When I saw that SM Town had posted a brand new BoA music video, I thought that she’d gone and pulled a Beyonce with a surprise release. Then I realized that the MV, for a breezy little number titled “Who Are You,” was just a pre-release single before the 28-year-old makes her full-fledged K-pop comeback on May 12 with her eighth studio album.
Even though “Who Are You” is just a pre-release, I really wouldn’t have minded if it was the official single. It’s a lovely throwback to the late ’90s J-pop that was so heavily influenced by the trendy American R&B and hip-hop of that decade. (Although many urban J-divas are still pushing this very sound today, so in some ways it still feels current for J-pop. Or should I say dated?)
“Who Are You” was supposedly written and produced by BoA herself. I never believe Korean idols when they say they’ve self-composed music as it’s usually just a marketing tactic learned from America to make manufactured pop stars look like ‘artists’, but “Who Are You” shares many similarities with some of BoA’s other self-composed singles, like “Only One” and “Disturbance,” so she might actually be telling the truth.
There’s a lot of “Disturbance” in “Who Are You,” but the old-school flavour and hip-hop twist (thanks to a strong feature from rapper Gaeko) gives the song its own style. It feels like a long-run hit that’s going to hang around Melon all summer even if it’s actual chart peak isn’t terribly high.
As expected, K-pop’s endlessly excellent dancing queen has delivered the goods just like she does with every comeback. (Minus maybe “Hurricane Venus,” but EVERY track minus the title from that album slayed so it doesn’t count.) I just wish SM didn’t have to stick a fucking EXO member in the MV to get the kids to pay attention. In a perfect world just BoA would be enough.