Unlike most songs released by idol bands, this song doesn’t really have much of a concept to it. If we are to think of some of the most popular concepts in Korea you might think of cute concepts, (Girls Generation’s ‘Gee’ or SHINee’s ‘Hello’), or a sexy concept (Brown Eyed Girls’ ‘Abracadabra’ or Rain’s ‘Hip Song’), or even the grown up and slightly dark concepts that have storylines to them which have been becoming more common (JYJ’s ‘In Heaven’ or MBLAQ’s ‘It’s War’). The most I could venture to say is that ‘You Bad Woman’ is a slow and beautiful rock ballad, which is more a description of the song than a concept.
The video is simple and their clothes are normal, except for Hongki’s penchant for wearing a multitude of rings and nail polish. He might not have rocked this look so much during this era but he does now, and while many K-pop fans may accept his slight eccentricities and think it cute, this is not a look that will be accepted for guys in the UK and will undoubtedly put some potential fans off listening to this song.
The performances are also kept simple and minimal which can sound like a negative thing, but if we take this at face value it’s fair to say that a simple concept is perfectly suited to this song as it allows the emotions of the lyrics and song to take centre stage.
I think this is a universal concept and would be suitable for many audiences, including UK audiences. Most people at one time or another will have experienced heartbreak and will attest that such a minimal concept is an accurate way to express the pain and loneliness after something like a breakup.
I think it’s valid to make a point of something that is more of a band concept and not something that is exclusive to this song alone, but FT Island is quite unique for a K-pop band as they play their own instruments. This is perhaps a slightly more traditional band construct as they have stepped away from the K-pop norm of being ‘idols’ who sing and dance on stage, and have adopted a more rock style concept. This could help familiarise UK audiences with Korean music more quickly as the band visual of one lead singer with a band behind him is something that we are accustomed to here in the UK (Maroon 5, Nickelback, My Chemical Romance, etc)
Score – 3.5/5
There’s not much to mention in this section due to the fact that ‘You Bad Woman’ is a ballad, and as such there is no choreography for this song.
It would be a little strange to see choreography in a song like ‘You Bad Woman’, and the most movement in the live performances of this song is really the lead singer, Hongki, swaying from side to side.
This lack of movement suits the feel of the song and the overall concept, and is something that is expected when it comes to slow songs that we listen to here in the UK; for example, when Adele sings her slow tempo songs, she stands in front of the microphone and rarely moves. When trying to convey deeper and more painful emotions, gimmicky dance moves will only hinder and perhaps cheapen any true sentiment the song is trying to convey.
This song has no English lyrics whatsoever which I have found to be a very rare thing in K-pop, but despite the lack of English lyrics the meaning behind the song is entirely obvious without being able to understand the words.
I feel that this song is akin to Adele’s heartfelt ballads, except ‘You Bad Woman’ has a more dramatic feel to it. It sounds like it is being played by an orchestra rather than a rock band and yet it is still a perfectly executed song. The slightly dramatic nature of the melody matches well with Hongki’s gorgeous, powerhouse vocals and emotional tinge to the lyrics.
With the likes of Adele bringing ballads into the charts, it’s fair to say that the UK audience appreciates soft and understated ballad tracks when coupled with heartfelt sentiment. While we may not be able to understand the lyrics, the pain in Hongki’s voice is universal. You may not understand what he’s saying, but whatever it is, he means it.
The lyrics sound so full of regret and pain that the first time that I heard this song I physically stopped what I was doing to sit down and listen to it. It has an enchanting quality to it that commands attention and has the ability to keep you listening until the very last note is played.
Perhaps for a UK audience the very dramatic music would be a slight turn off, seeing as most ballads we are used to have fairly bare and minimalistic music which allows the lyrics to speak for themselves. At least songs like ‘My Heart Will Go On’ (Celine Dion), ‘Take A Bow’ (Rihanna), ‘Someone Like You’ (Adele), ‘Hurt’ (Christina Aguilera) and ‘Because Of You’ (Kelly Clarkson) start out basic but build up to a climatic part, but ‘You Bad Woman’ is pretty full on from the get-go.
Overall score: 11.5/15 – So, there hasn’t really been a song that I’ve reviewed that I’ve scored poorly, and again with ‘You Bad Woman’ it has gained nearly full marks. But with influences like Adele and even Ed Sheeran to an extent, slower and more heartfelt songs are becoming more popular in the UK, and as such I really don’t see much standing in the way of FT Island being successful here.
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