[Mini-Album] T-ara – Day by Day

Day by Day is the fourth mini-album released by T-ara. The title track was used as the promotional song. It also features new member, Ahreum.

daybyday

Released: July 3, 2012
1. Day by Day
2. Holiday
3. Don’t Leave (떠나지마)
4. Hue
5. Love Play (사랑놀이)

Day by Day is a throwback to the more dramatic sound of Cry Cry. While I do enjoy both, I do believe this one is far better. I love the dominance of the guitar and it works nicely with the funky beat and airy vocals. The chorus is especially gorgeous with the touches of harmonies and catchy hooks. My only issue is this really subtle croaking noise that pops out during the verses. It distracts things a bit.

daybyday

I wasn’t expecting Holiday to be so catchy, but it is. This music is rather bouncy and has a positive vibe, but the vocals keep the dramatic quality of the last song, which I don’t quite feel fits the music as well. I feel like the song would have been even better if things were pushed further and they really jumped on the positive vibe of the song. It feels like the delivery is just a bit flat despite the songs potential. Not a bad song though.

Don’t Leave is a really melodramatic song that is somewhat like a ballad. This is the third song where the vocals are distorted in a sense to make things sound really blurry and breathy and I’m a little sick of this. It’s a little better here and we can hear the girls’ voices more clearer (especially Soyeon). I wish the song was sped up a bit because I feel like it would have more impact. It’s a decent tune though and I love the vocal power in the chorus.

daybyday1

Hue is a pumping, light-hearted dance tune. It’s sort of brings back the sound of Lovey-Dovey with its disco influences, but it doesn’t quite have the same sticky hooks. I do quite like the music because there is a lot of energy to it, but the song sort of falls a bit flat on the melody. I feel like it things were tweaked a little bit, this could have been a promoted track though.

Another change in sound comes with Love Play, with its touch of retro. I’m not sure what to think of this one, but I do know for sure that I cannot stand that editing on the girls’ voices. The song itself is pretty lackluster. It sort of gets some energy at one point, but the editing on everything just makes it feel like it has no impact at all. It just feels like its being held back.


Overall: This mini wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t particularly impressive either. The promoted song was great and one of the group’s strongest tunes. Three of the songs were decent, but they didn’t stand out and the last song could’ve been better if it was edited better. Pretty much on par with their last mini.

B-

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[Repackaged] T-ara – Funky Town

Funky Town is the repackaged edition of the group’s mini, Black Eyes. Lovey-Dovey was used as the promotional song.

funkytown
Released: January 3, 2012
1. Lovey-Dovey
2. We Were in Love (우리 사랑했잖아)
3. Lovey-Dovey (Club Remix Ver.)
4. Cry Cry
5. Goodbye, Ok
6. O my god
7. I’m so bad
8. Cry Cry (Ballad ver.)
9. Cry Cry (Ballad music video ver.)

The mini includes all the songs from Black Eyes as well as a few new tracks. Lovey-Dovey is the main highlight and it is an exciting upbeat dance tune. It has qualities of Roly Poly with its 70’s disco sound and repetitive hook, but changes things up a bit by having a heavier backing and beat. I don’t think I’m in love with the song as much as when it first came out, but it has an unforgettable melody. My only problem with this song, which is quite evident in a lot of their songs is that the girls are indistinguishable. It sometimes happens in their other songs, but it feels like the girls’ vocals were edited to be higher and I can barely tell who is singing what. It’s a really catchy song though and it is no wonder why it was so successful.

I’m a bit confused why the Club Remix was included though as the slight difference in the bass doesn’t make up for the fact that half the song doesn’t have vocals (all the verses are empty). It makes it sort of boring.

We Were in Love was originally released as a pre-release digital single and is one of the group’s stronger ballads. It’s dramatic and beautiful and does a great job of showing the capabilities of both T-ara and Davichi. I do wish it pushed things a bit more, but it’s a nice contrast to the electropop sound of Lovey-Dovey.


Overall: The two main tunes added here are both very strong tracks and some of the group’s most memorable. I do wish there was another new song instead of the club remix, or at least a remix that changed things up a bit more in terms of music. With that said, the repackaged was a solid release.

