Let’s take it back to 2012, 8 years ago, when people thought the world was gonna end, and miss A was ready to ‘touch’ all our hearts… in a way that you might not think. The formerly-JYP Entertainment four-member group gave us a slamming debut in 2010, then proceeded to keep up the momentum into the next two years.
With their first mini-album, “Touch”, miss A turned around their concepts, leaving their ‘bad girl’ and ‘good-bye baby’ concepts behind for a darker, slightly tragic, and gothic image. However, was this image worth a touch or did it burn them upon contact?
Taking a page from the dark undertones of ‘Good-bye Baby’ and going even darker, “Touch” is a haunting song that is introduced by its overlaying melody with cuts of hard bass. Once that’s over, it delves right into a mixture of a heavy drum-beat meshed with the song’s hauntingly-played overlay. It remains this way for the remainder of the song, but it doesn’t get quite tiring, and its creepy sound keeps the song from being far less interesting. The girls deliver in their best forms for vocalization, as well, making this a formidable title track. While it isn’t one of my favorites from the quartet, they’ve touched my heart, ba~by.
Get ready for a lot of synth on this album, as it’s everywhere, and it starts mostly with “Lips”, an electro-dance number that takes us on a fast ride through a dance-beat before going right into a hard-hitting bass-and-synth combo that has the girls deliver with the best of their girl-crush and hip-hop-like power. Once we’re done with the verses, we’re taken back in space through light-speed with a ‘not-quite-chorus’ that hits and builds up to a frantic alarm of sounds before repeating the cycle. While that build-up doesn’t quite satisfy, the song still hits hard, giving us a dance track that is incredibly club-friendly and catchy that you’d probably want to get your lips moving to this song at all times.
Rock n Rule
Synthy, speedy, and full of bass, “Rock n Rule” has a wholesome, positive feel to its sound, giving us a ‘rocket-to-space’ vibe. With its sprint-like synth, the song takes us places; the song does tend to slowly fade in interest, as it does not quite have an oomph to its chorus. It is merely enjoyable, with a slight catchiness that has its listener singing along. Its dubstep breakdown is fun but does nothing to really save the track (if anything, it is a weird addition). It’s a good jam, but I don’t foresee myself getting into rock’n’rule.
Undoubtedly my favorite song on the mini, “No Mercy” is yet another synthy jam that then takes us into a sassy melody that has you swaying as you’re walking. It has a slight groove to its sound, but it doesn’t give us any mercy (ha, pun intended) by the chorus as it blends all that we’ve heard into a mixture of incredibly catchy beats to have us singing along. It feels very summer, like a breezy jam through the summer wind as the sun beats down. With its small dance-break, and the incredible delivery of the girls’ vocals, “No Mercy” is a threat to be reckoned with. It’s fun, breezy, catchy, and has no mercy in slaying.
The final original track on the mini, “Over U” is a hard-hitting synth track merged with a bass that beats right into the ear, representing the anger that is reflected in its lyrics. The song does not let up, going for both girl crush and ‘I-don’t-need-a-man’ in a blend of power. Its chorus is a loud, repetitive chant that has anthem-like feels. From whispers to the distortions of their vocals, “Over U” is a heavy ‘boy-be-gone’ kind of song, and frankly, after about 8 years, I don’t find myself quite over this.
Touch (Newport Mix)
Lastly, “Touch (Newport Mix)” takes on the title track with an even more somber tone, with its heavy piano and drum sound taking over as the girls sing along to the melody. It’s a truly dark song, giving the original track a more haunting sound to replace its modern K-pop vibe. While the song is listed as the ‘Newport Mix’ version, it doesn’t have any instance of it being a ‘mix’, as it feels more like a ballad version of the original. It’s a nice take, but certainly not to my liking, as it ends the mini on a really boring note. Not worth a touch for this one.
A nice effort from the quartet, and certainly very unique for its time, as the haunting feel of its title track was something not usually prevalent (though, there were certainly some coming up around the same time). However, its B-sides are where things really shined, with a majority of its B-sides going for a synth route that begged for you to dance, giving us songs that could have easily been worthy of title tracks. Not to say ‘Touch’ wasn’t good, because it was. I will say having that boring ‘mix’ at the end was a downer, but everything else makes up for that. Feel free to get your touch on this mini.
MUST-LISTEN: No Mercy, Over U, Touch, Lips