AOA Makes Long-Awaited Comeback with “Bingle Bangle”
After over a year of waiting, AOA has returned to compete for the title of queens of summer. Their comeback was likely delayed due to the departure of treasured vocalist Choa, but the rest of the girls have regrouped to deliver their fifth mini-album as we transition to a warmer season, reflected in the bright red seen throughout this comeback.
Since AOA’s last full group comeback was in the beginning of January of 2017, this year’s summer comeback is really competing with their hit “Good Luck” released in May of 2016. Unfortunately, aside from the absence of Choa’s colorful vocals, “Bingle Bangle” lacks the original flavor that AOA is known for.
The song itself is a chill summer track—light and airy. The problem with it is that it lacks the impact that would make it a memorable title track, especially with the rise of younger groups preparing for their summer comebacks. “Bingle Bangle” sounds like the theme song for a Coca-Cola commercial; whether that is a good or bad comparison is up for deliberation. It’s not very interesting melodically, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be as it’s a song about shaking your butt all night long. It’s cute and catchy, but it is not likely to leave a lasting impression after the end of the summer. Yuna and Hyejeong did, however, get more moments to stand out vocally, which is what they deserve.
The music video, on the other hand, is really a spectacle. The budget for the music video must have been larger than usual as the viewers (and eventually Mina’s character) are flung into a colorful virtual reality of sorts. All of the members look stunning and cheery, which adds to the appeal of the track. The graphics are some of the coolest of any K-Pop music video this year; it’s great to see a senior group getting the budget they deserve. One of the coolest scenes is when the girls dance in what looks like a tennis court in front of an animated sky that changes as the day goes on, getting cheered on by little animated people that appear throughout the video. There’s also a little reference to AOA Cream, who we also hope to have a comeback from soon. It’s hard not to smile while watching the music video, especially when Seolhyun shines as the center!
After listening to the rest of the mini-album, it’s easy to say that “Bingle Bangle” is the weakest track on it. The B-sides retain the AOA flavor but venture into different genres. It sounds like the girls visited Latin America or Southern Europe as all of the tracks have that area of influence. All of the songs are slightly different from each other too, covering different sounds of summer. “Bingle Bangle” as a title track doesn’t encompass how interesting the rest of the mini-album is.
Almost every other track could’ve served as the title track, but a top contender would have to be “Super Duper.” It’s rhythmically more interesting, with elements like piano and strings that are reminiscent of SISTAR’s “Give It To Me.” It doesn’t necessarily fit the summer concept, but it ties in more with AOA’s core sound mixed with classy disco and soul. The next track, “Heat,” is a really seductive, more acoustic song. There’s a guitar that is present through the entire track, and it’s sprinkled with little sound effects throughout. The vocals float alongside the melody as the girls blatantly tell their partners how beautiful they are, urging their crushes to approach them before they get impatient.
“Ladi Dadi” is definitely a standout song on the album. It’s the most electronic of all of the tracks, but it has a Latin touch, much like what you’d hear in a Zumba class. Latin-influenced music has definitely been a trend this year throughout K-Pop, so it’s not a surprise to see AOA tackle the genre as well. It’s a certified summer jam. Although it’s a fairly simple track, its straightforwardness is what makes it fun; the lyrics talk about dancing all night at a fiesta as the girls forget about partners that mistreated them.
The last two tracks aren’t as much of a standout as the first three, but they’re still fresh songs for the summer. “Parfait (파르페)” has a pop-rock intro before diving into the girl-crush concept. It has a catchy, quirky chorus and alludes to many food references, like chocolate, jelly, and cream. Jimin and Chanmi’s raps particularly stand out on this track. If you’re a fan of Produce 101’s “Yum-Yum” or Red Velvet’s “Dumb Dumb” era, this is up your alley, which makes sense as producer Ryan S. Jhun worked on all three projects. Last but not least is “Dododo (뚜뚜뚜),” which also exudes a Latin influence with the guitar. It’s also an upbeat track with an explosive chorus, and the lyrics are about telling a partner not to bother being sad as they’re the one who seems to have lied several times over in the relationship. The lyrics are a little simpler for the last two, but they’re still a good time.
The album overall is a solid summer release from AOA. It has something for every ELVIS. After a long break, it is only right that AOA shower us with some summer jams.