If this, or any of my recent reviews, sounds a bit off, you'll have to forgive me. We're right on schedule, yes, but it's a pretty tight schedule until we get to the top ten songs, so I'm writing all these reviews with the flu and migraines left and right. I'm sorry. D:
Released: July 2011, South Korea
Again, I was debating between this song, and "Cry" from their earlier release this year, because really, "Cry" is stunning, but I believe "Mona Lisa" is the song that really put them somewhere musically. The possibilities of them ever completely making up for the travesty that was "Oh Yeah" are next to none, but at least now we're assured that MBLAQ are capable of actually making a good song.
Not just decent, but good. They can't sing it live to save themselves, but as a recording, and as a song, it's really good. And actually, it sounds a bit like what "Oh Yeah" should've been, had it not been blasphemous, what with the Mexican thing going on.
Vindication? Maybe. Does it make up for "Oh Yeah"? Again, definitely not.
They were given that oh so valuable second shot, and kudos to MBLAQ, because they got it spot-on. It has sophistication to it (which MBLAQ are in dire need of), but it's also not afraid to pack a punch. Strong production, a tight, yet fluid arrangement, and something that can actually make use of their arrogant vocals. It has enough K-Pop to make it familiar, but enough of the guitars and the Mexican-ish sound to make it interesting. It doesn't bore us to death, but it's not completely alien to us.
The entire song is very tight, clean where it's supposed to be, and chaotic where it's called for, but it's not too crowded. It's packed enough to give you an entire song, with a catchy melody, instruments running around all over the place and everything in between, but it has enough "air", so to say, to allow you to take everything in as it goes.
It makes you want to press repeat, not because you didn't catch a few of the gazillion different things happening throughout, but because you liked what you heard and you genuinely want to hear it again.