aespa "drama" mini album's cover art

Aespa Brings 'Drama': Mini-Album Review

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November 23, 2023

In "Drama," aespa's fourth mini-album, the group delivers a whirlwind 22 minutes of sonic experimentation, blending punchy electro-pop with elements of hip-hop across seven distinct tracks. Their latest release, "Drama," takes listeners on a daring journey, showcasing their robust vocal talents and mix of genres. But the question remains: do we need more drama?


espa, the trailblazing K-Pop quartet, released their fourth mini-album, 'Drama,' on November 27, 2023 — a collection of seven tracks with a total runtime of 22 minutes and 34 seconds. In this album, aespa's members - Giselle, Winter, Ningning, and Karina - skillfully interweave their voices, venturing beyond the familiar territories of K-Pop. They meld an array of tones and textures, embodying a spirit of curiosity and innovation."

Amidst its fervent backdrop, the group's vocals endeavor to find their place against the layered production. As the chorus unfurls with its mantra, "dram-mamamama," it aims to hook listeners, yet may tread too closely to repetition, testing the boundaries of the audience’s affinity.

As the album’s narrative unfurls, emotional landscapes are painted with varying strokes. "Trick or Trick" jolts the energy to high gear with a concoction of hyperpop zest—complementing aespa's lively stage dynamics. In contrast, "Don't Blink" channels introspection with minimalistic guitar strums, placing the spotlight on aespa's cohesive vocal prowess.

"Hot Air Balloon" parades an invitation to an auditory fair, airy and ecstatic, before we meander into "YOLO," with its melodic indecision casting a shadow over the track’s bright intent. Bringing the mini-album to a heartfelt conclusion is "You," foregoing the intricacies of dense production in favor of raw emotional connection with their audience—a sincere showcase of vocals and poetry.

The visual dimension of "Drama" doesn't stray from aespa's standard of high-concept storytelling. Evocative videos accompany the album, weaving performative elegance with narrative heft, though they occasionally allow style to eclipse story depth. Choreographically, while the routines are crafted with intricacy and intention, they lack the stamp of a defining move that could ignite viral dance challenges within the K-Pop community.

In wrapping up this multifaceted anthology, "Drama" stands as an exhibition of aespa's diverse musical experimentations. While a thread of ambition is evident throughout, it manifests variably across tracks. Potential earworms emerge but don’t always mature to their most compelling state, leaving some tracks feeling slightly incomplete.

This condensed 22-minute-plus sonic journey culminates in a 6 out of 10 rating. "Drama" unveils the possibilities of aespa's musical range and conceptual aspirations, tempered by an execution that halts just short of brilliance. It’s another stride forward in aespa's career—a movement bustling with the zest for creative exploration and a pronouncement of even grander chapters yet to be written in their unfolding saga.

Tracklist of aespa's "Drama":

  1. Drama
  2. Trick or Trick
  3. Don't Blink
  4. Hot Air Balloon
  5. YOLO
  6. You
  7. Better Things
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