T-ara: the “Tiamo” Comeback

The new T-ara single is a very holiday-themed exercise, perhaps sonically closer to their 2014 Japanese single “Lead the Way” than to the mellow Christmas single “Hide and Seek” of 2013–but all the same a curious choice of comeback.  After getting teased for a fullscale album, we get an EP of three songs.  Will there be more to come later?  Or is the Chinese audience still working its way voraciously through their back catalog, obviating the need for T-ara to create reams of new material?

I hope that doesn’t sound too critical.  This is an extremely pretty stage, even though–again– it’s so surprising (yet revelatory) to see T-ara, now career veterans, rocking such a girlish and effervescent concept. There’s something almost defiant about it–which I admit lends a certain breathe of excitement. These are the kind of outfits A Pink would get slagged on for wearing (“what grandma did they borrow them from?”, to paraphrase a snide commenter), but they really look adorable in them, most especially Eunjung, who seems not to have aged a day in the past four years, and 30 year-old Boram, the eternal fake maknae.

Speaking of Boram, I almost flipped the first time I heard this when Jiyeon follows Qri in the second verse, the place you’d expect Boram to pitch in.  But instead we get all our Boram at one long  go in the breakdown, a bit like Jihyun sometimes did in 4minute songs [off-topic: for some reason this evening I wound up listening to the Crazy album for only like the third time ever].  After the Boram efflorescence in late 2013 on the Again album cycle, I’ve been miffed at her seeming re-relegation to the back of the vocal bench.  I still think she could’ve taken the part following Qri, but then, “Hide and Seek” was a very Jiyeon-centric song, so maybe her “Cherry Blossom Road” voice is deemed most apt for these holiday tunes.  I can’t really complain!


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