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[Album Review] T-ara – “Black Eyes” (***1/2)

11 Nov

Earlier this year, during the summer, T-ara released the fun, upbeat, and delicious pop track “Roly-Poly”, which was a huge hit. They’re back this fall with a darker image and a starker music. Let’s see what they’ve got up their sleeves to compete with the slew of girl groups coming back.

The first single, Cry Cry, right off the bat establishes the overall musical theme of the album. It’s a beautiful piece. Its instrumental has hints of Spanish influences that are mixed with 90s pop beats. The piano is especially infectious. The best thing about the song is its maturity. In contrast to Roly Poly, we here women singing–no vocal inflections that make them sound childish but just grown women singing their hearts out. It’s honestly one of my favorite songs this year already.

The next song Goodbye, OK shows a softer side to the album without going all aegyo on the audience. There are parts that I thought were off-putting like the lack of a break in between chorus and the verses or the awkward transitions where the rap starts. It may not exactly sound fast, but the girls sing with urgency and the way they sing without pausing makes it feel like a short song. Still, I have to say, all the girls sound comfortable while singing with their middle registers.

O My God pulls back T-ara to their comfortable aegyo side, making them use their childish voices. It’s too upbeat with the cheery instrumentals backed with violins and bells that are out of place in this album. The girls do sound delightful, with tiny glints of maturity, even if I wish they’d just embrace their womanhood and sing like grown women all the time.

I’m So Bad brings us back to grown women singing a mature song that fits them. It’s an alluring track that neatly fits with the first two tracks. The girls are not the best singers, sure, but they do make use of their capabilities to astonishing results here. They sound sexy yet still restrained and believable when they say “I’m so bad.”

Overall, I thought that the album was a great contrast to the fun bubbly but shallow summer song Roly Poly. Black Eyes features T-ara at their most mature release to date, featuring some indelible tracks that prove they’re capable of being more than just cute fun girls. They can also be sexy and adult at the same time too.

Rating: 3.5/5

–Clarence

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