BoA – THE FACE

March 20, 2008 at 5:38 PM | Posted in BoA | 16 Comments
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The cover of the CD+2DVD edition

THE FACE is BoA’s 6th Japanese album and it was released on February 27, 2008. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 185,388 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

Let’s say I love you, it’s so easy! I love the opening line of the album’s explosive intro track AGGRESSIVE. The accumulating synth of the beginning bursts into a flurry of strings and dance beats, making this song really exciting. The chorus is really catchy with its simple, yet invigorating melody too. Despite the title, this actually isn’t the most aggressive song on the album (that award would go to Girl In The Mirror which I’ll fill you in on later), but it’s still really fun.

Following the same style is Sweet Impact, the first single released for the album. This song isn’t as bad as I first perceived it mostly because of its placement after AGGRESSIVE and the use of catchy synth. I still find the song to be sort of generic, but it’s the “good” kind of generic.

Hey, a song featuring a Japanese rapper than I don’t totally hate! My Way, Your Way feat. WISE is a sad tune hidden behind fluffy, upbeat pop. The rapping sections provided by WISE are not bad at all and his voice oddly compliments the music. The same goes with the parts where BoA provides some backup vocals.

The album also has its fair share of ballads, starting with be with you.. What I didn’t mention when I reviewed the single is that the lyrics are written from the point of view of a dog (if you’ve seen the PV then you’ll know I mean). This really made me see the song in a different light and I started to appreciate it more because of the song’s theme of companionship. Lyrics aside, it’s an overall pleasant song with pretty vocals.

The transition into LOSE YOUR MIND is weird but it works out for this funky, but stylish song. Blending together dance beats, a brass section, and electric guitars riffs from Yutaka Furukawa, the music is quite abstract. The lyrics are sort of mindless too, but they go well with the song’s overall offbeat atmosphere.

Earlier in the review, I said that the opening track AGGRESSIVE wasn’t the most “aggressive” song the album. That’s because Girl In The Mirror aces that song when it comes to overall spunk and presence. Constant beats, synth, and brazen vocals are commonplace in this track, creating a very dynamic and incredibly mature sound. BoA’s vocals sound rougher than usual in the chorus, but that’s actually GOOD since it shows a different side of her.

Here’s another high quality track. Happy Birthday sounds very poppish and cute, but once again the music masks the somewhat bittersweet lyrics. The song is about an ex-boyfriend who she wished she could spend her birthday with. I especially liked the piano the closes the song because it sounded rather sad.

This is one of those instances where a B-side is better left off an album and in exchange for a much better one that was left out. This is how I feel about Diamond Heart, one of the B-sides from the LOVE LETTER single. I still think the song has a messy melody that has no direction to it, despite how cool the verses sounded. Give me Bad Drive, the B-side on the Sweet Impact single, over this any day!

My absolute favorite of the album’s singles was definitely LOVE LETTER. It’s such a bright and positive song, with matching vocals too. The chorus is beautifully done because of BoA’s brilliant emphasis on her vocals. The music is also quite nice too, mixing flowing strings and gentle beats.

The next track, BRAVE, features a darker sound with its synth and slower paced beats. There is also some electric guitar during the bridge, which I thought was a nice addition. BoA’s vocals are vibrant despite the laid back nature of the music.

Following BRAVE, the fresh sounding Gap ni Yarereta! comes in. This song is quite quirky from beginning to end, but still showcases a very poppish sound. I liked the chorus mostly because of the catchy melody and high notes BoA executes.

The quirkiness continues with Style, a hot mess of a song. It’s all over the place with its various synthed up instruments and background vocals. Everything just seems so random and there was really no organization in the overall presentation of this song at all. It’s quite forgettable anyway.

No album can be complete without a dramatic ballad, right? Not really but Smile again, the B-side from the LOSE YOUR MIND single, fills in that blank. It’s a standard ballad: powerful vocals, a sweeping arrangement, and touching moments galore. It’s not bad, but BoA has done better.

Well, here’s a B-side that I’m actually glad to see on this album! Beautiful Flowers from the LOVE LETTER single opens with quick drums and instantly becomes an insanely upbeat and cheerful song filled with catchy beats, vibrant strings, and synth. Just like the beginning of the chorus says: Get up, stand up!.

Ending the album is the heartwarming and sincere song Best Friend. This song is about a young fan of BoA’s and I could really sense a feeling of honesty and genuine sincerity coming from the lyrics. BoA gives an emotional vocal performance, especially during the incredibly down to earth chorus.

