Tags: BEG, Brown Eyed Girls, Ga-In, Jazz, Jea, K-Pop, Kpop, Miryo, Music, Narsha, Review
- Swing It Shorty (Intro)
- Sixth Sense
- Hot Shot
- La Bohème
- An Inconvenient Truth
- Countdown (Interlude)
- Cleansing Cream
Brown Eyed Girls have been on my mind all year since they announced they would be making a comeback that would be equal to or better than Abracadabra. They were so determined to do so that they trashed three albums’ worth of recordings because they weren’t satisfied with any of the songs and this caused them to postpone their comeback a number of times. It’s been two years since they’ve released their last album which is a very long time in the K-pop market. They’ve finally accomplished their goal with SIXTH SENSE and a few weeks ago they revealed the concept photos which had the quartet clad in crazy leather outfits, bringing fierce to a whole new level. The group goes back to their roots without sacrificing all the great things they accomplished with Sound G.
Swing It Shorty (Intro) is an amazing start and it takes the group to a different era, early 1900s swing music. Incorporating drums, brass instruments and superb vocals the group has already brought the freshest music in K-pop this year. The old jazz mood is delicious and their vocals are on fire. There’s an emphasis on their vocals on this album and you only just get a taste of what they’re going to do. Jea opens with vintage vocals that are followed by Narsha and Ga-In whose voices harmonize together so beautifully. This is truly a spectacular intro because it brings something new to the table and it has the vocals to back it up. Sixth Sense can only be described with one word, epic. It is a bombardment on the senses and this is exactly what the group wanted to accomplish. They believe that the experience of music is limited when you listen to it with the five senses so people must feel the music with their sixth sense. This song has a little bit of everything. It starts with a dark marching beat that leads to the inclusion of orchestral strings and a slight disco underpinning. Throw in jaw-dropping vocals and you’ve got the K-pop song of the year. The verses begin with Ga-In’s strong, fierce vocals and Narsha follows with rapid, high vocals which leads to Jea belting “hit that high” before heading into the chorus. It’s magnificent, aggressive and demands your attention. Their vocals in the hook are out of this world, filled with emotion and power. There’s even some wicked “meows” from Narsha that pop up. Things only get better when Miryo begins her rap and it’s one of the best I’ve heard in K-pop. It’s sophisticated, catchy and makes me like her a whole lot more. Jea comes back belting an insane note and what comes next is the biggest surprise in K-pop history. Ga-In and Narsha co-operatively hit a whistle note. I always knew Jea was a strong singer but I never knew the other two could sing like this. No other group in Korea is pushing their voices like this. I have to give it to the Brown Eyed girls for taking such a risk and actually making music with substance.
Hot Shot is another song that brings the heat and it contains a marvelous Latin flavour that’s similar to Ga-In’s solo material. I love the retro jazz vibe and the girls’ voices are to die for. Narsha’s deep voice, Ga-In’s sexy performance and Jea’s powerhouse vocals create delicious verses while Miryo delivers another great rap in the bridge. The chorus is fierce and Jea takes the lead with her fantastic vocals. Their backing vocals are layered perfectly with their leading vocals and it’s gorgeous to listen to. Catchy English lyrics are riddled throughout and the last line, “keep the change,” sounds so cool. In short, this is a fun-filled tune and one of the album’s best offerings. The quartet tones the album down with the calming mid-tempo La Bohème. The impact from the previous songs is missing and I was a bit disappointed when I first listened to this track because I was expecting a more tropical feel. However, the sweetness of this track has grown on me tremendously. The girls sing in a soft manner that compliments the breezy production. Ga-In and Narsha do a great job with the verses and Jea hits some strong notes in the chorus The highlight is the ad-lib/backing vocals section, “ttara ttara ra ra ra-boem (get all)/ttara ttara ra ra ra-boem(the thing that I want~~).” It’s playful, cute and super addicting. It took a while for it to sink in but the girls won me over again.
