Confession: I’ve been thinking about BoA too much lately. This is mostly going to be my personal ancedote but I’ll talk about BoA’s declining Japanese career, her disillusionment with music, and all that fun stuff. I’ll try not to be too stannish and run around in meadows singing “BoA I love you~” on infinite replay, but if I do you have been warned.
So like some people okay a lot of people, I discovered BoA through Every Heart aka that ED from Inuyasha. Yeah I know, what a unique way to discover her. Nevertheless, there were two things that made Every Heart the favorite out of all the OP and ED themes: 1). The instrumentation with the heavy orchestral line and 2). The angelic voice that hit every note perfectly. It wasn’t long before I found the albums LOVE&HONESTY and My Name. While I wasn’t too fond of My Name, LOVE&HONESTY really was ~*amazing*~ to the eleven year old me at the same time. I still think of it as a solid album today. But really my BoA fandom took off when I found out about…
There’s a really big difference between just liking an artist’s work and following/cheering an artist along their career path. BoAjjang was definitely the site that help me reached the second stage. After all, what other site is made entirely up of rabid BoA stans? Yeah, BoAjjang. Sadly, I was one of “them BoA stans” during that time as I despaired over BoA “only hitting #7 on Oricon for Dakishimeru”/praising how perfect Everlasting was/crying through the Winter Love PV and etc. Thankfully I ~*OUTGROW*~ed that nasty phase or at least I was brought back to Earth on how BoA wasn’t perfect, it’s okay to criticize her, and how not everyone will like her. Sadly, it seems as if most of BoAjjang has never learned that lesson evidenced by the way the mods are banning everyone who doesn’t stay stuff like “OMG BOA IS PERFECT ANGEL! SARANGHAEYOOOOOOH!!!!!!” Speaking of Korean….
Her K-Pop Career:
I’ve always hated her Kpop music, oddly enough. It’s probably because she’d have one good song (My Name, Girls on Top) and then the rest of the album would freakin’ SUCK. Kpop has always been more about performing one song over and over on every show and lipsynching it while everyone goes *~BoA fIgHTINg!!!!!!!!!!~*anyways. I’m glad that she ditched Korea for good 4 years ago which was a smart business choice in any case since her Korean career = twice the work for 1/4 of the money. If you haven’t noticed by the amount of music shows/performances she’s had to dance on and her album sales, yeah the Korean music industry is in decline. BoA’s a lot better off flopping in Japan than suceeding in Korea. Which brings me to my next topic…
Flopping in Japan:
While many of the underappreciated Jpop artists dream of achieving sales above 1k, BoA’s sales post-Best of Soul era (or more specifically, post-DO THE MOTION) are really pathetic for a supposed “A-lister” who promotes avex promotes like hell and has the say so to walk into any music program. Of course BoA’s always been more of an album seller but she’s been going down the slippery slope for awhile now. THE FACE album sold 185k and her triple A-side single sold 29k. That’s not just a little bad-it’s really pathetic since even Nana Mizuki can outsell BoA singles-wise. And it’s not just BoA’s sales that are so bad, the quality of her music has been declining too as her songs increasingly turn into mediocre ballads, uncatchy dance tunes, and mediocre ballads. Of course she puts out the occasional BRAVE or AGRESSIVE but still, her music sucks. And it’s really BoA’s fault since….
BoA “No Longer Enjoys Working Anymore”:
I’m not exactly sure how many people have heard about the infamous interview but this is the obvious explanation to why her music has been sucking post-Best of Soul. While it’s no surprise that she’s burned out-she’s been training since she was 10, she debuted at 12 or 13, and she’s been traveling back and forth from Korea and Japan-she really was majorly depressed since she felt that she has “lost direction” in life since post-Best of Soul and that “her identity as a human has been lost”. I’m trying not be a major drama queen but this always seemed like a plea of a major help to me and I wasn’t too happy with the way many people, especially her company, just went “awww….poor thing….okay KEEP WORKING” and she went on to release THE FACE , Vivid, and you know jumpstarted her US career. While I’ll talk more about her US career in the next post, all I can say is just compare her old performances to her new ones. During her earlier years in the VALENTI or Love & Honesty era, BoA always danced her ass off and looked as if she enjoyed performing. If you watch more recent performances from THE FACE or Made in Twenty, look into her eyes and you’ll see…nothing. No fire, no passion. She’s not enjoying herself and that’s what worried me most.
