I loved Nicole‘s underrated debut single “MAMA” more than a sasaeng loves their oppa’s dirty underwear, but I get why it didn’t win everybody over. It was a little dark and restrained without much of a chorus, so it was never going to connect with people the way KARA’s pop confections usually did.

Now Nicole’s leaving the inky sexuality of “MAMA” behind for her first Japanese single, another Sweetune collaboration called “Something Special” (which I’ve been obsessing over for months).

The sparkling synth-pop number has the kind of bright and bubbly sound that Sweetune hasn’t really done since the early days of KARA, back when the girls were still fresh-faced teens who had yet to cross over to the dark side with “Lupin.”

Listening to “Something Special” feels like listening to KARA if they’d never grown up, which is just the greatest thing EVER. Don’t get me wrong, I utterly adore post “Lupin” KARA too, but I’ve still got “Rock U,” “Honey,” and “Mister” on heavy rotation like they just dropped yesterday. I like the idea of hearing what KARA would sound like in 2015 if they were still pushing the irresistibly cute Sweetune thing. You can also hear how Sweetune’s tweaked Nicole’s sound a bit for the Japanese market without losing the K-pop glossiness, which is something KARA always excelled at.

Those cotton candy synths and disco guitars right after the chorus make me feel like I’ve just dived into a pink cloud made entirely of KARA 5 Jewel mist. Or should I say, Nicole’s own signature edition of Chanel’s Coco Noir perfume, since she rides a gigantic bottle of it in the amazing “Something Special” music video.

And as if I wasn’t already slayed enough, there’s this J-pop dance track b-side called “Fantasy” that I’m also living for.

First “Cupid,” then this, and next Hara’s solo debut. I must have been Mother Teresa in a previous life to deserve all these blessings.

[Via Our Nikori]