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Published on April 3rd, 2016 | by ponyforprez


The evolution of MAMAMOO and why they’re the best

Once in a while, we are blessed with a debut that marks a significant turning point in history. Four-member girl group MAMAMOO is one such example. Despite the members proving they were a force to be reckoned with after their debut with ‘Mr Ambiguous’, their rise to success wasn’t something that could have easily been predicted. After all, in the world of K-pop, talent isn’t enough to get you to the top.

We take a look at the girl group’s rise to stardom.

A strong start


Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein and Hwasa debuted on June 18, 2014, which means we’re just about inching toward the two-year mark since they appeared on the scene. Prior to their official debut, the girls released collaboration tracks with big names Bumkey, Wheesung and Geeks. Considering how these are artistes in K-pop that frequently collaborate with seasoned names, their releases with then-unknown MAMAMOO was a telling sign of what was to come. True enough, ‘Mr Ambiguous’ demonstrated the girls’ quirky and unique sound – a refreshing change from the usual cookie-cutter cute or sexy concepts. Even its choreography (thought up by the members themselves) is pretty unique too. Right off the bat, it was plain to see that MAMAMOO was something different.

In the same year, the girls released ‘Piano Man’, a jazzy number that upped their charisma and confidence by a ton. With the concept being a musical-like, almost theatrical number, the song gave MAMAMOO plenty of opportunities to display their vocal capabilities through big notes and climatic ad-libs.

2015: Where sounds become titles and MAMAMOO continued to soar 


‘Ah Oop!’ was the beginning of MAMAMOO’s playful take on what would make appropriate song titles. The track (off their third mini album ‘Pink Funky‘) was a collaboration with label mate eSNa, and delivered a 1960s electric blues sound that was as confident as it was empowering. While the track reminds one of MAMAMOO’s most underrated songs ever, it serves as one of many odes to the group’s incredible talent.


Shortly after, funky lead single ‘Um Oh Ah Yeh’ took Korea by storm with its catchy lyrics and the MV’s whacky cross-dressing shenanigans. It received commercial success, peaking at number three on the Gaon Chart and heightened the group’s popularity even more. Although the song failed to win on music shows, the promotional period for ‘Um Oh Ah Yeh’ saw their fan cafe growing by more than 19,000 people in just three months alone. This subsequently increased even more when their first fan meeting tickets sold out within one minute. All of this for a girl group that barely had any variety show appearances to showcase their personalities or “fun sides”. Their natural engaging selves simply managed to compel while they continued to shine as musicians on stage (2015 also marked their first win on Immortal Song 2).

2016: MAMAMOO officially reigns as K-pop goddesses 


At the beginning of the year, the quartet teased with pre-releases off their first full-length album ‘Melting‘. The sentimental ballad ‘I Miss You’ and spunky self-diss track ‘Pride of 1cm’ were instant hits with the public – not a surprise. We especially loved ‘Pride of 1cm’, a witty take on K-hiphop’s rising popularity in Korea. By the time ‘You’re The Best’, the title track, rolled around, everyone was well-prepped for MAMAMOO domination.

In true MAMAMOO fashion, the single was upbeat with a jazzy influence, incredibly addictive hooks and an all-round solid arrangement. With an unabashedly gleeful blend of guitar, blaring horns and percussion, ‘You’re The Best’ instantly made a connection, standing out among other January releases. On March 6, they nabbed their first ever music show win on Inkigayo, and went on to win another six times in 10 days. It was a massive success, and MooMoos (the group’s fan club) proved their utter tenacity in finally letting their girls take their rightful places in the spotlight.

Solar, Wheein, Hwasa and Moonbyul have certainly come a long way in a brisk 22 months. It’s rare that a girl group has members that each fulfill their roles with aplomb, and they execute this perfectly. What I also like about MAMAMOO is that while they’re positioning themselves as the crazy girls who know how to be loud and have fun and bust out all the dance moves that may sometimes look less than lady-like, they’re still not afraid to sing about boys – just like what most other girl groups do. Instead, they magically execute it in a manner that still retains a touch of brazen, cheeky sass, and that’s what we really can’t get enough of. Are they the best in our books? Certainly. And it looks like that’s a fact that’s not going to change for a long time to come, so long as they keep doing what they do.

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About the Author

Online: I spend a bulk of my time dissecting music/dramas in all their entirety or covering events for Dinoseoul. Offline: I’m really just your average, socially awkward girl who happens to have a penchant for dancing and cats.

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