Yes, once again we’re looking at the infamous T-ara, one of the biggest and, as of late, most controversial of Korea’s Pop groups, but this time we’re looking at a new unit within the group called T-ara N4. Formed of members Eunjung, Hyomin, Areum and Jiyeon, T-ara N4 has released their first single as the first T-ara subunit in mid 2013. Is it any good? Will this “Brand New 4” unit flop? And what does this new song have to say about the group’s less-than-wholesome past?
Let’s listen to Jeon Won Diary by T-ara N4.
The last time we saw T-ara they had just released their Japanese single Bunny Style and were still getting over the nasty press that had circulated after the firing of member Hwayoung, claiming that the girls had bullied the former member and other various shady dealings going on behind the scenes. While both management and the members of the group (even Hwayoung herself) said that it was a bunch of mean-spirited rumors, their reputation had been tarnished. Some fans turned against the group, some supported them even more, but they managed to remain in the popular consciousness.
Here’s the music video (the dance version) with English subs:
The title of the song can be translated as “Countryside Life” referring to a simpler form of life. The song is about getting away from the people who hate and spread rumors about them, a theme which ties into their recent history. A lot of the buzz around this song is that it’s meant to be a sort of message or insult to the group’s haters, also known as “antis,” telling them and the media to get off their backs and leave them alone. I can neither confirm or deny this as there have been no official statements from Core Contents Media (their management) on this one. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a happy accident or something done deliberately. The lyrics fit well with the aggressive hip-hop melody, even if the “Haters gotta stop hatin'” has become a bit cliché as of late. On the downside, they are a bit repetitious, and on occasion bizarre. One of them, if the translation is correct, says that it makes them angry to think about how the person who is bothering them is still alive. Harsh. Not to mention besides saying “countryside living” they never delve into what that means or make any more connections to it in the sing besides the chorus.
The overall look of the music video is much like I Got a Boy by Girl’s Generation. Lots of hot pink, lots of funky hip-hop-esque fashion. The video is simple, showing the girls entering a new area by grabbing onto a Take On Me hand (no, seriously, just watch the video) and dancing around. There’s an alternate version to the video I posted, called the Drama Version, which basically shows the girls living out in the countryside a la Korean drama, and failing miserably. I love this version because it’s bigger, there are muted colors, outdoor locations, and of course the girls acting silly. But K-pop is serious business, after all, so in terms of the Dance Version, it’s bright and colorful but a little boring. The dance in both videos is the same, and actually looks like a complex but easy to learn dance, and fits the music perfectly. Not to mention it has some excellent camera and design work.
The music is incredibly catchy. It is the standard pop blended with hip-hop, with the odd saxophone playing the background. Basically, it’s a club dancing song, which is within the comfort zone of what T-ara usually does (along with almost all over K-Pop groups). The bridge and chorus are catchy though I’m not sure I can distinguish the format of the song, leaving me confused the first few listens. I will say that the random male interlude in the middle is a little strange since they are an all female group and there’s no indication on the track information that there was a featured artist on the single. It could something only on the music video version of the track, but I somehow doubt it. There are strong vocals and good line distribution even though its more repetition than anything else.
In the end, Jeon Won Diary is a catchy tune but that’s about it. There’s nothing that makes this song bad per se, but there’s nothing that makes it standout either. It’s there, it’s mildly entertaining, but it didn’t really strike a chord with me even in the way that some of the bad songs I’ve reviewed do. As such, I feel like while this detailed discussion of the single has been positive, I have to rate it lower than usual but would still recommend it to other K-Pop fans. Hopefully, T-ara and this new subunit will continue this trend upwards.
– Good music videos.
– Good song.
– Strong dance.
– Repetitious lyrics.
– Doesn’t stand out in any way.