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”.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why Are You Like This? is T-ara’s fourth digital single and was released as a teaser for their first mini-album. This was the first release to feature (now ex-)member Hwayoung.
Released: November 23, 2010
1. Why Are You Like This? (왜 이러니) [MV]
Why Are You Like This? pretty much continues the sound that was heard from T-ara with songs like Like the First Time and I’m Really Hurt. It’s that straightforward pop song with a slight sexy edge and heavily processed vocals. It’s quite catchy, especially the chorus and I like the strange synthed refrain mixed with the pounding percussion. Unfortunately, the girls all sound interchangeable and I’m not particularly fond of the added “Oh, Oh, Oh’s” in the prechorus as it just sounds like its trying to take up space. Also the rap break is a really odd addition.
Overall: Why Are You Like This? isn’t a bad song and it works to continue that T-ara sound. Unfortunately, I also believe they’ve had stronger songs. It just seems to blend together with a few of their other tracks, although it’s very catchy.
Breaking Heart is the repackaged edition of their first album, Absolute First Album. It included two new songs, both of which were used as promotional songs.
Released: March 5, 2010
1. I Go Crazy Because of You (너 때문에 미쳐) [MV]
2. I’m Really Hurt (내가 너무 아파) [MV]
3. One & One
4. Like the First Time (처음처럼) [MV]
5. Bo Peep Bo Peep [MV]
6. Tic Tic Toc
7. Bye Bye
8. Apple Is A
9. Falling U
10. You You You (너너너)
11. Lies (Dance ver.) (거짓말) [MV]
12. T.T.L (Time to love) [MV]
13. Lies (Slow ver.) [MV]
14. TTL Listen.2 [MV]
15. Good Person (좋은사람) [MV]
16. Wanna Play (놀아볼래?)
I Go Crazy Because of You is different from the rest of T-ara’s songs. While still heavily electronic, the song features a much heavier beat and faster vocal arrangement. It sounds particularly similar to Britney Spears’ Womanizer. It’s laced with heavy autotune, especially the verses, which blend into the music. It makes it a bit difficult to hear them, but it’s an interesting technique and surprisingly fits in this song. The chorus is more focused on a repetitive hook and I find it zooms by rather quickly. It is a catchy song, but it’s a bit of a mess at times. A fun listen though. I much prefer I’m Really Hurt because it’s more laid back and the production is more straightforward in its delivery. The song also features a pounding beat, but the whole song tends to be on a lighter note. The music is pretty much focused on the synths though. The verses are decent, but its the chorus where the magic happens. While also utilizing a repetitive hook, this part has more melody to it than the last song and doesn’t just totally flash by. I don’t think it’s as strong as it once was, but it’s a solid listen and I love the sadness that it emits.
Overall: While I’m not as into both of these songs as I once was, they do continue the quality found on the rest of the album. Also, despite the differences, they do help to create a cohesive sound. I Go Crazy is a fun listen, albeit a bit messy at times. However, it’s one of the girls’ most recognizable tunes and for good reason. I much prefer the second song, but both are solid tunes.