(Medley video of their Korean hits)
Back in 2009 I discovered Kpop thanks to these lovely girls. As I'm 'celebrating' 10 years as a kpop fans, I want to celebrate KARA! Since they are very special to me and I saw some members here wanted a KARA post (shoutouts to: babyjenkski, aures, and frequency) Lets go down memory lane and enjoy some of the amazing songs and choreography from KARA :)))) Let's go!
How my interest in kpop started: Back in 2009, I was 17 years old and listening quite a bit of jpop music and anime music in general. I remember looking up my favorite songs on youtube was a big past time of mine. I'm not sure what song I was listening to, but on the side was a list of thumbnails of music videos that fellow viewers would be checking out as well. I saw the thumbnail for Honey, and I assumed it was a jpop song. It certainly reminded me of the sugary cute jpop songs I had been consuming, but this had a different feel to it. The MV was so appealing, the song was so catchy (Honey, Honey, Honey~) and the girls were so pretty!! Soon I was in the comments trying to figure out who was who, and the rest was history :)
I'll be including MVS, stage performance to show the choreography in full (without constant transitions), and some stage mixes (not for all songs though, sorry!)
THE EARLY DAYS | BREAK IT, IF YOU WANNA, SECRET WORLD
How they started it all! Before Hara and Jiyoung joined on, Sunghee was a member of KARA. Even though her run in KARA was short-lived (she supposedly had to leave because her parents were concerned about her grades - honestly thats good parenting though, I'm glad they put her education first), Sunghee left an impression on fans - in the youtube comments I see fans bring up how they miss her vocals :( Makes you wonder how KARA would've sounded if she stayed on. I hope she's happy and thriving :)
OP Thoughts: KARA started with a different sound from the rest of their song catalog - its very 2007 and yet still feels kind of fresh for me, its kind of hard for me to explain. The stripes in the performance video - omg I wore so many wide stripes as a teen D: It's worth checking it out for the pure nostalgia, to see how the group started, and to remember how Sunghee's vocals really elevated the songs.
SUNGHEE EXITS, HARA AND JIYOUNG JOIN KARA | ROCK U, PRETTY GIRL, HONEY
OP Thoughts: Kinda wish I saw this MV first, it would've saved me some time figuring out the members lol) 'Rock U' shows the shift from their original 'sassy' look to a more cute and bubbly concept. I never paid a lot of attention to Rock U initially but I like the choreography! It fits the fun song. I’m glad I rediscovered it.
OP Thoughts: Cute song, but omg that MV is an eyesore. I much prefer the winter outfits in the performance video. Also it makes me miss when kpop performances would do cute winter-inspired outfits or themes in December, I feel like I haven't seen groups do that in awhile :( ...or I'm just not paying attention haha, but I feel like it has just gotten more serious since then.
OP Thoughts: Super biased, as you saw above, but I absolutely adore this song. 10 years later and I always want to do the pinky move when they sing the Honey line lol! I think the cute, innocent concept was done really well here. While some of the outfits for their previous songs got a little Disney Channel for me but each one for this comeback seemed to work with the theme. Also this song got them their first show win on M! Countdown :))))
RISE OF KARA | WANNA, MISTER, LUPIN
OP Thoughts: I'm assuming I started listening to kpop in the summer of 2009 because I found Wanna shortly after Honey. I thought it was so cool to see the variety - they were doll like in Honey but here they were more flashy (look at all the jewelry they got on for the stage performance!) but also the song was appealing to me at the time. Since I was in my later teens, while I liked the cute vibes put out before (probably because of the jpop/anime influence I previously had) - this sound/concept appealed to me since I wanted to be more 'mature' and this fits into that quite well.
OP Thoughts: This song is quintessential KARA. This song or Lupin is the first live comeback I saw from KARA, I can't remember now :/ But either way, this song is a classic in Kpop history now. That famous choreography, the endless color swaps of the outfits, the super catchy song. By now you could see variety in concepts was part of KARA's appeal. Also this MV is a great example of how heavier eyeliner and smokier eyes were popular in the late 2000s/early 2010s. It fit them so well though - Hara rocking that smokey eye! Plus they're sporting the makeup bling around the eyes that I see making the rounds on IG nowadays (I love it).
