T-ara come to get down!
T-ara (Often stylized as T-ARA or T♔ARA- Korean: 티아라, Japanese: ティアラ) is a six member girl group from Korea; they are best known for their chameleon-like tendency of switching their concept and sound at the drop of a dime. While many praise their ability to adapt a new sound and image with relative ease, others say that it may be a detriment and have complained that the group seems to suffer from an "identity crisis." In their defense, the girls themselves gone on record saying that they STRIVE to be different with each release, and that it is their true appeal. For the most part they seem to be spot on...they are one of the bigger breakout girl groups of the last three years, and are responsible for some of the most addictively catchy pop songs you'll ever hear.
T-ara started as a five-member vocal group (Hyomin, Eunjung, Jiyeon, Jiwon, and Jiae); their premise was that they would specialize in ballads and midtempos, as the girls' voices were best suited to that style of music.
Everything seemed to be going well for the group; they had been pegged as "super rookies" because they trained for three years before their debut, nearly a year longer than most groups. The girls were instantly pegged as a "pretty" group due to their physical beauty. Jiwon and Jiae departed just before their debut citing "creative differences". Enter Soyeon and Boram and Qri . T-ara was born. Hwayoung officially joined the group shortly before promotions for their mini-album Temptastic began; she is the designated rapper (until she left). It was announced in April of 2012 that two new members will join the group; 18 year-old Areum joined T-ara for their Korean promotions in the summertime of that year, while the second, a 14 year-old girl named Dani, will join the group sometime in the future. This has caused some friction in the fandom as when the addition of new members was announced it was unknown if they would simply be additions to the group or if they would replace existing members; the possibility of established members leaving the group remains a possibility, according to CCM CEO Kim Kwang Soo.
Things got off to a rocky start for the group after their debut; while their lead single "Lies" performed decently for a rookie girl group, they came under attack for lip-syncing entire performances for "Wanna Play?" and "Lies" during music shows. Things changed after four of the girls joined forces with male hip-hop group Supernova for the electroballad "TTL (Time To Love)." The song became a hit for both groups, and paved the way for T-ara to smash the charts with the silly-yet-catchy "Bo Peep Bo Peep"
. Their debut album, Absolute (and subsequent repackage Breaking Heart
) were decent sellers. Since then the group has consistently revamped their image and sound. Sometimes it pays off ("Roly-Poly")...sometimes it doesn't ("Yayaya"). Their popularity has been on an upswing, thanks to a more adult sound with their latest mini-album Black Eyes
and a successful debut in Japan, making them one of the more well-known and successful girl groups in Korea at the moment.
It was announced that there would be a "major announcement made about the future of T-ARA
" on July 30 2012 at 1 p.m. KST. Fans were nervous that this would result in members being kicked out, or worse - not made any better with the fact that this followed an incident where several T-ARA members (Eunjung, Hyomin, Soyeon and Jiyeon) apparently wrote several nasty tweets towards Hwayoung
, who had been injured and forced to sit out at a concert. The result of the announcement was that that Hwayoung would be leaving the group, effective immediately, and has resulted in a huge Internet Backdraft
. This has resulted in a lot of evidence being discovered that supported the claim of bullying; however, since the majority of the evidence provided has been accused of and/or proven to be of dubious authenticity, care is advised when examining the evidence.
Since the controversy and Kim Kwang Soo's subsequent announcement, the girls have recently released a new single, "Sexy Love", and a repackage of the Day By Day
album entitled Mirage,
both of which performed considerably better sales-wise than expected considering the girls' circumstances at the time. They also held successful showcases in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and EMI Japan seems to have faith in the girls, as they released a Japanese version of "Sexy Love" in October. The Japanese version of "Sexy Love" sold on par with (and, in some cases, better) than some of the girls' other Japanese singles. The Japanese version of "Sexy Love" has signaled a transition of focus from the Korean market to the Japanese market, as T-ara released and heavily promoted their first original Japanese single, entitled "Bunny Style!" in March of 2013. The single was positively received, as it debuted at number 2 on Oricon's physical singles chart and gave T-ara the best first-week single sales of their career in Japan. In any case, the girls will embark on their first Japanese arena tour in July 2013.