A (new songs)

[Digital Single] Davichi & T-ara – We Were in Love

Although Davichi and T-ara collaborated prior to this single release, We Were in Love is the first collaboration single that only featured these two groups. Only Soyeon, Jiyeon, Hyomin and Hwayoung participated in this release as “T-ara”.

wewereinlove
Released: December 23, 2011
1. We Were in Love (우리 사랑했잖아)

We Were in Love is a dramatic pop ballad that is more up Davichi’s alley than T-ara’s. It opens with a more “oldschool” take on things before coming right in with the chorus. The subtle beat, piano and violin really help to create a haunting quality. All the girls sound great here, especially the vocalists. While I do like the melody of the chorus because it is memorable, I feel like it could be taken to an even higher level and I’m not sure if that’s just the music because the vocals are on point, especially at the end. It’s still a nice ballad though and I like how the rapping is wrapped into the song.


Overall: This is a pretty solid collaboration between the two groups and shows the strengths of both groups. I don’t quite get the inclusion of Jiyeon as while her voice fits the calmer parts of the verse, she only has one short part. My only problem though is that I wish the music was tweak a bit because it remains the same level throughout.

A-

[Mini-Album] T-ara – Black Eyes

Black Eyes was the third mini-album released by T-ara. Cry Cry was released as the promo song and was another big hit for the group.

blackeyes
Released: November 11, 2011
1. Cry Cry
2. Goodbye, Ok
3. O my god
4. I’m so bad
5. Cry Cry (Ballad ver.)
6. Cry Cry (Ballad music video ver.)

Cry Cry is a big change from T-ara’s usual material as it has a oldschool K-Pop vibe to it with its dramatic beat and Latin undertone. It really reminds me of something a K-Pop girl group from the mid-00’s would do. The song is certainly catchy and it has a really cool arrangement. I love the heavy beats and airy vocals that float on top. It isn’t T-ara’s best promo song, but it’s definitely solid tune and is an interesting change.

Goodbye, Ok has dancier vibes but it also reminisces on an older sound. Actually, the song reminds me of something from 00’s J-Pop with its jazzy influence. I love the floating quality of the song with its subtle piano line and touches of brass-like synths. The vocals also fit much better in this song than in the last one as their light vocals work nicely layed on top. Definitely another stellar B-side.

O my god is just not good. It has a light midtempo pop sound to it with its bouncy piano and cute vocals. It really reminds me of a Christmas, but it’s just dull and doesn’t really fit after the other two more intense songs. I think the vocal performance is one of the group’s weakest as the girls are trying to do the sweet and cute vocal stylings.

Luckily, I’m so bad is much better. It’s definitely not to the level of the first two songs, but it has some really interesting points to it. It reminds me of a weaker version of their song, I’m Go Crazy Because of You. I like that the music is going for an oldschool vibe and reminds me of something more western, but it just feels a bit empty. I feel like a fuller arrangement would really bring the energy up.

The two ballad versions of Cry Cry are really interesting and I like that these gave a different perspective to the song. Both only differ slightly with one featuring a heavier piano backdrop. I do think the melody fits this haunting arrangement much nicer, but it does drag on for a bit that it sort of loses its energy around the end.


Overall: Not including the ballad versions of the promo song, the four new songs both showed highs and lows. The first two tracks were intense and had a lot of energy, but the second two B-sides were missing something. O my god just doesn’t fit in this mini-album and I’m so bad would have been much better with a more passionate backdrop. It’s not a bad mini, just could be better.

B-

[Digital Single] T-ara – Roly Poly in Copacabana

Roly Poly in Copacabana is the sixth digital single released by T-ara. It is a new version of Roly Poly and was later released a day later on a repackaged mini by the same name (which is just this single+their last mini).

rolypolycopacabana
Released: August 2, 2011
1. Roly Poly in Copacabana (Roly-Poly in 코파카바나)

Roly Poly in Copacabana is pretty much just a remix. I’m not a big fan of remixes, but this one is actually done well. Unlike the full-fledged disco tune the original was, here we have something with a bit of a different oldschool vibe to it. The song definitely has a stronger 80’s vibe going for it with the synths very reminiscent of 80’s pop sound. With that said, I do feel there is a bit of a difference as the song has a slight “East Asian” vibe to it and is very similar to some oldschool songs from the region. This remix pretty much rivals the original, although I do wish the beat was just a bit heavier.