OP Thoughts: Even though I'm unsure which song was my first real comeback - as in following teasers and awaiting the release date - but at least I know by Lupin I was deep into kpop and was following it regularly. Back then I thought this MV was SOOOO COOL. Nowadays, I know better but it's still visually pleasing!! I love the all black, this was their official 'darker, sexier' comeback. The running move for the choreography is pretty underrated, especially when in relation to the song it's inspired by, Arsène Lupin, a thief character that has inspired different forms of media over the years :)
KARA KEEPS TURNING OUT HITS | JUMPING, STEP, PANDORA, DAMAGED LADY
With them taking off in Korea, in 2010 they debuted in Japan :) I won't be highlighting all their Japanese title songs, I'll feature some of the ones I like down below, but feel free in the comments to discuss your favorites if you'd like!
OP Thoughts: This song was instant love for me :) I was probably busy since I don't remember a lot from this comeback, but I still regularly work out to this song!
OP Thoughts: Another instant love for me. Now looking back, I'm not a biggest fan of the outfits - but I love colorful and high energy the whole comeback is in general. The stage I featured here has my favorite look for this era, they look so damn good!
OP Thoughts: Ahhhhh the visuals this comeback! These outfits are probably my favorite. This comeback seems more elevated in quality. Im a broken record but I really loved this too, I remember this song and Damaged Lady having fans saying these sound of these songs gave them Sailor Moon vibes.
OP Thoughts: In 2013 I wasn't as engaged in kpop (even I still followed it), one reason being a lot of artists I liked were releasing songs I wasn't super into. Damaged Lady was one of them - I have much more of an appreciation for now as an adult but idk, this song at the time it wasn't clicking for me. Now I love it 👍 But now that I'm older, I like seeing them rock the menswear inspired outfits and they're giving you a more mature sex appeal with this song. By this release, I could see the girls had grown up - and I had grown up with them (ahhh the feels!)
NICOLE AND JIYOUNG EXIT, YOUNG JI JOINS | MAMMA MIA, CUPID
OP Thoughts: Oh boy. Ok similar to 2013, 2014 I wasn't super engaged in kpop even though I still kept up with releases. But this was the first release without Jiyoung and Nicole. So two members I had watched and listened to for years were gone, and replaced by a girl I knew nothing about (I didn’t watch the reality show to find the new member)...my younger self had very mixed emotions.
Nowadays I have no ill feelings towards Young Ji (I never disliked her, but I was one of those bitter fans who were upset with all the changes and how DSP was treating KARA since the company had their own issues going in the background). She just wanted to get her idol career started and she endeared a lot of unnecessary hate. I just want her to be happy! But I'll be honest - when this song was first released, I didn't acknowledge it much. But I was being biased because of the lineup changes and didn't give it a fair chance. After I revisited it, I think it's a great release and I really enjoy the choreography!
OP Thoughts: First impression was "Wow I really don't like this". Nowadays I think it's alright. I don't hate it but putting this post together is the most I've replayed the song ever. The hook is catchy but otherwise, it's ok. I think I'd like it more as a b-side or if it had a different MV. I realllyyyyy dislike the outfits for the MV, they look cheap and tacky (which I sometimes love, but here I just can't.) The stage performance I chose has outfits that are standard for KARA at this point but they are so much pleasing to my eyes than the budget cowgirl looks. (If you like them, that’s ok! I’m all for having different opinions, more for you :D )
OP Thoughts: One of my favorite Japanese release, it's just so cute and summery! I'll need to play this next more next summer!
OP Thoughts: Another cute song, basically their cute concept went to live on in Japan haha. I like the white blouses with the colored skirts, and the blue schoolgirl outfits. Nothing groundbreaking, but a nice pleasant track to listen to.
OP Thoughts: This title is "Thank You Summer Love". Broken record again, but it's cute and easy to listen to!
OP Thoughts: I love songs made for football apparently, theres been some great ones over the years. This is their song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I found it so cute and addicting, and I love how colorful and peppy this is. These tacky outfits I'm into lol (sorry Cupid!)
I didn't get to even cover the bsides I loved or the solo songs they released all at the same time (I was shook when that happened), but that would make this post even longer. Please share your favorites in the comments!! Share anything related to KARA, from your favorite songs, dances, to how you got into the group. :)
KARA. Thank you for everything.
Source (it's a long one, sorry!):
MBC Kpop: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Mnet Kpop: 1. 1theK: 1. perkerlweisrocks: 1, 2,
DSP KARA: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
TV People: 1, 2. DSPmedia: 1, 2 TtoZ12KPOP: 1. withl0v2: 1, 2. ณัฐพงศ์ จันอนุกาญจน์: First Win
rinoaselphie5: 1 (this youtuber is a FF8 fan lol). Cooke Kamilla: 1
Kiozirivn: 1. 김진유: 1. Sone Kamilia: 1. KARAJAPAN: 1