Often described as ‘The Queen of Korean Pop’ BoA has 18 years of experience under her belt. Not bad for a 31-year-old woman. That’s right - BoA made her debut in the year 2000 at the age of 13 with SM Entertainment. Training since the age of 11, BoA quit school early to prepare for her future in stardom and made a name for herself as a female soloist without the use of social media as we know it today. Now, she returns to show off her prowess and growth as an artist with her ninth full-length Korean language album, Woman (stylized as WOMAN). Although this album makes it her third release this year, it will be her first full-length release since Kiss My Lips in 2015.

BoA is the only foreign artist to have three albums selling more than one million copies in Japan. She has released an English album, composed her own tracks, recorded songs in Mandarin Chinese, and her debut Japanese album saw her become the first Kpop star to break through in Japan following the fall of import and export entertainment barriers between the countries since the end of World War II. Performing since the existence of Kpop as we know it now, BoA is the fave of your faves.

Thankfully, Woman shows off exactly what those 18 years of experience have amounted to. BoA has dabbled in comebacks alongside Kpop groups born out of the 2008 - 2010 hallyu wave boom but has found her popularity wavering against groups with more members than she has fingers. Woman is some of her best work as she experiments with the full confidence of knowing who she is as an artist.

The title track, 'Woman', uses a funky bass as the backdrop as it gives way to blasts of synth in the chorus. It’s slick, and BoA’s vocals have never been put to better use. She easily switches between teasingly low notes to punchy falsettos. The song remains energetic throughout and is simply a well made song.

BoA knows when to push and pull. Increasingly taking the reigns, she has the freedom to release work that is more tailored to her. In tropical pop number 'No Limit', while she plays into the trend of the ‘anti-chorus’, she rescues it with some ad libs as the song ends. She takes enough of what makes a particular style of music enjoyable without losing too much of herself in the production.

As one of the most senior artists in SM Entertainment, BoA has been given the freedom to work with an array of producers and songwriters. Caesar & Loui (the duo behind Jinsoul of LOONA’s 'Singing in the Rain') co-composed 'Like It!', an electronic number that is expertly layered with details without being overbearing.

Synthy 'U&I' also stands out as a surprisingly replayable track. Written by Swedish production team The Family, the chorus is balanced by BoA’s ability to reach the high notes to punch through any repetitiveness. The groovy 'If'
is a chance for BoA to show off her vocals and despite being an enjoyable b track, falls short of other songs in Woman. It’s laid bare with mainly BoA and an electric guitar but is a strange addition overall. The album ends with I Want You Back. The track is a feel-good number that has some retro vibes thanks to that electric guitar line and is a little forgetful thanks to the aforementioned standout singles but an enjoyable listen to close out to.

BoA has made a no-filler musical rollercoaster. There are certainly ups and downs but the album is varied and is confident. Her charisma and devotion to her art comes cross fully in Woman and proves that BoA still has more to show.