On January 15th, it was announced that Gyuri, Hara and Seungyeon decided not to renew their contracts with DSP Media and that the band Kara would disband. Although, it is unknown whether DSP intends to continue using the band name with a new generation of members. So, in honor of one of the biggest girl groups of the 2nd generation of K-pop, we’re going to take a look at their past releases. This group has released a lot of songs, so I will focus on their Korean singles. Let’s travel back in time and see what this iconic group has brought us!
This was the year of their debut! Kara appeared on the music scene with “Break it,” a song with a clear R&B influence. However, they didn’t stick with this genre for long. After losing one member (Kim Sunghee), the group came back as a 5-member unit, with the addition of Hara and Jiyoung, in 2008. Their debut was so obscure it is even hard to find on YouTube, well, an official version of it. After not making a big enough splash or hitting the charts, the company decided to take a different route and transform the girl group’s image. And I must say, that change paid off for them. Though their debut, really, is not bad at all.
Now here’s a familiar Kara! “Rock U” is cute, happy and very colorful. Though I doubt I’m the only one who cringes upon seeing these old MVs… The styling of the girls and the English… Yeah, it could use some improvement. Luckily though, that’s what happened!
…Was a big year for Kara! They released the very, very cute and sweet “Honey,” which is a song I still like to this day. “Honey” helped with their rise in popularity and created a pretty, but natural, image for the girls. The group followed that single with “Wanna,” which charted highly. But really, 2009 was the year of their big breakthrough with “Mister.” This song brought them big success and the “butt dance” became the move of the year (And yes, I used the Japanese version here because I prefer it). “Mister” is fun, catchy and easy to sing along and dance. A great release!
Another big year for Kara. They released “Lupin” and “Jumping,” while they also promoted heavily in Japan. Their first Japanese album sold almost half a million copies! For me, “Lupin” really shows why Kara became such a big group in Korea and abroad. The song really fits their style well, it’s a classic sexy that still has a very broad appeal.
…Brought us “Step.” Talk about a high energy and catchy song! If you want to be cheered up and start dancing, this is the song for you! After their first contract scare and payment issue with DSP, Kara was determined to come back big. Off in Japan, their singles were topping the Oricon chart and their second album debuted at #1 with over 700,000 sold copies. This was the year of breaking records.
“Pandora” is another example of the power of Kara. I also really loved their outfits for the dancing scenes. Both the black and white outfits looked amazing, but the white pieces are my absolute favorite. The metal details give the outfits a futuristic makeover. By the end of 2012, Kara released a solo collection album, with a solo song from each member. I loved that idea and other groups should try that concept as well. Anyway, there are some good songs on that solo collection, with my personal favorite being “Guilty” by Seungyeon.
The last year of the group consisting of 5 members. “Damaged Lady” is part of their flawless album Full Bloom. And I still can’t get over how great the teaser pictures for this era were! Especially the photos with the Dolce & Gabbana dresses and all the jewels… You can see some of those in the MV as well. Amazing queen styling! Such a shame that they didn’t use more of that footage in the music video. I would have loved it.
After Nicole and Jiyoung left, Youngji joined the group thanks to KARA Project. Kara returned as a 4-member group with “Mamma Mia.” One of my favorite aspects of that promotion is the contrast styling. The members wore white outfits while the background dancers wore black, or vise versa. The song was a different story however. I prefer their older releases. Less disco? Though Youngji did a pretty good job keeping up with the older members who, at this point, had been in the group for 6 or 7 years.
The last year of Kara. “Cupid” was a fun song and the girls looked amazing in the MV. I’m not too crazy about the cowboy inspired outfits though… It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the song. Oh well, it was the last time we would enjoy a new release by Kara.
After 9 years, it is time to say goodbye to Kara. The girl group was an iconic fixture in K-pop and was one of the first Korean bands to reach big success in Japan. What was also just amazing is that the group lasted 9 years in the industry. Not many groups last that long, especially in the land of replacement trainees. Kara brought us sweet pop music that often was very catchy and fun, with a slight 80’s twist. Thank you Kara and we hope to hear from all the members in the future.
(Sources: Hyperlinked YouTube Accounts)