While they Wonder Girls are top stars in their home of South Korea, they are still paying their dues to the American market. They’ve already accomplished more in the US than any other Hallyu star; they toured with the Jonas brothers, cracked the Billboard charts, scored a sponsorship with Justice, and even had their own movie on Teen Nick. However, they still have yet to become a recognizable figure to American audiences. With their latest single, Like Money, they hope to capture the attention of American audiences with things that we like; money, materialism, catchy dance beats, and a high profile collaboration. If this group was ever going to have breakout moment, I don’t see why this wouldn’t be it.
The Wonder Girls seem to have officially said goodbye to their reto concept. While they were at their peak with Nobody, I’m personally glad to see them ditch the confines of being “the retro group.” Like Money takes them into more American friendly area by using more trendy and contemporary beats. The song uses a sickeningly addicting euro-dance beat, with a little dubstep breakdown thrown in for good measure. Usually, I feel a little uneasy about seeing dubstep crop up in pop music, but in this case, the blend is seamless. It makes for a fun dance song that will easily find a home on radios, as well as club dancefloors.
Like Money seems to hit American with what they know best; materialism. Just as The DJ is Mine compared love to an ipod, Like Money is about a woman laying down some ground rules for love. The ever so catchy chorus demands “Love me like money, Love me like cars, love me babe, wherever you are. Hold me like diamonds, treat me like a star, love me babe, wherever you are.” The song continues with a long list of how a woman deserves to be treated, and I think its definitely something that women will love.
Also, Diamond Tears
The girls sound great on this track despite the sprinklings of autotune. As per usual, So Hee and Lim share the verses. So Hee in particular has never sounded so good. Her parts in the song are just perfect for her soft voice, and the autotune gives her a boost without being too distracting. Yenny and Sun take turns singing the song’s chorus, but they really shine by doing some powerful ad libs. Yu Bin’s rap section is probably the song’s standout moment. She raps with a surprisingly sexy and alluring tone, and a perfect accent to boot!
In the Wonder Girls’ Teen Nick special, we saw them rehearsing the choreography for Like Money, and I think it might be one of their strongest routines yet. We get to see this awesome dancing in their music video, which shows the girls in a futuristic setting as bionic women. Their outfits are seriously cool, and the dancing is on point. The video’s introduction couldn’t be any more perfect for them. It begins in Korean before a computer voice “translates” it into English. It then introduces each of the girls, saying that they’ve been “perfectly engineered for global domination.” Its a slight nod to the idol training seen in the Kpop world, and the fact that the Wonder Girls are trying to break into the world market.
The only drawback I see, is the one thing that will probably earn the girls the most attention. For this track, the girls have enlisted the help of one of music’s most well known names, Akon. I’ve never been a fan of Akon, mostly because I find his voice to be comparable to autotuned nails on a chalk board. This song is no exception. His verse doesn’t quite flow like the Girls’ does, and I find that he gets entirely too many lines to himself. It takes away too much time from the stars of the song, especially Lim and So Hee. Its nice to see a big name being featured, but…what? Was Jason Derulo busy? Is Ne-Yo too irrelevant now?
Overall, I’m really enjoying the Wonder Girls latest transformation. Like Money is a heavily addictive dance track that I believe American Audiences will enjoy. At this point, I think that the biggest thing holding back the girls is lack of a major US label backing them. Hopefulyl JYP knows what he’s doing, because he has some real hit potential with this track.
Final Score; 4/5