Disclaimer: Yes, I know that Boram said T-ara might stay together and promote under a different agency, but for now I’m treating this as a disbandment.
Considering that T-ara is my favourite K-pop group you’d think I’d be upset about their possible disbandment, but I’m not. I already went through all those emotions during their 2012 scandal, so every T-ara comeback since then has felt like a little K-pop miracle that I’ve always been grateful for.
Their farewell single, “What’s My Name?,” further proves that I made the right decision all those years ago when I joined the fandom. While their fellow legends like SISTAR and Wonder Girls
and 2NE1 capped off their careers with safe ballads, T-ara not only dropped a jam-packed mini-album, the lead single is a DANCE bop from Brave Brothers. This ain’t no half-assed farewell!
“What’s My Name?” is an extension of STELLAR’s “Crying,” meaning melancholy yet uplifting euro-pop. It took me a minute to really warm up to “Crying” and AOA’s “Heart Attack” because I wasn’t sure about Brave returning to his dancey Son Dam Bi days, but I’ve fully embraced the sound now and was ready to stan “What’s My Name?” from the first spin.
If this sound is appropriate for anybody, it’s T-ara. The first half of their career, particularly the legendary Absolute First Album, was characterised by emotionally-charged electro-pop, so in some ways “What’s My Name?” feels like a nod to their early days. Of course, maybe they just recorded it because outdated Brave beats are all they can get at this late stage of their career, but I like to think that my first theory is correct.
The music video is appropriately sentimental, with a heartwarming ending and tonnes of sweet references to Boram and Soyeon, who had to sit this album out due to
Kim Kwang Soo accidentally killing them in a fit of rage contractual issues.
Anyway, this is how you do a farewell. Wonder Girls did a random digital single and nothing else, 2NE1 gave us a music video, and SISTAR did both with a few music program performances on top, but their single was a freakin’ boring ballad instead of one of their summer jams. T-ara served full mini-album in multiple editions, a dance-pop single, solo tracks for b-sides, a music video, and weeks of TV promo and music shows! They’ll definitely be missed if this is truly the end for them, but at least they went out on a high.