I noticed something when I reviewed SNSD songs in the past - either I really liked them but didn't review them, or when I reviewed them I didn't let them sink in, therefore making me regret what I said just a few days later. So this time, I took the time to really give all the tracks a chance to show me something fantastic, and I've come to quite a few conclusions.
There are pretty songs on the album (we'll get to them later), and the production on this was good like always, but the biggest problem of Hoot is that it's not an album. (or mini-album, doesn't matter) It has no right to be called an album.
So what's an album? An album is more than 12+ songs (5+ if it's a mini-album) put together on a CD, packaged and promoted. An album is a group of songs with identity, direction and cohesion - it reflects who that artist is at that specific point in time, and the songs on it become part of the artist's repertoire. I'm not saying all the songs should sound like each other because that's bad too, I'm saying that they should have a distinct sound, something unique to tie everything together.
You can argue that I said a few paragraphs ago that the production is standard SM, good, and that can be the common "sound", but if that's the case, then that means you can put together songs from any SME act and call it an album. That's not the way it goes. Production is an important part of a song, but I'm talking about identity here, something only that particular artist possesses, or pulls off very well.
Listen to these songs alone, and they're not half bad. To be honest with you there are songs I really like, but I'd never listen to all the tracks, in order, as a whole, because they sound like they're not only from different albums, but different years. Once again, you can argue that it's what you call "variety", but there are limits to variety, and you can't just put together 5 songs as you wish - there has to be a concept, an idea, behind them.
On it's own, Hoot is a pretty decent song. I didn't like it the first time I heard it, but it's Genie all over again. Only Genie's better. The idea behind it reminds me of an SNSD and SME-ized Two Different Tears, and I'm glad they've somehow toned down the sickening, and degrading, cuteness, one way or another. (It's still there though, I still hear it) It's got fantastic production as usual, the chorus is melodic but catchy, and the middle 8 has it's appeal. Somehow all these things come together and the song has just that little bit of kick - not fantastic, but not bad, not bad at all.
Mistake is like Hoot (the EP) in one song. It's got pretty verses, a gorgeous, gorgeous chorus, a nice light arrangement with beautiful strings and good vocals, but they don't gel together as well as they should. The jump from the bridge to the chorus is very awkward and, like the album, it's like you took parts of random songs and put them together. The middle 8 fits nicely though, even if it's a little generic and predictable. (like basically the entire song) It's gorgeous, but predictable. I'll give it to them for having pretty good vocals on this though.
Ah yes, My Best Friend. It's very girly and all, and it sounds very Disney - I would have no problem putting this in a Play album circa-early 2000's. I don't know about you guys, but I actually kinda like it. The electric guitars at the chorus give the song an edge compared to the Disney stuff, and even if they do sound very cutesy, it doesn't go overboard and does match the song. Except for the end where the vocals turn juvenile, it's a nice, light song.
Wake Up actually made me fall asleep. Oh, the irony. At some points, it sounds like a bunch of pre-teens trying to do Britney. There are times when it doesn't, but practically the entire hook sounds like that. It's annoying, and the song isn't exactly that exciting either - in trying to be all serious and all, it gets boring and doesn't really go anymore. It's all style, and no substance - there are all these effects, the guitars and all these dark, heavy instruments in the background, but they fail to deliver one, a solid, strong melody and two, a hook that doesn't just go on and on and on and make you want to press forward.
Quite a few parts of Snowy Wish reminds me of one of the songs from Genie. Etude, was it? It has similar percussion and string lines, and even the structure has some similarities. They were good at first, but it's nothing new anymore. Boring. The song itself is the kind you hear on those Saturday morning kid's cartoons about a girl who lives in a small house in the middle of a gazillion flowers then she goes out and prances around, chasing her pet puppy. LOL here I go again describing stuff. (see: my review of The Wanted's debut album) But really, that's what I get when I hear the song!
3.9/5 - Good production, decent songs, but it's not an album. That alone brings the score down, by a lot.