K-POP / KOREAN CULTURE / REVIEWS

[Review] ‘Girl’s Talk’ album by KARA

Kara, Kara, Kara.  You’re unbearable one second and completely tolerable the next.  That’s just how it goes in the world of K(razy)pop.

While they’re canoeing to and from Japan, baking cupcakes and possibly jumping over the moon, Kara have been dropping EPs and rehashed singles left and right this season.  Honestly, I haven’t been around to juggle it all, but to avoid a total cluster fuck this week, I’m just going to go ahead and deliver my review of their latest album, “Girl’s Talk“.

Captain obvious moment: It’s probably the translation into Japanese, but this album sounds very…well, J-pop.  ::awkwardly steps away:: It all opens with “Jumping“, a song I’ve reviewed already and still like.  The structure of the song is a little on the lame side, but at least the processing is minimal.  It’s not like Kara are butchering auto-tune to pieces and preparing it in a giant cauldron to devour moments after (4Minute, I may be looking at you).

Then we have “Mister“.  Wait, didn’t I just hear this?

The following song is titled “Baby I Need You“, a mid tempo song that isn’t anything grand per se, but not annoying.  I like its chorus and the provocative whispers sprinkled during the transitions.  It’s like they’re trying to enchant me or something.  And I’m bowing down right now to whomever structured the middle eight.  It’s subtle and quite beautiful, very appropriate for a group of classy ladies.  Yes, I think Kara, while cheesy, are a classy bunch.

Then the album stops to smell the roses. “Sweet Days” is a typical Japanese song, or a crappy take on one.  Very cute, very girly and too much for me to handle.  It doesn’t over do the cuteness like Orange Caramel (nooses anyone?) or Girls Generation, who come off more robotic than effortless to me, but really does capture the style they’re aiming for.  Tweens will definitely like this one.  I’ll gladly pass.

S.O.S.” is a song still riding the cute-wave but pulls back on the frilly instrumental.  The production, believe it or not, sounds European.  I thought I was listening to Girls Aloud for a second. Like, a B-side track from their “Out of Control” album. No?

Personally, the J-pop style they’ve got going on fits them like a sparkly glove (not as well as their 2007 days, but let’s not hold our breaths).  They’re not over doing the vocals, but staying comfortable and remaining rather flawless while doing so.

The Japanese version of “Love Is” continues to show off the softer side of Kara.  Even the rap is taken down to a whisper, which works because instead of cutting back on all sounds to focus on the rap, it’s utilized as a transition.  As it should since it’s your typical ‘manufactured rap’.

By the time “Binks” makes its way to my ears, I’ve kind of had enough of the bubbly ‘floating in the clouds surrounded by pretty little birds’ atmosphere – Then again, this IS a pop girl group promoting in Japan.  I should be used to this.  All in all, “Binks” is annoying.  Along with “Umbrella“.  This song is just untreatable, much like my current migraine.  Wait, that is treatable…

The second to last song – “Burn” – finally lets go of the cuteness and delivers one of the better tracks of the album.  It’s another Japanese version off their recent Korean comeback EP.  It’s really chant-y, full of ‘na na-na-na  na na-na-na’ s, but it has its enjoyable moments.  And they obviously know this song is worth something, seeing as they’ve performed it for their comeback stages.

If only they had great choreography to make it look cooler on stage…

And the album closes with “Lupin“,  a song I think is semi-good.  Its predictability and gimmick-melodies soil the whole thing for me.  Not to mention that recycled bridge that I hear every-fucking-where.  I complain all the time about its reoccurrence in mainstream music, so I’ll just stfu already.

Girl’s Talk” is definitely cohesive.  I’ll give it that.  Some songs have nice moments and with the right material, Kara could definitely wow the masses, but this one is a tad gooey for my taste.  That being said, it’s a better approach to ‘cute’ than their competition.  Frankly, Kara haven’t drowned in in the starch just yet.  They could very well strut on out of that phase and get serious on our asses.  Who knows!?

Thoughts?

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11 thoughts on “[Review] ‘Girl’s Talk’ album by KARA

  1. fact: kara, to this day, still has not released a full album remotely comparable to their 2007 musical masterpiece, the first bloooooming – complete with its 5 o’s.

    I mean, woo hoo for “burn”, but come on.

  2. ^agreed.
    There’s just something about Kara(Post-Sunghee) that I just can’t stand. Listening to their non-single songs takes entirely too much work for me. Work that I am not willing to put in.

  3. i came late to the Kara (and k-pop) party, and i haven’t really listened to any of their stuff older than 2008, but they’re definitely in my top 5 for girl groups. they don’t always deliver music-wise, but i root for them because I love their vocals – Gyuri and Jiyoung are gems.

    Sadly, I only like about 4 or 5 Kara songs, which include Jumping, Love Is, and Baby I Need You off this album. Usually I’d just pass on the entire thing, but I think somewhere in a tiny, well hidden corner of my deepest self, a little girl who likes fairies and dreams of being a princess still exists. And Kara’s j-pop cuteness appeals to her. So… I like this album, I guess?

    Luckily for my 22 year-old, more practical self, Kara packages the cute in a way that doesn’t make me want to puke. I think of all the k-pop girl bands they balance sexy and cute the best – neither concept seems forced on them. That being said, if it came to cute, I’d take Perfume over any k-pop girl group any day of the week.

  4. I like. especially Love Is and Binks. both songs have a nice American sound. all 5 girls are great and Hara is stunningly beautiful

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