Eunjung, Jiyeon, Hyomin and Ahreum made their debut in Korea as a subunit under the name T-ara N4 (which is meant to stand for T-ara Brand New 4); the subunit debuted on April 29, 2013. Their debut single, "Jeon Won Ilgi" ("Countryside Diary") has so far failed to match the same levels of success as T-ara's past singles in Korea, possibly in part due to the song's very confrontational lyrics, most of which are directed at their detractors. Nonetheless, the group has received widespread attention from the likes of several noted U.S. artists and producers for the song and video, including Chris Brown, T.I., and Ray-J; on May 20th, 2013, T-ara N4 announced via press conference that they had been signed to Empire Records in the United States and would begin promoting in the U.S. by releasing an "American" version of Jeon Won Diary as their debut U.S. single; five versions have been commissioned for release, each version featuring a different rapper or singer. They began their promotions by performing as a special guest at Chris Brown's "concert" in Las Vegas, actually just a swimming pool gig, which was not received very well; their label has claimed there was some miscommunication between them and Chris Brown, and that there were "cultural differences" that added to the miscommunication (Chris Brown interrupted the girls in the middle of the song to promote an upcoming song - without telling the girls he would be doing so, leaving them scrambling around and looking ridiculous).
Shortly after T-ara N4 began promotions for "Countryside Diary" it was announced that Soyeon, Boram and Qri would debut in Japan as a subunit; the trio, which was called QBS, released their first single, "Like The Wind," in June of 2013 to moderate success; the single peaked at number 13 on the Oricon weekly charts with relatively little promotion or fanfare.
July saw the return of the group as a whole with the release of their next Japanese single, "Target," which was released in promotion of their second full-length Japanese album, Treasure Box.
"Target" peaked within the top twenty of the Oricon charts; Treasure Box
managed to debut at number one on Oricon's daily album chart but has ultimately failed to match the success of T-ara's first album, more than likely due in part to the decreased level of interest in the Hallyu Wave in Japan.
In early July 2013, Ahreum announced
that she would leaving the group in order to pursue solo activities, and it was revealed that Dani would be taking over her part in T-ara N4, who have announced further plans to attempt entry into the American music market by releasing brand new, English language music. Dani will not, however, join the main group. Core Contents Media announced that plans for a new Korean album from the group are currently in the works, and that the group will promote as the original six for the time being, but nothing concrete has been determined as representatives have stated that they are still searching for the right song for the girls to promote. T-ara will also release and promote a new Japanese single, "Kioku~Kimi Ga Kureta Michishirube" from the soundtrack to the movie Jin X!,
which T-ara member Hyomin also starred in.
Qri is the current leader of the group as of July, 2013.
- Korean Discography:
- Absolute First Album (2009)
- Breaking Heart (Repackage) (2010)
- Vol. 2 Temptastic (2010)
- John Travolta Wanna Be (2011)
- Roly-Poly In Copacabana (Repackage) (2011)
- Black Eyes (2011)
- Funky Town (Repackage) (2012)
- Day By Day (2012)
- Mirage (Repackage) (2012)
- Again (Extended Play) (2013)
- Japanese Discography:
- Jewelry Box (2012)
- Bo Peep Bo Peep (Single) (2011)
- Yayaya (Single) (2011)
- Roly-Poly (Single) (2012)
- Lovey-Dovey (Single) (2012)
- Treasure Box (2013)
- Sexy Love (Single) (2012)
- Bunny Style! (Single) (2013)
- Target (Single) (2013)
- T-ara N4 (Eunjung, Jiyeon, Hyomin and Ahreum)
- Korean Discography
- American Discography
- Countryside Diary (American Version/s) (TBA)
- QBS (Qri, Boram, and Soyeon)
- Japanese Discography
- Like The Wind (Single) (2013)
T-ara come to get down in the following tropes:
- Adorkable: Boram is trope personified. She's tiny but eats her weight in fast food and candy whenever she gets the chance. She's also one of the funnier members to watch on their reality shows.