An Inconvenient Truth is a tragic and stunning ballad. The saddening piano chords and the fluttering strings fill the song with a sense of yearning and beauty. The airy and emotional delivery from the members leaves me speechless because of how amazing they sound. Jea aces the chorus with her angelic voice and I’ve never heard her sound so beautiful before. Her passion and intonation is perfect. This stands out amongst their other ballads and it’s their most breathtaking. Miryo’s rap, surprisingly, fits in very well and she does an excellent job of maintaining the tragic feel. I haven’t liked many K-pop ballads this year and this one fills that gap for me quite nicely. The rich vocals, magnificent production, amazing backing vocals and the overall sense of heartache make this a must-hear song. The intro to Lovemotion had me thinking it was going to be a cute song but then the vocals came in and they had a very soft, mellow vibe to them. Their voices suit the arrangement which is made up of quirky beats and it has a nice smooth feel. I really enjoy Narsha’s section because she brings a brighter feel into the melody with her vocals, “we feel the love, oh/we feel the same, oh.” The climax comes in the form of “na na nas” and the instrumental becomes more infectious as synthesizers are added into the equation. The melody is spiced up in the bridge and the new beat works extremely well with Miryo’s aggressive rap. It’s repetitive but it’s fun and the more I listen to it, the better it gets.
Countdown (Interlude) is amazing, crazy, brilliant and I can’t believe it’s not a full song. Only Brown Eyed Girls could pull something like this off and I love them so much for doing it. It’s Broadway inspired and Jea tears it up with her a capella singing, “and now/introducing, truly amazing, crazy show/all that you wanted, never never never seen there/true, true, true, truly stunning show/we are Brown Eyed Girls.” Dramatic beats barge in every so often to I’m not sure if it can be truly classified as a capella but it’s amazing regardless. The song suddenly becomes a jazz fest with the girls harmonizing together incredibly. The instrumentation is captivating, exciting and it will blow your mind. I can’t stress enough how much I wish this was a full song. This is one of the greatest interludes I’ve ever heard. Vendetta is another throwback and it’s equally delicious. Blaring horns are the dominating force and the energy is so intoxicating. The girls go for a powerful vocal approach and their backing vocals are sublime. It’s fast-paced, fun and filled with good vocals, “you make me mad, mad dadada.” The song isn’t without any surprises and halfway in it goes through a tempo change and the girls sing in a lush, high register. There’s another tempo change right after where they sing faster and it finally returns to its original tempo for a rap by Miryo. This closes the album on a high note and Miryo’s shout-out to all the members is a nice finish, “JA, Narsha, Baby G, Miryo.” The final song, Cleansing Cream, is a beautiful ballad that features Ga-In more than it does the other girls. I don’t mind because it’s a fantastic track and everyone gets some moments to showcase their talent. This is as fragile as the other ballad but it’s different because of the graceful layer of synthesizers that accompany the array of acoustics. The arrangement consists of gorgeous guitar, piano and string sequences that blend into a heavenly frailty. They perform with such vulnerability that it allows them to convey so much emotion, keeping their vocals clear and strong. It’s amazing how powerful they can sound with soft vocals. This is extremely depressing but its pure ear candy. The girls’ airy vocals drift through the touching instrumental and the harmonies that are created are incredible. Their luster voices bend and twist together to perfection. Miryo’s subdued rap sits alongside dramatic strings and it doesn’t ruin the flow or feel. The song wraps the final chorus with delicious layers of backing vocals and harmonies. Everything crescendos and the pain embodied in the melody is brought out even more while the quartet delivers their most tragic moment to date.
Conclusion: SIXTH SENSE is everything I wanted from the quartet and more. I’ve never been this excited for a comeback and they lived up to all the hype. To be honest, I was disappointed with a few of the songs but after taking the time to listen to the album and letting it sink in I’ve fallen in love with it. There are not many girl groups that can sing the way Brown Eyed Girls do and they push their vocals to the next level. I’ve never heard such amazing vocals from them and they bring it in each song. It’s great to see a group take risks and still manage to fill the songs with energy and excitement. The retro sound is a delicious treat and I’m glad they went for a more organic sound. While the repackage only contains one new song, it left me speechless and I would rather have quality than quantity. Despite its incredibly short tracklist, it’s the best K-pop album this year. Brown Eyed Girls have set the bar for comebacks high and they’ve now become my favourite girl group.
Recommended Tracks: Sixth Sense, Cleansing Cream, An Inconvenient Truth, Hot Shot, Countdown (Interlude) and Vendetta