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Mini album review: BoA - Starry Night

Mini album review: BoA - Starry Night | Random J Pop
Over the past 7 years BoA has really settled into a sound and started to give us the consistency that she was lacking musically for most of her career across her Korean and Japanese releases. It's interesting that it happens at a point when she no longer really has to give us quality, but maybe this is exactly the reason why she is. BoA feels no pressure to try and hit a benchmark or be anything in particular. She's been there, done that, bought that T-shirt. She secured her legacy a long time ago, got those hits, broke those records and became a name that defined eras in both J-Pop and K-Pop. So now she can just focus on doing what she likes and almost approach her music like a passion project as opposed to a job. The focus before was on BoA as a performer. Where-as now it's BoA as an artist. She doesn't even give us dancing in every music video any more Because, Y tho?

From Only One onward, BoA has given us quality. "Camo" was a blip that was rectified with the release of "One Shot, Two Shot" and the mini album of the same name. Just as "Amor" and "Feedback" were rectified with "Starry Night" and the mini album of the same name.

It'd be easy to think that Starry night is a holiday EP. I certainly did when it was first announced given the title, it black and white concept and its release date, but it's not at all. Although there is certainly Holiday vibes in the album title track.

Mini album review: BoA - Starry Night | Random J Pop

The title track and opener sounds almost identical to Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?", but far softer, evoking the feeling of cosying up with a loved one under the stars. It's a nice understated opener to the album which sets up the mini-album perfectly. Starry night is light on what anybody could consider bangers. The closest to such is "Black", which just shy of being mid-tempo, but hits pretty hard. It shares a similar vibe to "Kiss My Lips". Then there's "Think About You" which is cut from the same cloth as Woman's "I Like It" and "One Shot, Two Shot", which has become a bit of a signature sound for BoA now. Starry Night isn't trying to give you these big Pop moments as One Shot, Two Shot was. It's giving you sultriness. It feels like an off-shoot of Kiss My Lips more than it does a continuation of Woman or One Shot, Two Shot, which is no bad thing. Kiss My Lips was a nice album. And whilst BoA can serve uptempo Pop bops, she definitely has a penchant for these smoother songs and it's great to hear her still embracing it after tapping into it 10 years ago on Identity.

I'm genuinely proud of this bitch. I never thought that BoA would get her sound together after going so many years with it being such an inconsistent mess. But her past few Korean releases have all been solid. If I had to be a really picky bastard, it would be that SM still have certain go-to sounds. They change as time goes on, but when they settle on one, they do spread it around quite a bit. "I Don't Mind" could easily be a Taeyeon song, as it's in the same vein as "Spark". And "Black" could be a Super M song, as it shares a similar bounce to "2 Fast". Both are still great songs. But the comparisons and the sense of 'this could be somebody else's song' is very much there with them both.

Mini album review: BoA - Starry Night | Random J Pop

Starry night is a great lil' mini album with not a single bad song on it. It doesn't have any one song that really stands out to define it, but it is a really nice listen, with tight production, smooth vocals from BoA a consistency which makes it an easy top to bottom listen with no skips. It is the best distillation of the sound that BoA's been going for over the past 10 years. The challenge for BoA from here on out however, is how to evolve this sound and switch gears so that she doesn't get too safe and complacent. But that's a bridge she'll hopefully cross when she gets to it.

RATING: 8 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Black ★ J's fave
■ Butterfly
■ Think About You
■ Dry flower