- Audible Sharpness: Swords in "Day By Day" and "Sexy Love" make a sound when drawn - other sounds are muted to make it even more prominent.
- Auto-Tune: They've become quite notorious for their sometimes profligate use of it.
- Badass Normal: Soyeon in "Sexy Love," where she seems to be a normal person but is completely unbothered by the fact Eunjung comes into her club with a katana and starts a fight. Right there.
- Actually, she seems to give Jiyeon instruction first, then helps distract the blind Eunjung by playing loud, disruptive music.
- Bare Your Midriff: Pretty much since day one.
- Big Eater: Boram. Boram, Boram, Boram.
- And, to a lesser extent, Jiyeon.
- Bishoujo: They're considered to be exceptionally pretty among the Korean girl groups.
- Hyomin was a well-known internet ulzzang (people who are admired for their physical beauty) before being recruited for T-ara.
- Blind Weaponmaster: Dani/Eunjung is blind in "Day By Day" but fights with a katana anyway.
- Blondes Are Evil: Jiyeon in "Day By Day".
- Brainwashed: In "Day By Day" Jiyeon does this to Dani with unknown means, turning her into Eunjung.
- Breakout Star: Jiyeon. Eunjung and Hyomin are also quite popular, but it seems like Jiyeon has become the unofficial "face" of the group.
- Break the Cutie: Many fans feel that intimidation tactics are CEO Kim Kwang Soo's method of keeping the girls in check; after allowing the girls to go on their very first vacation in nearly three years since they debuted, he then proceeded to release a statement to the Korean media stating that T-ara would be massively restructured, including member changes if needed. The worst part is that the girls themselves found out about it only after hearing about it on the news. Kim Kwang Soo has always been a bit of a bully though, as he called for the blacklisting of fellow girl group Kara when they had problems with their label, DSP Media, in 2011; he also blacklisted Jiae and Jiwon, two of the original members of T-ara, which has made it notoriously hard for the girls to find work in the entertainment industry.
- His handling of the Hwayoung affair has this written all over it. He's made a big deal of shifting all the blame for her departure onto her, and indirectly warned her to keep her mouth shut about it. People speculate that things wouldn't have gotten as bad as they did if it hadn't been for his shady comments, contradictionsnote , lyingnote , and otherwise continuously playing the media.
- The aftermath of the Hwayoung incident is this for the other girls. They're being labelled as evil bitches who did nothing but torment poor innocent Hwayoung, and so far have received suicide petitions (and had their parents told that they should kill themselves for raising such evil children), and other, even nastier messages (one particularly awful comment said that the girls - Jiyeon in particular - should be gang raped, given HIV and then have their "demon babies" ripped out of them, and that they should be made to "suffer"). There are also a series of photomanipulations out there of Jiyeon with a noose around her neck and "Hang the slut" scrawled across it in red writing, and of her with an image of a gun on one side of her head, and a blood splatter on the other. People are also smashing their T-ARA CDs and putting photos of the act on Tumblr and the All K Pop forums; several ex-fans have even gone so far as to tweet the images to the members of T-ara themselves.
- Indeed, it's gotten so bad that other celebrities (like rapper e.Via) have spoken out against the "witch hunt" being perpetrated against the girls, and All K Pop itself posted an article condemning those who have committed acts like those mentioned above, and revealing that the majority of the "bullying" events that netizens claimed to have found were taken out of context or scripted events. Not that this has stopped any of the "lynch mob" or affected their beliefs.
- Hell, just read the comments on any recent article regarding T-ARA. Chances are you'll find death threats on the first page.
- Breakup Song: "Cry Cry," "Lovey-Dovey," and "We Were In Love."
- Cat Girl: Both the Japanese and Korean music videos for "Bo Peep Bo Peep."
