KARA is one of many second and third generation groups who have made their comeback this year for the first time in while, joining the likes of BIGBANG, GOT7, SISTAR, SNSD, T-ARA and WANNA ONE, whom are nominated for the Best Comeback or Reunion in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support your favourite Comeback or Reunion of the year, and your other favourite artists, songs and performances of the year by clicking here to vote today!
KARA makes their grand return after a 6 year hiatus to celebrate their 15th anniversary! For those who may be new to the industry and KPOP, KARA was a five member female group who debuted back in 2007, and had very big hits like Mister, Lupin and Step (just to name a few). They unfortunately became inactive upon the departure of Park Gyuri, Han Seungyeon and the late Goo Hara from DSP Media (the company that established and managed KARA for 9 years) in 2016. As of the 29 November, KARA had regrouped and reunited as a five member group consisting of Park Gyuri, Han Seungyeon, Heo Youngji (who joined the group in 2014) and former KARA members Kang Jiyoung and Nicole (who both left the group in 2014). WHEN I MOVE (the title track) and Move Again (their 15th anniversary mini-album) dropped earlier this week, and the group held their first comeback performance on the same day at the 2022 MAMA Awards, held in Japan!
For me, without a doubt, KARA’s first comeback in six years was the biggest comeback of the week. In addition to their hits I have listed above, KARA has a few underrated title tracks, such as Pandora, CUPID and Damaged Lady, that I have grown to love over the years since their release. WHEN I MOVE is probably going to fall into their ‘underrated territory’, simply because I don’t think the masses would turn their attention to a group they probably do not much about (since KARA is considered to be second generation, and the masses are more focused on the fourth generation and lesser so of the third generation). WHEN I MOVE, however, is a great song. I really enjoyed the way WHEN I MOVE starts, opting for a subtle approach that just feels sleek and stylish. The minimalist nature of the instrumental at the start backs this up. I liked the way their vocals adopted the ‘subtle approach’ as well, which not only complements the approach of the instrumentation and set-up of the song, but also pulled me into an alluring captivation. The choruses of WHEN I MOVE contrasts strongly to this, with all the members joining forces together to deliver an explosive line that really takes you away from that captivation from the verses and still maintains your attention with such a chorus. The house beat that forms the basis of the choruses brought a cool and somewhat retro touch to the song, and it builds on the energy and tone that the verses had pulled together. The hooks and melodies that follow in the choruses were catchy and memorable. The raps and the trap that follows the rap/accompanies the vocals in the bridge were probably the weakest aspect of WHEN I MOVE. It just didn’t have the same flair and appeal as the rest of the song, and felt pretty basic. I wished they upped the ante for the bridge, just so it really honed into the already mentioned energy and vibe that I quite enjoyed in WHEN I MOVE. Despite that, I still think WHEN I MOVE is a great song and return for KARA. It could have been better, but I am happy to take it as it is.
The music video did exactly what I expected it to do, based on the model and catwalk-like sound that WHEN I MOVE had. The music video wasn’t necessarily a fashion parade, but it was definitely a celebration of KARA, which is the focus of this comeback/reunion. As an extension of that thought, I really liked the fact that the group and the producers of this music video paid homage to the late Goo Hara, who took her life a few years back. The addition of a sixth microphone stand at the end for Goo Hara was very touching and I am sure fans enjoy this small but meaningful gesture. Aside from that, I quite enjoyed the different colours (and schemes) they had in this video, which does give off that celebratory and stylish flair that the song calls for.
No matter which performance I watched for this comeback (at the time of writing, only the MAMA Awards and the Music Bank stages are available), it felt like KARA never went on hiatus nor any member left the group. The chemistry between the group members were there and well-developed, and their stage presence spoke volumes. Their command of the stage, their performance (even though it would not be as iconic as Mister‘s butt waves) and their solid vocals/raps are all elements that junior artists should definitely look up towards.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10