The limited CD+2DVD edition of the album features the R&B pop song Hey Boy, Hey Girl feat. BoA, a track performed by the rapper SEAMO. She does have a big role in the song, singing the catchy chorus plus some additional minor parts while SEAMO raps the verses. His voice is a little annoying though. You can find this song on his latest album Round About if you are interested.

I was impressed with THE FACE after the letdown of BoA’s previous album MADE IN TWENTY (20). This album actually has more mature material than MADE  IN TWENTY (20) since she had some personal input into its creation and production. I loved the theme of the album as well since it shows “the many faces of BoA” (it’s the inspiration for the title too). A lot of different musical styles are featured on the album and I enjoyed the amount of variety that was shown. I’m glad that she’s finally beginning to show her true self and this album was the perfect way to present that by proving her versatility as a singer.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. AGGRESSIVE
2. Sweet Impact
3. My Way, Your Way feat. WISE
4. be with you.
5. LOSE YOUR MIND feat. Yutaka Furukawa from DOPING PANDA
6. Girl In The Mirror
7. Happy Birthday
8. Diamond Heart
9. LOVE LETTER
10. BRAVE
11. Gap ni Yarareta! (ギャップにやられた!)
12. Style
13. Smile again
14. Beautiful Flowers
15. Best Friend
16. Hey Girl, Hey Boy feat. BoA / SEAMO [CD+2DVD bonus track]

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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16 Comments »

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  1. OMG!
    Thank you so much for the review.
    >W<
    I agree a lot with you on this.
    Much better over her other album.
    It kinda took a bit longer for it to grow on me though.

  2. I do wonder why “Bad Drive” was left off though, I mean it’s way better than Sweet Impact by a hundred miles….dang them XD

  3. OMG I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!! I LOVED THIS ALBUM MUCH MORE THEN MADE IN 20 I LOVED THIS ALBUm!! ^_^ GREAT REVIEW!!

  4. This is my favorite BoA album. Brave is the best song on this album in my opinion

  5. I agree w/ you about 85%. I ABSOLUTELY love Style; so off beat & different from any other BoA songs. be with you. is still my least favourite ballad song, thanks for Smile again, it’s much better than when I first listened to it. Best Friend is still ok to me, Diamond Heart has grown on me. Yea, why isn’t Bad Drive on here? RAD review!

  6. Your absolutely right about this album, it’s totally awesome. One of her best albums IMO.

    Its kinda funny that Mande In Twenty had better singles but the face made a better album though lol

  7. I liked MiT’s singles better, but I also think the album had more continuity and better flow than The Face.
    The Face does have better quality songs overall, but I think it is way too long and all over the place. I think “Gyappu ni yarareta”, “diamond heart”, and “be with you.” shouldn’t have been on it. I agree that “Bad Drive” should have replaced diamond heart.
    In my opinion it would be rated 4 stars.

  8. You’re dead on as usually Lex!

  9. I don’t like this album at all. I think it’s pretty crap. It sounds too much like “Outgrow”, only not as good. I think the most impressive song is “Brave” because it’s a departure for BoA is also shows signs of growth and maturity.

  10. The Face has officially replaced OUTGROW as my favorite BoA album XD, although I too am dissapointed over the decision to omit Bad Drive from the final tracklisting.

    I enjoy all of BoA’s albums, but of the bunch, Made in Twenty (20)rarely holds my interest the whole listen. The Face is much more of a “fun” album than most of her post Best of Soul music, while still maintaining some of the maturity she wanted to exude. Her vocals also come across as more refined.

    If you ask me, it’s not perfect, but it’s still a very good album.

  11. You have a professional flair to the review of this album. I like this album a lot. Thanks for the review. ^^

  12. i like ur reviews but just wondering where do u shop for these jap albums?

  13. i love ur review…
    but i think aggressive is the most aggresive song in this album..
    brave sure giving out a fresh side of boa..

  14. Couldn’t agree with you more :D I absolutely love this album, it’s becoming my favorite Japanese BoA album. I’m also glad she participated more in the album production. I’m looking forward to what else she has in store for us….

    Also, I’m glad your site is back. (I’m a bit slow XD) I always like reading your reviews. ^^

  15. I just disagree about Style! Hahahaha
    I LOVE the randomness, coz it’s hot and yeah!! cool !

  16. I’ve been getting into her here lately and I have to say this is by FAR her best album to date.


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