Overall: This was actually a fun remix and I was quite surprised that I like it as much as the original. I do enjoy how it maintained the catchiness of the original, but tried to spruce it up a bit with different music that really worked well with the melody.

A

[Mini-Album] T-ara – John Travolta Wanna Be

John Travolta Wanna Be is the second mini-album released by T-ara. Roly Poly was used as the promo track and was a huge hit, becoming the #1 song of 2011.

johntravoltawannabe
Released: April 5, 2011
1. Roly Poly
2. I Really Really Like You (진짜 진짜 좋아해)
3. yayaya (Remix ver.)
4. Why Are You Being Like This? (Remix ver.) (왜 이러니)
5. Ma boo (Remix ver.)
6. I Dont Know (Remix ver.) (몰라요)
7. I’m Okay (Remix ver.) (괜찮아요)

Roly Poly brings us back to a more old-school time with its strong disco influence. The best part is that funky beat and synth during the instrumental breaks. The verses are fun as well, but it is the chorus where things shine. While repetitive, the melody does its work. It’s infectious and works very well with the light beat and array of synths. The only thing I wish is that the girls didn’t sound so similar. It is really hard to tell them apart.

I Really Really Like You pretty much continues the disco sound, but with a heavier beat. I actually really enjoy the synth refrain that leads the song and it really works with the more powerful beat. While it isn’t as lighthearted as the last song, I actually find the chorus to be a bit catchier even if it is just a mishmash of hooks. It works well with the music and the small sections of rapping sprinkled throughout sound great. The last five songs are just remixes from the group’s last mini-album.

To be honest, most of these remixes have very little difference from the originals, except for maybe having stronger dance beats and different intros. Pretty much the same old same old.


Overall: The remixes brought very little to the table, unless you haven’t heard the originals before. However, the two new songs are really great and do a good job bringing that disco sound back. While they aren’t my favourite of T-ara’s tunes, they are solid and catchy.

B+

[Mini-Album] T-ara – Temptastic

Temptastic is T-ara’s first mini-album and the first physical release to include Hwayoung. It features the pre-release track, Why Are You Being Like This? as well as the promotional song, yayaya.

temptastic
Released: December 1, 2010
1. yayaya [MV]
2. Why Are You Being Like This? (왜 이러니) [MV]
3. Ma Boo
4. I Don’t Know (몰라요)
5. I’m Okay (괜찮아요)
6. yayaya (Inst.)

So the album pretty much just opens with the promotional single. yayaya is really weird and probably my least favourite of T-ara’s promo songs largely because of the cultural appropriation surrounding the song as well as it just being a total mess. The song itself isn’t totally bad and there are some nice aspects like the heavy beat and the number of repetitive hooks. The song does get a bit annoying and there are quite a lot of “chant-like” parts that just come off a little odd. Not my cup of tea.

Luckily, we get out of that mess and come up with Why Are You Being Like This? This one is the much stronger promo track with its gliding synths and pounding percussion. It definitely sounds like some of their other songs, but it’s a strong tune on its own.

With a title like Ma Boo, I expected some kind of midtempo R&B tune, but instead we are thrown into something reminiscent of TTL. I’m very happy because I enjoy the ballad style of the singing fused with the fast-paced rapping and heavy dance beats. It’s an exciting song and could very easily be a promoted track. I do find the repeated title of “Ma Boo” a little odd, but everything else is perfection.

I Don’t Know takes the cuter route with its upbeat pop sound. It has some really fun elements to it like the clap-beats as well as the funky synths. However, I do feel the chorus melody is a little too high-pitched and the execution is a bit uncomfortable sounding. I think it doesn’t help that the vocals have some weird distortion to them that comes off a little weird. It’s not bad, but not great.

I’m Okay is an interesting idea of a ballad with its fast-paced beats, which gives it a bit of a dance quality. I do not think the vocals particularly fit the song though as the melody seems a bit too off to really blend in well. However, the rap is actually quite good and works with the beat much better. The song also has some weird Christmas bells going on, which I guess fit the time it was released. A decent tune, but I feel like the vocals could be edited in a much better way.


Overall: Besides the awkward promo song, this mini is decent. There are two strong songs, especially one of them, which is one of T-ara’s best album tracks to date. The last two songs are a bit weak and had potential, but I feel like poor editing really did them wrong as the odd vocals just felt too layered.

B-