Universe Mongae has consistently released music the last few years, but in 2021 there were a set of singles that previewed her first full length, Adults Only. Among electronic artists, Universe Mongae presents dance and electronic pop perspectives. On Adults Only, she comes full circle to fully introduce herself in a surprising way. Rather than just follow what’s generally happening in electronic music, Universe Mongae reveals an album that celebrates her songwriting and composition skills.
This album is less about fast tempos and repeating samples and more about creating and developing a tense and sexual environment. The songs aren’t made to be “sex songs,” but there’s always an underlying presence of that energy. She’s honest in her music on every verse. The arrangement of songs is carefully crafted to highlight both the instrumentals and her vocals that weave across every moment.
“Float” is a careful opening that builds on a listener’s curiosity. Universe Mongae’s mix of English and Korean is natural and never sounds out of place. Each track is a step deeper into this late night experience. You feel like you’re watching a crowd after the clubs close and people are wandering on the street and finding a bar.
Each song has a different persona. “Man, I Don’t Need Your Lighter” is like a response to someone trying to pick her up on the street. The percussion instrumental carries the dance beat forward with the repeating vocals cementing that the night’s journey doesn’t start or end with that person. Adults Only has two features. “Pillow Talk” features The Deep. The two vocal lines play across different spectrums and add to the song’s seduction. Mellow Blush‘s place on “Cherry Cheers” ends Adults Only and sounds like you’re watching the sunrise at dawn.
Universe Mongae provides a soundtrack that takes you from a late night into the morning. The nine songs tell a story and you are along for the ride. I was always curious what a full length would sound like and Adults Only is far beyond my expectations. Universe Mongae perfectly captures and presents this energy.