Monday, December 1, 2014

[MV Review] Nicole - Mama

Finally after the long wait, KARA’s ex-member, Nicole, is back with a solo debut. Now we all know that she’s not that strong of a vocal, hell, she's mediocre, but of course, she tried her luck with a song that wasn’t extremely vocal-heavy, and the outcome was… interesting?

First things first, I'll discuss the video, then I'll get to talking about the song itself.

When it comes to kpop, or just music in general, I absolutely LOVE darker concepts, so when I saw the teasers, I couldn't help but be super hyped for this song. I honestly think that Nicole looks better than ever, but maybe that's just a personal preference of mine.

The choreography is slightly bland, except for when it gets to the chorus and the instrumental after the first chorus. I'm not one to be overly critical about dances, unless they're extremely cringeworthy, which this was not. However I worry about how she'll hold up in live performances where she has to sing and dance at the same time.

I looked in the comments and saw that people said the song and video did not compliment each other well, which I have to disagree with. I think that the video fit perfectly with the song if you look at what the lyrics are trying to depict.

The song talks about a girl who has been told by her mother (thus why the song is called 'Mama') to not fall in love because men are dangerous, seemingly because the mother has been hurt before. However, the girl starts to fall in love with a man, and when she realizes this, she becomes distraught and tries to push away her feelings until she finally accepts them, wanting to explore this new feeling with the man she's in love with.

Realizing that this is much to the distaste of her mother, many of the lyrics display an apologetic tone and the feelings of regret she feels towards her mother, constantly saying "sorry". Even though, instead of controlling her feelings, she decides to go against what her mother says and accept them.

If people who commented that nonsense about the song and video not fitting together had taken the time to actually read the lyrics, I believe those comments wouldn't exist in the first place, but of course, human ignorance is inevitable when it comes to things like this.

Now you may be asking, how does the video relate to this?


The first thing I'd like to talk about is the scene with the gum. In this scene, Nicole simply chews gum. Why is this so important? If you hadn't noticed, her outfit completely changed between the two scenes. The first scene in which she actually picks up the gum shows her wearing a black/dark outfit, displaying the feeling of being trapped in a veil of darkness and ignorance to the feelings of love. However, the last scene in which the gum is popped shows her in a white outfit. The popping of the gum could be linked to somebody finally letting go of pent up feelings, or the loss of one's innocence. The white outfits shows that she is finally in the light, and that her curiosities have been answered, no longer hidden and disposed of.


The scene with the balloons displays a similar message. The over sized sweater she wears can be linked to the fact that because she has been shielded her whole life, she feels childish. The fact that the sweater is too big represents that the space that needs to be filled for her to fit the sweater properly is not yet there, as she has not experienced what so many people her age had been allowed to. The color black on the balloons represents the same thing that it did in the previous scene, the feeling of being trapped. The amount of balloons that she carries around shows how long she's had to hold in these feelings and how burdened she feels doing so.

At the end of this particular scene, Nicole lets go of all the balloons except for one. It doesn't seem as if she did so on impulse, as they just sort of floated away without any particular effort from her part, as if she'd been carefully planning to do so for a while. This shows that she could no longer contain these feelings that she had, and the remaining balloon represents the last step that she could complete, actually allowing the man she loves to love her fully. She looks up at the balloon, showing that she knows that one day, she'll have to let go of this one too and let her feelings be free. The height of the ceiling can also be taken into account. The ceiling of the room this is shot in is very high, and it would be impossible to reach the balloons on her own. This shows that once she accepted her feelings, there was no way she could possibly take them back.

The last scene I'd like to talk about is the bathroom scene. I've seen people in the comments criticize this scene because it's "disgusting", but the video's message wouldn't have been conveyed as strongly if the scene wasn't included. In the scene, you can see Nicole holding a childish doll that contrasts heavily from the rest of the scene. The bathroom is extremely dirty, graffiti covering every inch of the walls. The doll represents her childish dreams of forever obeying her mother as well as her childish views on love and how she thought men would be (displayed by how the doll is drawn and the fact that is is of a man). In the end however, she throws the doll into the toilet, disposing of her child-like view on what love is and accepting that fact that the feelings she has are not those of a child, but those of a woman. This can also be shown by the fact that the bathroom is literally dirty, a symbol of "dirty" thoughts she's having.

The only complaint I have about the video is one of the outfits.

What the hell? Did the directors want her to look like one of the Branchtenders from Fallout: New Vegas? Because if so, they succeeded. The hoodie is absolutely awful, an eye-sore actually. Whoever designed the damn thing should be fired, and the person who made her wear it should be as well. 

