As a whole, nothing is particularly memorable and despite the several repeats I endured for the purpose of this review, not one track remains with me.
I’m not overly familiar with miss A’s catalogue and this is the first time I’ve actually sat down and listened to one of their albums in entirety. I wasn’t particularly fond of the girls until I saw them live and became momentarily enlightened—they have a great image and strong stage presence, and in general their performance was fun and energetic. As there has been a lot of talk about TOUCH around the internet, I thought I’d give it a listen.
Looking at the cover seeing the girls spread out in the floor in dark, sexy makeup and tight little black dresses, I initially expected a fierce collection of songs. I was, however, disappointed.
Here is the track breakdown.
The opening of Touch really doesn’t know what it’s doing—the alternating chimes and electronic drums create an interesting juxtaposition which is deadened when the track opens up. The tempo is a little slower than anticipated and lacks the power one would expect of a title track. It seems to float through to completion without ever reaching any form of climax along the way. The vocals are great and no doubt the choreography spectacular but the song is bland and ultimately forgettable.
Lips sets its sexy tone right from the get-go and is perhaps the only track which befits the image on the album jacket. It has the feel of 90s club music, which gains kudos purely for the nostalgia factor, and this had me almost wanting to get up and dance. The track approaches what one expects of the album but inevitably falls short by once again being unmemorable.
03. Rock n Rule
When I saw the title for this song I was hoping for something fierce and powerful. Unfortunately for me the song turned out fluffier than the title promised. Rock n Rule is a bit of fun with a nice upbeat feel and will provide some listeners with cheer and optimism with its bouncy tune and light vocals; I, however, find it generally uninspiring to the point of being irritating. Usually the more I listen to a song, the more like it, but in the case of Rock n Rule, the more I listened the more I hated. It’s catchy, but not catchy enough.
04. No Mercy
I have to say I was a little excited by the funky bass-heavy opening but this fell flat when the song chilled out in a similar manner to Touch. It failed to inspire me to do little more than bop my head along to the beat, which is disappointing of any pop song. Like previous tracks, it is almost impossible to recall any lyrics or melody of No Mercy once the song has ended. And I listened to this song many times. Many, many times.
05. Over U
This is possibly the best track on the album. Although Over U doesn’t sound particularly different to the other tracks—there is a very distinct flavour running throughout the entire compilation—Jia’s powerful and sexy rap segment makes it a highlight. The rap adds an attitude that is clearly lacking across the other tracks making it all the more engaging. The repetitive chorus is a catchy hook bound to get stuck in listeners’ heads but also threatens to drive them insane.
06. Touch (Newport mix)
I was intrigued by this track from the moment the piano sounded in the introduction. I’m not a great lover of ballads but this sound suits the feel of Touch and this mix seems a more appropriate composition than the original. The vocals are haunting against the mellow piano backing and this automatically creates a more powerful impact than the one presented at the opening of the album. I was pleasantly surprised with this as remixes and alternate versions of songs tend to be overly electronic, ravaged by auto-tune and generally painful to listen to. This song brings out a refreshingly elegant side of miss A and overall, Touch (Newport mix) is a more memorable track which should have seen Touch the original scrapped all together.
This mini-album is quite cohesive: everything has a very discernable ‘miss A’ sound and a common feel underpinning each of the tracks. That’s not to say all the songs sound the same. Well, maybe it does. The album lacks depth and each song seems to be a progression of the next. With each track pumping a similar tempo (exclusive of Rock n Rule, but that pop-based melody fails in containing any hook to catch listeners for more than one play-through) it is hard for any one song to leave a resounding impression. As a whole, nothing is particularly memorable and despite the several repeats I endured for the purpose of this review, not one track remains with me.
If you’re a of miss A then I doubt you’ll be disappointed, but if you’re new and looking to get in on the hype then this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. With the exception of Over U and the surprisingly stunning Touch (Newport Mix) there is nothing quite strong enough to drag in the new listener.