Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Kara - In Love iTunes (US) mini-album
Release date: 26 MAY 2015
The group brought up that while they wanted to show change with this mini-album they also wanted to stay true to their past style. Starlight is definitely something that falls into their past style and could fit in well with the rest of their discography. Though probably a better fit for their Japanese songs as it shares the same light poppy-ness of those songs. I love the use of the horns in this, they work as a good additional element to help the song stand out.
A bit of a switch up to something that sounds like it takes more from the K-pop side of the group's discography. It has a more cool vibe to it with more of a dance sound to it. The electronic accents in the song work really well as they are used sparsely so there is never a worry about it overtaking the rest of the song. There are a few change ups through the song and they all work well, even the rap that gets worked in about the halfway mark. It just seems to be missing a strong hook to make it into an earworm, but it is still a solid pop song without that.
3. 그땐 그냥 In Those Days
A slow laid back song that has grown on me with repeated listens. Typically I do not care for the slow-paced/ballads from the group but I really enjoy this. It probably helps that it has some nice hooks to it so it has a catchy element to it, making it easy to remember instead of being another generic slow song. This has ended up being one of my favorite tracks from this release because of that. That and I love that the girls are able to match their voices so well to this song with keeping them airy sounding.
4. I Luv Me
This song picks up the energy for the mini-album once more. This song does not do much for me in general. There does not seem to be anything wrong about it, it just fails to click with me. Even though I do enjoy the rap in it more than I have the other songs on this that have one as well. The rest of the song just does not pull me in as it does sound like what they have released before and seems to keep it all rather safe with nothing of note to make it really stand out compared to the rest of their discography.
This is the first of the two duets that feature Park Gyu Ri with another member of the group. For this song it is with Hur Young Ji. It is upbeat and poppy that the light vocals match so well with. It is definitely one of the cuter sounding songs from the group but it is rather solid, even though the rap in the middle seems a bit out of place but it is not distracting enough to pull the song down too much.
Gyu Ri sings with Seung Yeon for this song which is a ballad. It does not bring anything new to it but it is a nice pleasant listen. The only thing I question about this is the placement since it is such an 180 from the track before it. I cannot help but think it would have sounded better on the mini-album if it was placed next to In Those Days. That aside it is a basic ballad that does little to really stand out compared to others of its ilk. It is nice though to have the vocals put up front so Gyu Ri and Yeon get to show off their voices well in this.
Overall: I really do not feel that this is a break away from the group's usual sound. Especially if you take in their early releases and Japanese discography. But it is still a solid release from the group and I honestly appreciate KARA is a K-pop group that has a distinct sound to their music and do not simply change their style to fit whatever music style that happens to be "in" at the moment. I am sure there are others that do the same but for the small selection of K-pop I listen to KARA is the one I notice.
Enjoyed this mini-album and hope that next year brings plenty more music from the group. Though it would be nice to have more of their Japanese releases on the USiTunes.