T-ara seems to be on a roll lately. They produce new music so constantly that I feel like that it’s quite stupid to call this another comeback album since they don’t really leave. I mean, in order for one to truly have a comeback, one must have left a significant time. Even by K-pop hyperspeed standards, T-ara produces new music at a faster rate. Whether that actually affects the quality of their music seems to be out of the question. T-ara flip flops between sweet and adorable adolescent music (“Roly Poly,” “Lovey Dovey”) and then follow it up with a mature sound (“Cry Cry”, “Day by Day”). Apart from the repetition in their titles, T-ara seems to have found a comfortable pattern and in no way are they hurting themselves by doing this especially when they strike a chord with each turn at bat.
“Day by Day” is not on par with “Cry Cry” in terms of maturity and emotional resonance but it’s equally satisfying in its own way. While “Cry Cry” was more impressive in terms of the vocals that was on display, “Day by Day” proves to be a deftly produced song with an added touch of whimsy. I love the production on this song, the flute is so insanely addicting and beautifully matched by the girls’ voices. There’s a hint of adolescence here that I didn’t hear in “Cry Cry” but it serves to aid the whimsical element of the song instead of hampering it.
The next song, “Holiday” has a much more mature vocal performance from the girls even if the lyrics are inane at times. “Lolli lolli day” is not exactly a word even if it conveniently rhymes with “holiday”. Like “Day by Day,” however, the flute sounds here are so beautiful and the girls sing in such an effective and appealing way that the song is just very listenable.
Usually, the lead single of an album seems to be the best song or the main highlight of an album. Not so in this album. That honor goes to what is perhaps T-ara’s most beautiful track to date. “Don’t Leave” features a very complicated instrumental that gets dramatic as it goes. What I love about the song is the voices are all so wonderfully vulnerable and it resonates even against the backdrop of a very crowded instrumental. What I love most though is when they change the tune of the song when the rap parts come. I love how we leave off the orchestral part when she starts rapping.
Coming off of that wonderful song, the album meanders into what is perhaps the least accomplished track on the album. Which isn’t saying much considering how good this album is thus far. The album is definitely listenable and I love the instrumental in most parts. But there are times, especially after the second chorus where the track feels overstuffed. The line “I wanna give it to me” makes no sense but is such a charming chorus that I can disregard its mangling of English.
The last track, “Love Pay” seems to connect the album to the last one because it’s the closest to adolescent music. It’s definitely sunny but there’s less childish tics here. What I love the most in the song is the group cooing. It’s a nice touch to a song that seems that often needs a dose of maturity since it straddles the line between T-ara’s childish side and their very mature side.
Overall, I was very impressed by this album: This is the best sounding music that T-ara has ever produced with the added bonus of the fact that all the songs somehow sound a like without actually being repetitive of each other. In other words, they cohere altogether into one nice thematic album. I enjoyed this thoroughly because it showed the promise of T-ara’s maturity while retaining the charm and effervescence that they show when they’re hyping up the aegyo.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5