- The Cutie: Boram definitely. She's one of the shortest idols in Korea and looks incredibly young for her age, which is made even funnier when you learn that she is, in fact, the eldest member of the group.
- Darker and Edgier: The girls sexed it up for their 2010 hit "I Go Crazy Because Of You."
- Their latest mini-album Black Eyes qualifies as this, especially since it was released on the back of the very cutesy "Roly-Poly."
- This is most apparent in the videos for "Cry Cry" and "Lovey Dovey", best described as a "gangster mini-epic".
- And now, behold! Some photos◊ from their Day By Day◊ MV - which is TWENTY MINUTES LONG. (The redhead is Hyomin, and the dark haired girl is Dani.)
- Date Peepers: The T-Ara members in "Like the First Time."
- Department of Redundancy Department: T-ara excels at this.
- Bo Peep, Bo Peep, Bo Peep, Bo Peep, Bo Peep, Bo Peep, Bo Peep, ahhh!
- Roly-poly, roly-roly-poly...
- "Yayaya" from start to finish.
- Lovey dovey dovey!
- Euro Pop: Comprises quite a bit of their discography.
- Even the Girls Want Her: They got quite a few new female fans after dressing up as men for the Hallyu Dream Concert. "Manjung" and "Manri" were especially popular.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: The Zombie Version of their music video for "Lovey Dovey," one of three videos for the song.
- Family Business: Boram is the member of the Jeon family, several members of which are well-known entertainers in Korea.
- Fanservice: They rock the schoolgirl look in the video to "I Go Crazy Because Of You."
- Genre Roulette: They run the gamut from cutesy, aegyo-styled pop to 2NE1-styled R&B/electro-pop.
- Girl Group: Well, duh.
- Glowing Eyes: Eunjung's blue eyes in "Day By Day." It's never really explained what they do, but they glow so obviously she has powers of some kind.
- Good Bad Girl: They even have a song called "I'm So Bad."
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: "Roly-Poly," anyone?
- Gratuitous English: Most evident in a catch phrase they've used often in their songs..."T-ara come to get down."
- Grief Song: "TTL (Time To Love)" and its successor, "TTL 2 (Listen)."
- Heroic Sacrifice: Drama music videos.
- Ajusshi in "Cry Cry" takes a bullet for Jiyeon/Qri and takes out the Big Bad.
- Hyomin in "Sexy Love" blocks a slash meant for Eunjung. With her body.
- Hotter and Sexier: They had already shown shades of this when they promoted "Like The First Time" but they went all-out for "I Go Crazy Because Of You."
- Idol Singer: One of the more popular examples in Korea.
- Intercourse with You: It's heavily implied in "Like The First Time."
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Hyomin in "Day By Day".
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: As with many Korean groups and idols they're often impeccably dressed for performances and appearances.
- In Da Club: Most of their music is tailor-made for it.
- The video for "Roly-Poly" features a dance segment in a seventies-styled dance club.
- Likewise, "Lovey Dovey" also features a scene in a club.
- Japanese Pop Music: The girls had a successful debut in late 2011 in Japan when their single "Bo Peep Bo Peep" became the first single EVER by a Korean artist to debut at number 1 on the Oricon. That's quite an achievement.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: The group posed as men for posters to help promote the Hallyu Dream Concert. They were convincing, to say the least. Bond, I presume?
- The Leader: In spirit it would be either Hyomin or Eunjung as both are two of the driving forces behind the group, but theoretically ALL of them will be leader at some time or another as their CEO wishes for each to spend time in the position to learn and grow individually. While Eunjung, Hyomin, and Soyeon seem to be doing a pretty good job, Boram seemed to have issues (she served as the leader during the Temptastic era).
- Let's Duet: Their breakout single "TTL (Time To Love) was a collaboration with hip-hop group Supernova.
- They collaborated with the same group for "TTL 2 (Listen)."
- Lighter and Softer: They go back and forth between this and Darker and Edgier all the time.
