Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Super Junior – Mamacita

Several singles in, and your editor still mixes them up with Junior Senior…


Madeleine Lee: God, so Super Junior were the most musically compelling Korean boy band for like nine minutes five years ago and now I’m obligated to pay attention every time their company remembers to put out a CD for fans to bulk-buy? I thought the whole point of EXO was that we didn’t have to do this anymore, and by “this” I also mean “wholesale reuse of ‘No Diggity’.”

John Seroff: Almost too much: 10 members each with their own featured verse in just under three and a half minutes, a hook that splits the difference between “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “Bye Bye Bye” with Teddy Riley co-production, and sufficiently complex individual group, artist and corporate cultural identities separating the K-pop neophyte from engagement that one can easily become marooned with foolish questions. Which is the one with the hair? Is “close your lips / shut your tongue” a threat? Is 1000 digital albums sold enough to get you to number one on the US World Albums chart? Does “Mamacita” merit repeat listening? Spoilers: Sungmyn; pretty much; apparently so; aye yai yai yai yai wouldn’t argue against it.

Micha Cavaseno: I’m not sure how sleazy new jack swing is supposed to segue into Spanglish so effectively, but when you’ve got an OG like Teddy Riley in the studio, I imagine anything goes. Super Junior’s vocal sections remind me of a forklift in a warehouse slotting in one crate after another to optimize the spaces — they slip and slide in position carefully. “Mamacita” isn’t not nearly as funky as it aspires to be, but it’s got the tightness and discipline that SJ have been deploying even in their earlier records. What strikes me, though, is that their hammy qualities feel inadequate compared to the bitterness of the lyrics. Riley’s done his thing to great effect, but his production lacks the edge of tension to properly complete the vision.

Brad Shoup: It’s not fun watching the boys sink in this Swing Era morass. Especially when the bottom is like a new jack single at 16 rpm.

Katherine St Asaph: I am continually perplexed as to why people keep hoisting the fake-Latin boyband-song trend out of its ’90s grave.

Jessica Doyle: Put aside SM Entertainment’s history of finding bandito concepts really funny; put aside “shut your tongue,” which is not Shindong’s fault; and put aside some baffingly ill-considered choreography (featuring a move best described as, “Where did I put the goddamn keys?”). Put all that aside, to be fair to SuJu, and problems remain: the backing beat doesn’t support the vocal speed the way it should, and the two don’t sync up until after the rap, well into the second minute. Add in some underwhelming horns and an intro that reminds me of “No Diggity” — and I don’t know how you avoid suffering in comparison to “No Diggity” — and there’s not a whole lot left to grab onto. There is something interesting going on lyrically, admittedly, but what that is might be better explained by a longtime ELF familiar with the group’s history and mythology, not someone who still has “Sorry Sorry” on her to-listen list.

Patrick St. Michel: The most intriguing part of “Mamacita” is the beginning, when all those horns collide with the Indian percussion, making for a nice clash. Both get overshadowed soon after by a totally ehhhhh-it’s-alright pop song.

Sonya Nicholson: Listening to “Mamacita” again for this review, I had to revise my opinion on it upward a bit. I was going to compare it unfavorably to 2PM’s “Go Crazy,” EXID’s “Up and Down” and Taemin’s “Danger,” but while the only truly memorable parts of “Mamacita” are the titular hook and Shindong’s “close your lips, shut your tongue” line (for comedy value), and while “Mamacita” is the very definition of a “competent hook song,” there’s something to be said for how beautifully all the pieces slot together. I’m experiencing an odd double vision — on the one hand “Mamacita”‘s multitracked RnB harmonies and flamenco-dominated production are “lite” enough to become something like pleasant high-gloss wallpaper, and on the other hand they’re just so precisely applied. Like Super Junior, I must be getting old. Still like the barely-hinged second half of 2012’s more coded-as-juvenile novelty hit “Spy” better, though.

Reader average: [5.25] (4 votes)

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2 Responses to “Super Junior – Mamacita”

  1. I saw this on the blurber and thought it was Junior Senior :(

  2. ^^same :/