Aug 24, 2014

Kara Returns To The Throne With "Mamma Mia"

I have never will nor will I probably ever be, a Kamilia, but I do love me some Kara every now and again because I typically like their music. Past hits like "Rock U", "Lupin", "Mister" and "Step" for example are still hanging onto their spots on my playlist. However, things have slightly changed since we last saw them with "Damaged Lady". Kara are no strangers to member replacements, but to have two members jump ship this far into their career was probably not the best imaginary scenario for remaining members Hara, Gyuri and Seungyeon. Through the controversial reality show "Kara Project", 20 year-old Youngji was chosen as the new member and now she's joined the group to help regain their once-upon-a-time #1 spot.

To be completely honest, I didn't really know if I would like this "new" Kara and I wasn't sure whether Youngji would fit into the group at all since there's such a huge gap in experience between her and the rest. The music video teasers also didn't really give anything to go on, so I just had to wait and see in order to find out if they're completely doomed or if they might be able to revive from the ashes. That being said, I had kind of low expectations going into this, but I came out of it entirely floored. "Mamma Mia" is probably the best title track Kara has released since "Step" way back in 2011, and that says a lot. Unlike what you might think, regular Kara producer Sweetune didn't have any hands in this project at all, but instead it is rising star Double Sidekick that has laid down this track. Still, it has that familiar Kara sound that only they can achieve thanks to their distinct vocal performances that haven't changed very much at all despite the member loss. I suppose still having your main vocalists left contributes to that, but still. There are so many things right with this song, like the funky bass and futuristic synthesizers that kick in when the chorus starts. For a group that's desperate to regain their footing in the industry after a controversy, it's truly the perfect song to do it with, that's for sure.

The video, too, is an experience in itself. The funny thing is that the premise of the video is actually really basic and there's nothing new or exciting about it at all if you look at it from an objective point of view, but I just love it. I'm sure you will love it too if you watch it once or twice, even though there's actually nothing particularly special about it. There are your typical box-sets, solo shots and dance sequences and everything a typical K-pop video has, but for some reason this just stands above all your average rookies trying to find success.

Then what are the things that make this video so much better? Well, for starters there's the song, which I think helps an awful lot because when you have a song as good as this, the overall viewing experience will naturally improve. It's easier to tolerate any type of generic video when the music playing isn't terrible, so I'll give them massive bonus points for thinking about the music aspect as well. You would be surprised at how many videos there are that don't really care for the music and its impact, and that what's going on on the screen is far more relevant then what your ears are exposed to.

Secondly, the members look fantastic. There's lots of shots of Hara, which I approve of because she's gorgeous and somehow severely under-appreciated despite being known for her doll-like features. She also has a astounding amount of lines considering her less-than-stellar vocal skills, but I suppose someone has to cover the empty space left by Nicole and Jiyoung. Seungyeon also kills it, but I don't think she was very prominently featured in this video unfortunately. I also kind of think her and Youngji look a lot like each other in some angles, which makes it even more confusing to try and figure out if the screen time was even, which it probably wasn't because of Hara's complete take-over. Gyuri remains a queen, and totally steals the show every time the camera focuses on her.

I do have some critique on newest member Youngji though, because while she's clearly both pretty and talented and seem to keep up more than well dance-wise, her acting needs some more improvement. I think she will learn a lot as time goes by, but for now her facial expressions don't come off as genuine to me and she seems to have a harder time connecting with the camera than the others. Being her first time shooting an actual video it's understandable that she looks a bit stiff and awkward, and it becomes all the more obvious since she's sharing the screen with three women who've been in this business since they were teenagers.

Finally, the choreography for this comeback is quite something, don't you think? It definitely looks more challenging than what they've had in years, and I suppose with such a powerful song they had to step it up a notch. Like a lot of groups, the older and more famous they get, the quality of the dancing seems to decrease. Their comebacks for "Pandora" and "Damaged Lady" weren't bad, but the dancing was underwhelming, and that goes especially for the latter. Kara can do quite a lot more than what people think, and this choreography really showcases their abilities. It's sexy, confident, fits the sound of the music and takes the whole video to another level of brilliance.

Seriously guys, I think I might have to become a bit more invested in this group now having in mind how much I'm enjoying this. My favorite thing about all this is that you can almost smell the scent of revenge in the air as Kara's coming back to win everyone back over onto their side, and that passion and willpower truly shines through in this video. There are all the other bits too, such as the dim, hazy lights, royal-like sets and the summery beach party at the end the help bring the overall feeling together, but that's not the best thing about it. The members are what makes the video so good. Their command of the scene is nothing less but perfect, and along with the song it makes a highly enjoyable 4 minutes of Kara realness.

Song: 4,25/5
MV: 3,75/5

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