- Mood Whiplash: The majority of Black Eyes is decidedly darker in tone than their previous albums and minis...then you hear "O My God," a Christmas tune that sounds like it should be on a Girls' Generation album, and the mood is lost.
- Not to mention in their video for "Lovey Dovey" (which is part two of their "gangster epic"), they go from the main character sitting moodily around thinking about the events of "Cry Cry" (part one), to Eunjung bouncing around in a club to "Lovey Dovey Dovey ah ah ah!", then it takes a turn for the worse.
- Mooks: Hoards of baddies in both "Cry Cry" and "Day By Day."
- Subverted in both because the mooks manage to accomplish a lot. In both music videos, they seriously injure the T-ara members.
- Motor Mouth: Hyomin, Eunjung are the the designated rappers of the group.
- Hwayoung was this as well before her departure from the group.
- New Sound Album: Black Eyes.
- Nostalgia Filter: A lot of people missed the "old" T-ara from their debut after Temptastic and John Travolta Wanna Be were released.
- Not Worth Killing: Jiyeon carries her sword around a lot in "Day By Day," but she never uses it. She prefer to let the mooks take care of business.
- Obsession Song: "I Go Crazy Because Of You" and, arguably, "Roly-Poly."
- Older Than They Look: Boram, so much so that she has been pegged the "visual maknae" by the fandom. She is actually the oldest member in the group.
- Pistol Pose: Jiyeon in the promotional poster for the "Cry Cry" video.
- Plot Armor: Hyomin somehow survives being impaled in "Day By Day," mostly because she is needed in the sequel. In the sequel though, she's no longer needed and is killed by what amounts to a surface wound.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Jiyeon's war machine in "Day By Day", which is powered by a kidnapped, blind, psychic Dani.
- Record Producer: Shinsadong Tiger is a frequent contributor to their albums, having produced three of the girl's biggest hits: "Bo Peep Bo Peep", "Roly-Poly", and "Lovey Dovey".
- The Rival: They are constantly compared to girl groups KARA and Girls' Generation, especially since they recently made their Japanese debut (both of the aforementioned girl groups also made successful debuts in Japan recently).
- Rule of Seven: When Hwayoung was added to the group.
- She's Got Legs: It is a female K-Pop group, after all.
- Scully Box: The girls stand on brightly lit pillars when they perform the ballad version of "Cry Cry." Boram's◊ is noticeably taller than any of the other girls.
- Shout-Out: To Sailor Moon, of all things, in "Number Nine": "(neombeonain) neon naui teoksidogamyeon/ (Number Nine) You are my Tuxedo Mask".
- Stage Names: Hyomin's real name is Sunyoung; Qri's real name is Jihyun.
- Surprisingly Good English: While she has yet to debut, it was revealed that Dani had grown up in America, so this trope will likely be played straight.
- Surreal Music Video: A few examples.
- Both the Korean and Japanese versions of the "Bo Peep Bo Peep" music videos are quite strange.
- "I Go Crazy Because Of You."
- Teen Idol: Well this IS Korea we're talking about here.
- Translated Cover Version: The group did this with "Bo Peep Bo Peep" and "Yayaya" when they released them as singles in Japan. It will undoubtedly happen again when they release their third single (and eventually their first Japanese album).
- Taiwanese singer Lotus Wang did a notably horrible remake of "Bo Peep Bo Peep" that went viral and was even featured on CNN. T-ara fans weren't happy about this as no mention was made of the group who helped make the song famous in the first place.
- Weapon Across the Shoulder: Jiyeon in "Day By Day," mainly to accentuate how evil she is.
- Who Wears Short Shorts?: T-ara during promotions for "Roly-Poly."
- Would Hit a Girl: The mafia boss and his flunkies in the "Cry Cry" and "Lovey-Dovey" mini-movies. Jiyeon, Eunjung and Qri get pretty banged up by them.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Eunjung in "Day By Day" (Part 2), with Hyomin having bright pink/red hair.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Most notably during the video for "I Go Crazy Because Of You." They were in schoolgirl outfits, after all.