Now for the fun part: the song itself. And all I have to say is that the song wasn't awful, but it wasn't extremely amazing either. The verses were extremely bland, lacking even. Nothing really stood out from them, but I guess that's expected from someone who isn't exactly the strongest vocal out there.

The bridge usually either makes or breaks the song, but here, it really didn't do anything to the song at all. It was just there. As I said earlier, she's not an amazing vocal, so I probably shouldn't have expected too much from it, but it should have at least been decent.

Now, I said the song wasn't awful, but all I've been doing is complaining about it. There are actually two things that I love about the song: the chorus and the instrumental.

The chorus is absolutely brilliant, and pretty much the only reason that I've been listening to the song at all. Had they sampled any other sound clip from the song to use in Teaser 2, I probably wouldn't have been interested in it at all.

The instrumental is also beautiful, the simple, single notes that are played by the piano are brilliant, and add to the darkness of the song, as its semi-bright tone contrasts heavily from the rest of the background music. I also really enjoyed the fact that they decided to use French in the song, as using other languages besides English and Korean in kpop isn't extremely common. Sure, I have no idea what whatever she's saying means, but it sounds nice (apparently she says, "L’amour de ma vie, vous êtes mon soleil").

All in all, I'd have to give this release a 3.5/5. Though the song was lacking, the video was brilliantly conducted, and thus the realease is deserving of this score. I'd also suggest checking out the actual mini album because the song 'Joker' that she did with Ricky was great, but I can see why it wasn't used for promotions.

What do you think of her solo debut? Do you believe that she could possibly make it on her own? Leave your answers in the comments section below, and if you have any suggestions for MVs I should review next, feel free to put those in the comments as well! ♥


  1. She looks utterly different here.

  2. link the damn official mv not the teaser D:

  3. I made reference to the Teaser in the paragraph proceeding, so thus I included it into the article to make a point. But if you so insist, I'll do so.

    1. lol yea I dont mind the teaser but putting the official mv would be nice since ppl wont have to go to youtube themselves

  4. Hyuna and Sunmi. Nicole should learn a thing a two from the two of them. Her lack in vocal technique is as apparent as with her lack in charisma and personality in this music video. She was always the most boring one in Kara. Even in other areas like variety, she struggled. She should have never made an appearance on Heroes. It made me dislike her more.
    The song and the music video are okay though. Credits to the composer and the director.

    1. This confuses me because, Hyuna and Sunmi aren't great vocalist either and said Nicole acted like she was on ten red bulls on variety. I'm not hating on me but I swear you have Nicole confused for someone else.

    2. But what if you're the one confusing Nicole with someone else??!!11

      No really, my point is that the two (Hyuna, Sunmi) aren't great vocalists either but they have the charisma and personality to make up for it. Well I don't know about you but Hara and Gyuri were the queen of varieties in Kara. Nicole was just, boring and awkward. Hence my Heroes reference. Even IU was much more interesting than her back then.

    3. And by personality, I mean boobs, and ass. I've lost count to the amount of times I've fapped to "Full Moon".

    4. Thanks for specifying that

      I agree that I enjoy Hara on variety and Gyuri's adult film thing was probably the most entertaining thing I heard on a variety show (of adult content.) I'm glad with this new image and song of Nicole a lot though, maybe in the future she can try something a bit more booming and attention getting, I only just dread that day because then people will start with the whole "So obviously trying to copy Hyuna/Sunmi/BoA/Hyolyn/Ailee/Kahi/2NE1/Big Bang (not joking people will pull say Big Bang!)" That shit WILL get annoying :/

  5. This song is the definition of "okay".

  6. I really love the song and MV. I listen to it a lot on my iPod. The more I listen to it, the more I enjoy it. The highlight for the song for me was the bridge and final chorus, it just has an epic feel.

  7. I agree with those who said that the song and video don't go well together. Where's the mother and where's the boyfriend? And the choreography proves that this really isn't the kind of song that you can dance to.

    Nicole is pretty hot, but she's a very weak vocalist.

    The song itself is just okay. It's not bad, but it's nothing special, which is kind of how I've felt about a lot of the k-pop of 2014.

  8. It's okay. The flow of the song is good, but they didn't try too hard to make it interesting.

  9. The one part of the MV that I was confused about was when she opened the box and a pair of legs fell out? The lyrics talk about her mom staying up longer than she expected at that line. I think Nicole did great in her debut. It might not have been flashy, but it was amazing.