With a career spanning more than 20 years and immense levels of success in both Korea and Japan, BoA has become a kind of nexus figure within both the K and J pop industries. Her voice and music have become incredibly iconic, acting as landmark moments that have done everything from soundtrack anime to top the charts on multiple occasions. Her latest compilation album, ‘The Greatest’ acts as a celebration to her legacy in Japan, full of iconic past works and a few new songs. And with a name as ambitious as The Greatest, an equally exciting musical experience is usually expected. And for the most part, The Greatest delivers on that promise.
For fans of the SM of old, The Greatest will be a thrill. The electronics and aggressive and textured, bringing a sense of personality to the track that characterised many a song during what many consider SM’s golden era. A time period of pure musical nirvana which BoA helped pioneer. And because of that, The Greatest feels much more like a victory lap than a new, groundbreaking effort. And that’s perfectly fine. At this point in her career she has absolutely nothing to prove and the fact that she can still pull off a song like The Greatest with so much flair and charisma is a testament to her sheer star power. She sounds great here, matching the dramatic production of the chorus with an equally potent performance that elevates a pretty standard melody into something thrilling. The staggered post-chorus is even better, pulsing forward on staccato delivery and a trance inspired backing that works so damn well.
Because of this, the verses, though strong, feel a little weak by comparison. They carry the same industrial, techno energy that tracks of this nature thrive on but just don’t have the kind of unique touches or addictive melodic shifts that could have made them much more magnetic. They’re still great but I would have loved to see some more experimentation during these moments. But that’s just a small nitpick for a great track by one of the most influential soloists of our generation.
Final Rating: 8.75 / 10