Friday, August 23, 2013

Spica- [Group Review]

In honor of Spica's eminent return, I wanted to share their awesomeness. Personally, my biases in a group are usually the best vocally so it's pretty easy to imagine how attached I am to this group. They are up there with pancakes and puppies, if you really wanna know.

As previously mentioned, Spica is by far the most vocally talented idol group out there right now. Its hard to actually assess their vocal prowess individually because all of them are so much better than your average idol. For this reason I find it kind of ridiculous that their agency even bothered assigning roles out side of rapper and vocalist. Here's a quick rundown of the members and what I think of them:

Boa is the leader of the group as well as being one of the most prominently featured member. Her voice is deep and rich with a delightfully raspy texture. She has great control of her voice and definitely can belt her lungs out, but her range seems a bit limited. the quality of her voice is beyond exceptional, however, and more than makes up for any limitations it may have.

Juhyun is the rapper of the group and she does so with gusto but what sets her apart from other rappers is that she can sing. well. Like I had said, everyone in the group is at least at the level of other groups's lead vocalists and Juhyun is no exception. She can harmonize with the group and sometimes even gets solo singing lines. Her rapping however has a dark feel. It has twinges of anger and remorse but is expressive without completely overdoing it as is common of some kpop rappers. Most notably, she manages to bring some class to rap with is refreshing compared to the usual thug image associated with the artform.

The softest voice in the group belongs to Jiwon. While this would normally be considered a weakness, in a group of so many powerhouse vocalists, her light, soothing voice is a welcome reprieve from the vocal barrage. This doesn't mean she is bad by anymeans. She can still belt and wail with the rest of them, her voice just doesn't have the richness of some of the other members. She also brings a lot in the visual department along with some connections (she was a member of T-ara and Five Girls but never made it to debut).

Narae lies very much in the middle of the group. Visually, she is towards the top and vocally, her voice lacks the breadth and refined qualities of Boa and Bohyung but still has more power than Jiwon. She gets a bit shafted in terms of lines but it's easy to see that she has the talent to belong in the group.

My personal bias, Bohyung, is the start vocalist of the group. Her voice is the richest and most powerful and because of this is featured front and center for most songs. While she barely misses the top tier of vocalists (Hyorin, Davichi, etc...), she definitely has been scraping the barrier. Her vocals have a very smooth and deep tonality which, when coupled with the power behind it all, make her the defining vocalist of the group.

Spica got off to a strong start in 2012 releasing four promotional songs but have yet to release anything for 2013. But don't fear, they are coming back and it probably will be amazing. I mean it's Spica... Anyways, the group's debut single was titled "Russian Roulette" and was produced by the ever amazing Sweetune. The song was suitably dark and the video was suitably dark and relevant to the concept. The song itself is dynamic and sorrowfully melodic. The arrangement has sweeping strings which is always an immediate plus. As with all Sweetune creations, there are too many elements to describe but all of them are quirky and creative but in perfect harmony. The song is definitely dark but didn't cross over into the sexy-dark concept that comes and goes in kpop. "Russian Roulette" is by far my favorite song by the group for its breadth of emotions and how the verses build into the chorus. The group then progressed to a more subdued 90's pop tinged sound with "Painkiller" while maintaining the dark concept. The chorus is very understated which contrasst with the louder and more melodic verses. While the chorus is very bland, by the third repetition, enough elements have been added that the chorus become a Boa-Bohyung yelling match. This song definitely went for a more commercial sound but I personally found it a bit bland and forgettable than its predecessor. The group then switched to a more cheery concept with the upbeat pop song, "I'll be there". Can we pretend this never happened? The song is a disgrace to their abilities and comes across as blasé in comparison to their other works. Most recently, the girls released the obvious Sistar "Alone" rip off, "Lonely". Fortunately, apart from the topic and the dresses, the songs are completely different.  "Lonely" brings the group to a more brassy, old school sound that suits them very well. From the catchy chorus to the infectious "bada da da da"s, the song starts rooting their sound in pop which is something none of their previous releases had managed to do. As always, the girls wailed their hearts content and the arrangement was strong enough to stand up to it.

With their comeback, I hope that the group explores the different musical styles available to them. They have the ability to sing anything, it is just a matter of finding the right song to match the group's personality. I would totally be interested to see how they handle a more traditional ballad maybe as a B-side to their comeback song. What Spica really needs is to start expanding into singing OSTs and featuring with other artists more. The only thing holding them back is a lack of publicity and the moment that they get the right song and land enough collaborations and acting gigs, I'm sure they will finally secure their place in the kpop scene.

If you have any questions, requests, or comments, feel free to leave them below!

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