MBLAQ has always been one of my favorite groups. Despite never reaching the heights of popularity as some of their competition, they’ve always had a steady string of solid releases. And then…they were just gone. Now back from an almost 2 year hiatus, the quintet is back with their newest single, Smokey Girl. In a way, Smokey Girl is a bit of a return to the style that we saw in their break out hit, Y. The boys deliver smooth vocals over a hypnotic electro-beat.
The song begins with a minimal beat. It’s a spacey sound with a heavy reverb that sets the scene as dark, and mysterious. Luckily, an electronic thump kicks in, and slowly builds around the ambient beat. It grows into a solid thread of electro-pop that creates a cool and mysterious sound.
Vocally, the boys deliver smooth vocals that fit the song’s atmosphere. Joon and Seung Ho are the clear stars of this song, as their vocal ranges fit perfectly. Despite GO’s incredible vocal talent, he is restrained this time, never delving into his pure vocal power. Mir’s rap is “blink and you miss it,” and Thunder’s autotuned parts are quite jarring and unnecessary.
The song’s sleek and slinky verses are quite catchy, the chorus is severely disappointing. The endless repetitions of “Smokey girl, smokey girl, smokey girl” just seem odd and out of place. Also…I can’t be the only one wondering what the hell a “smokey girl” is. A girl who always smells like a ash tray? What?
While the hypnotic beat certainly is alluring, it definitely lacks the power of MBLAQ’s past hits. I kept waiting for the song to really pick up into a dancefloor filler, but the punch the song needed never came. As a result, the song plays a bit like a 3-minute long intro. This isn’t the song you play at the club…but rather the one you use as background noise while you’re playing cool, throwing pickup lines at someone whose clearly out of your league.
Overall, Smokey Girl is definitely a cool electro-pop song. It definitely hearkens back to Y, intricate dance routines and all! While they definitely had a cool idea with the song’s subdued beat, I think they kind of lost focus in the execution. The beat is a bit too restrained, and the chorus flat out sucks. Still, when the mood is right, Smokey Girl will hit the spot. Now hopefully MBLAQ will return sooner rather than later with a more energetic sound.
Final Score: 3/5