Dec 30, 2016

K.A.R.D's Debut with "Oh NaNa" Is Probably The Best Unexpected Release This Year

KARDs foto.

The news that DSP Entertainment was going to debut a new group came as quite the shock to me considering the poor state of their current roaster. After the disbandment of Kara earlier this year the agency is left with 2012-debutees A-Jax and rookie girl group April, the later of which has already undergone several member changes. I really wasn't into the idea of a new group because of this, and wondered why DSP found it a good decision. However when I saw the teasers and realized that this new group K.A.R.D was indeed a co-ed group with both male and female members my interest was woken. Additional curiosity sparked when it was revealed that one of the girls was Somin, ex-member of Puretty, participant in "Kara Project" and most recently also ex-member of April, was going to be in it. I always liked Somin and thus decided to give this group a shot, and I found myself being surprised by how much I liked their debut song.

Their debut track is called "Oh NaNa", and has a sound I would not have expected from a company like DSP, whom to my recollection hasn't produced anything like this before. It has a very modern western type of pop sound with various electronica influences and definitely doesn't sound much like a regular K-pop song to me. This is naturally a good thing, as I'm always happy when K-pop groups include other genres and styles from other parts of the world. In this track the ladies do the singing, and the song does mainly consist of vocals, and they guys rap in between the choruses. All of them sound great and the rapping matches the song in a way that sounds natural. The overall impression is a laid-back, sexy song with a great melody and hook that sticks in your head. It only took me two listens to love the song, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

KARDs foto.The MV on the other hand is confusing and definitely the least impressive aspect of this debut. It doesn't really have anything to do with the lyrics of the song and the scenes don't exactly connect with each other either. It's a bit spacey and I guess that goes with the vibe of the song but it honestly doesn't make much clear sense, at least not in a way that is understandable to me. Visually the MV is very dark which wouldn't be much of a problem hadn't in been for that fact that some of the choreography can't be seen properly due to lack of lightning. I will say though that I like the styling of the members and that the choreography that can be seen looks cool and sexy in a fun way that works both for the guys and girls.

I guess I should mention Youngji as well no matter how much I want to forget her appearance in this debut. K.A.R.D's concept is, from what I've understood, that the members represent different cards in a deck. For their coming releases a "hidden card" will also feature, like a guest member for that specific release, to help the group gain some recognition. Using ex-Kara member Youngji is thus a wise choice since she's quite well-known, but I do not like her parts in this song at all. She comes in in the final bridge and almost ruins the song for me with her squeaky vocals, and although I understand her purpose the song would've been so much better without her. Thankfully she won't be there for K.A.R.D's next release.

KARDs foto.
I also want to mention how much I love that this group is co-ed, because there's really no other group like that at the moment (apart from the AKMU-siblings). There have been some attempts at co-ed groups in the past with little success, mainly because of the nature of K-pop fandoms. Boy-group fans don't want to see their favorites interact with other girls and vice versa for girl-group stans. I, for one, am in huge favor of more groups like K.A.R.D, just because I think there's a certain dynamic that can only be achieved with members of different genders.

They do have a unique advantage and I hope it can be well cared for and utilized, because with a debut like this one I think that the potential is enormous. The song is fantastic and I already like all the members and their group chemistry, so I can only hope that Korea can get on board and that DSP do their job right for once.

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

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