The difference is obvious.
My Top 10 BoA Songs:
This post has quickly gotten depressing and pessimistic so I think I’ll end here with my Top 10 songs. This list has been shuffling for quite awhile now as I grow tired of songs and rediscover the “magic” in others. VALENTI is my favorite album so I tend to gravitate towards songs more of that era. Anyways, here we go:
10. soundscape: For a time, I was actually in love with Everlasting but eventually…I got bored of it. Anyways, soundscape is a chill mid-tempo tune that’s super catchy all the way through. I just love the “doo x5” in the song. I often catch myself singing that part while studying.
9. Rock With You: I used to love this song so much when I was 12 or 13. This is BoA’s only attempt at rock-pop and it’s a good one though I don’t think it would’ve been a good idea to continue. Rock With You definitely has one of the best choruses in all of her songs which is full of energy and power.
8. VALENTI: Probably BoA’s most well-known dance-pop song and for good reason to. It’s definitely a bit cheesy but the Spanish flavor and guitar blends well to make the song catchy, fresh, and fun. I have a feeling that lot of English-speaking BoA fans don’t like it too much though, anyone want to prove me wrong?
7. BRAVE: Along with AGGRESSIVE, this was the only song that I liked from THE FACE to be honest. BoA’s not too well known for doing mellow rock-flavored ballads, but this really works well for some reason. The whole song really reminds me of a struggling journey, which I think was the point of the song. In fact, I always thought this would’ve been good for any shounen anime-I could totally see this as a Claymore AMV or something *hint* *hint*. Also, the dude who wrote this song wrote Nana Mizuki’s Astrogation. How awesome is that?
6. Bad Drive: Why this was the b-side to Sweet Impact and why it never made it on THE FACE album, we will never know. This song has always managed to dance its way inside my head every so often, but it’s really the dance performance from THE FACE tour that makes Bad Drive even more awesome:
And I really can’t come up with a better explanation than this.
5. OUTGROW~ready butterfly~: I always wondered what would’ve happened if BoA went into the direction of trance-pop. The results might’ve been good if her material was in the same vein as OUTGROW since this song (not the album) is amazing. There’s a lot of different beats and tweaks in the song but it all works and BoA’s high vocals really match the song well. This should have had a PV too.
4. Love & Honesty: Another really good ballad from BoA back when she had good ballads. I always wondered why she never made a PV for it since it was catchy enough to attract people’s attention and sing-songy enough for karaoke. This also has another combination of strong orchestral strings and pop beats in the instrumentation which is the winning combo for me I guess.
3. DISCOVERY: An little-known album track from VALENTI that never got promoted…or performed. It’s probably a good thing that this never got performed considering how BoA struggles with her lower range, but on record this is probably BoA’s only song where she was right on with both her lower and upper vocal ranges. The instrumentation is gorgeous and it keeps the “nature” theme that VALENTI had.
2. Every Heart: Surely I had to have this song on here somewhere? It’s always been an uplifting song for me, perfect to listen to at night. Oddly enough, this song has been kind of my “prayer” song and usually before a big test or something, I’ll sit and look outside at the window while playing this song. Stupid, right? Well that’s me.
1. Kiseki: So if you were wondering why I ended up calling my username for everything (except BoAjjang LOL) is kiseki gurl, you now know why. This song is absolute perfection for me with the catchy beat, strong piano line, orchestral background, and BoA’s clear high vocals. I’ve always loved this song always will.