Boa Kwon has been racking up record sales in South Korea and Japan since she was 13 years old. After being offered a contract at the age of 11 when accompanying her brother to a talent show, Boa Kwon put in two years of training before releasing her debut record in South Korea. ID; Peace B went to the tenth spot on the Korean album charts and, since then, she’s been using her command of Japanese, Korean and conversational English to achieve mass appeal.
With the release of BoA in March of 2009, Boa Kwon hit the shores of the United States. Using her stage name, BoA (Beat of Angel) uncorked her brand of standard pop and dance music for American audiences.
While the 22-year-old may have been popular for achieving popularity at such an early age, there’s little to BoA that hasn’t been seen or heard before in the pop world. Her sound is well-produced and cleanly manufactured, as though the songs were pieced together in a lab somewhere before being committed to CD.
The release of a “deluxe” version of BoA provides more opportunities to explore Boa Kwon’s American debut with the “soft comfort” of a couple of bonus tracks and the radio edit of the decidedly languid “Energetic.”
With production from Sean Garrett, Brian Kennedy and Bloodshy & Avant, BoA doesn’t stand out from the crowd in any way, shape or form. It’s dreary vocoder stuff written by a team of writers and performed by an inexpressive, plain vocalist. Nothing particularly stands out, apart from studio sheen, and BoA certainly doesn’t prove herself to be a performer to take note of with this U.S. debut.
The effects-filled “I Did It For Love” features the aforementioned Sean Garrett and pulses with an irritating stab at a club vibe and one of the most egregious uses of Auto-Tune I’ve heard on a pop record. It simply zaps any and all importance from the track, leaving a shell of a song that could have been performed by any subpar pop singer.
BoA leaves listeners longing for the likes of Britney Spears with passionless tracks like “Look Who’s Talking” and the corny “Dress Off.”
BoA’s deluxe edition isn’t overly deluxe, even for fans of the original U.S. debut. The addition of a paltry two tracks, neither of which are any good, won’t have people reaching for their wallets and the radio edit of “Energetic” is, well, a radio edit.
BoA is a sub-standard album from a Korean superstar who could have brought some of her culture and flavour to American shores. The record is tasteless and completely unadventurous, relying on the use of studio magic to shine light away from the fact that Boa Kwon just isn’t very gifted as a 20-something pop singer.