Published on January 18th, 2015 | by Scott Interrante1
Sonamoo: ‘Déjà Vu’ album review
It’s not easy to have a successful, impactful debut. A new group has just one shot to not only provide a likeable song, but also give the audience a sense of who they are and establish themselves as a distinct and memorable voice. Sonamoo had a lot working against them for their debut. TS Entertainment has been involved in a controversy for the last few months of 2014 after B.A.P. filed a lawsuit against the company for unfair treatment and lack of pay. In a move clearly designed to distract from the lawsuit, TS moved Sonamoo’s debut up and rushed out the title song ‘Déjà Vu’. Of course, with the industry focused on award shows and holiday concerts, the song isn’t receiving much attention anyway. Despite the awkward timing of all this, Sonamoo managed to make a successful debut that shows a lot of promise.
The song itself is nothing particularly special; if an established group released this track I probably wouldn’t like it at all. But it has enough going for it that makes me want to stick with Sonamoo and see what they do next. ‘Déjà Vu’ is a heavy-R&B and hip-hop flavored pop song, reminding me of early-2000s Britney Spears. It’s a bold sound for a rookie group and they perform it with a confidence and flair that sets them apart from other debuts. At their debut showcase, the girls said that their role models are BIGBANG, and while ‘Déjà Vu’ doesn’t necessarily come close to Big Bang, or even label-mates B.A.P., they definitely have an edge to them. The seven members also all have distinct looks and personalities, allowing for the audience to easily identify everyone, another important factor in a debut. D.Ana and New Sun trade off raps effortlessly, D.Ana with a raspy low voice and the bobbed maknae New Sun’s machine-gun high flow. High.D shows off impressive vocal riffs in the chorus while pigtailed-leader Sumin, Euijin (my favorite!), Minjae, and Nahyun trade off vocals in the verses.
To contrast the aggressive dance beat of ‘Déjà Vu,’ Sonamoo has also been promoting ‘The Giving Tree,’ a reference to their name, which is Korean for pine tree. The song still has a strong RnB beat behind it, but this time for a sentimental ballad. It’s a largely forgettable song, but it showcases the individual members’ talents nicely.
Sonamoo’s best material, though, is the three other songs on their mini-album. I understand why ‘Déjà Vu’ was picked for the title track, because the other songs don’t make as strong of a statement, but musically they’re more interesting to me. They’re all driven by funky retro grooves, like the synthy disco of ‘Love Call,’ the sunshiny bubblegum pop of ‘Nation’s Little Sister’ and the new-jack swing of ‘Let’s Go.’
‘Déjà Vu’ was the perfect debut song to catch our interest, but it’s these album songs that prove Sonamoo has the potential to grow into a great girl group. Hopefully TS Entertainment will be able to get their act together and give the group a great year.