Of the many girl idol groups that are active today, MAMAMOO, managed by agency Rainbow Bridge World, remains one of the rare standout gems that captivate audiences like no other.
Right from the start of their retro-funky debut in 2014, it was clear that the quartet (Solar, Wheein, Hwasa and Moonbyul) would not be your typical idol girl group — with their uniquely retro flavour, sultry stage presence and robust vocals, "pop diva group" would probably make for a better descriptor instead. While other groups were trying their hand at the newly popular genre of hip-hop, MAMAMOO stood by their urban and R&B roots to cultivate a consistent yet flexible sound that has now become a well-known signature of theirs.
With songs that touch on topics like independence, female empowerment and self-love, it was only a matter of time before they were given the spotlight that they now continue to bask in. From "Mr Ambiguous" to the more recent "Egotistic", read on to find out why you should start including MAMAMOO's tunes into your daily rotation for some groovy, good fun.
1. Their killer vocals
It's hard to find at an idol group whose vocal colour is as rich as MAMAMOO's. Lead or main vocals aside, the girls have proven that it's the combination of all the voices together that makes their sound so lush. Solar may be the one to belt out the climax high notes, but Hwasa would be there to build the tension before with a mix of husky runs and falsettos. Then, when Wheein comes in to contrast Solar's power with something lighter and brighter, Moonbyul's smooth rap anchors all the higher registers down to create what we love and collectively recognise as the resonance of MAMAMOO.
2. A diverse, genre-bending discography
Nobody said that an idol group has to stick to a single concept throughout their career to be successful. MAMAMOO may have been a retro group early back in 2014, but their albums and EPs have an impressive diversity that has songs that go from their usual R&B to the bossa nova "Words Don't Come Easy". On top of dance funk "Ahh Oop", Latin pop "Egotistic" and no-frills ballads like "I Miss You", they have also contributed tunes to the official soundtracks of K-dramas such as Goblin and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon.
3. The best live performances in the scene
Apart from their vocals, they are probably next most recognised for being some of the best live performers in the industry. Not only do they look stunning and dance well; their live performances are if not identical, a step-up from the songs' original recordings. The only thing that changes is their ad-libs; from embellishing their verses with extra vocal runs to referencing other artistes like BTS and BIGBANG, you can never guess what they have in store to switch it up with their songs next.
4. Laid-back stage charisma
The ease in the way they capture the attention of their audience has also led to a string of media coverage over the years, comparing their approachable charisma to that of veteran singers. This is because they genuinely have a heck of a time on stage, and all that laughing in their relaxed and candid states is so frustratingly infectious — it is hard to watch their performance without breaking into a smile at least once.
5. Self-written, self-produced, self-directed and self-choreographed
Being hyperaware of one's likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses has never been more well put to use than here. Apart from song production and lyrics, the girls have also self-directed portions of music videos, like in "Mr Ambiguous", as well as self-choreographed dances for songs such as the former, "Yes I Am" and "Egotistic" because they want to, and they can. This is why they have never stuck to a single concept or genre, and we can trust that their work is authentically theirs and not just a blind following of trends.
6. Their collaborations with other artistes
With voices as versatile and unique as theirs, collaborations are simply just irresistible and inevitable. In fact, collaborations with artistes were how their voices were first introduced to the world. From "Don't Be Happy" with Bumkey, "Friday Night" featuring Junggigo and more recently, a Moonbyul solo collaboration with Red Velvet's Seulgi in "Selfish", MAMAMOO has only just begun to show what other harmonies they are capable of making with other artistes.