaxed, especially with the piano in the background. The strong beat coupled with the powerful vocals is definitely what makes this track filled with energy, though. The verses are actually better than the chorus. The melody lines have a lot of variation, and they don’t just stay in the same few pitches. The chorus is all right, mainly because I like listening to their harmonies. The main part of the chorus is just the words “Killer, killer, killer,”: easy to follow and sing along to, but also easily overplayed. I’m not too sure that this song will remain in my playlist that long, and I’m pretty sure that the “Killer” part will soon become annoying. However, the piano definitely helps with this song’s overall quality. One more part of this track bothers me, though: the ending. The tinny metallic sound is not pleasant at all, and I feel an impulse to immediately skip to the next song when I approach the end of the song.

"Painkiller" [120329] M! Countdown Debut Performance

            Again, their live performances do not feature any complicated choreography, which makes it repetitive and boring to watch, but is advantageous to the group vocally. Without complex motions and exhausting movements, each of the members can focus more on projecting and carrying out the emotions in their voices rather than in their dance. The group needs a little more stage presence, though, because I find myself pausing their videos halfway or straying to another tab with the sound still playing in the background.

            Overall, SPICA is a group with a lot of potential, and I am looking forward to seeing them appear in more interviews, music shows, and variety shows. Each of the members have very strong backgrounds, and I like the fact that the five of them are styled very distinctly. I can easily tell them apart, and it only took me a little while to learn all of their names (compared to knowing only one Apink member, Eunji, and knowing none of the B.A.P members). If you look on Youtube, you can see that SPICA takes pride in their vocal abilities, as they have uploaded many videos of them just singing on their own channel, and they have also sung for several radio shows, performing a different song each time.

Album: 9/10 (Lots of good songs, definitely listen to the whole thing)
Lives: 7/10 (Vocally solid, but boring choreography)
Visuals/Concept: 9/10 (Unique members, nice stage outfits)


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