The past year has spewed casualties of some of K-pop's most beloved girl groups and now T-ara say goodbye in their own way with a new EP.
While some groups have opted for a farewell ballad (2NE1, Sistar) or by quietly going their separate ways (4Minute, Rainbow), the T-ara girls bring a bouncy, summery single that stands up to their past dance tracks with "What's My Name." Despite the fun feel of the glitch-pop production, the girls serve a heavy dose of melancholy as they argue and plead with a lover who has completely changed who he used to be. While the lyrics are romantic, one could argue this could also be T-ara talking to their fans and hoping they still continue to support and recognize the girls even if this is the last time they'll be seeing them in their current group.
While the accompanying music video is a gorgeous and vibrant affair with Eunjung, Hyomin, Jiyeon and Qri, lamenting on an ex, the standout visuals are the constant allusions to T-ara's lost two members. Boram and Soyeon, two of the six members in the group's original (and what would be their final) lineup, departed the outfit just weeks before the release of "What's My Name" due to contract expirations with T-ara's current record label. Yet, the ladies are honored when viewers see a row of six pencils become four, six school desks are seen with two seats flipped over, and six bottles with messages are left next to a fountain. It's clear that despite the two members' early departure, there's a bond between the six girls as rumors continue to swirl that the sextet may reunite and continue under a different company or management.
"What's My Name" is the title track from T-ara's new EP marking what is said to be their last release after nearly eight years together. The group debuted in 2009 with the single "Lie" and later blew up with their choreography- and hook–focused dance jams. The group scored a slew of chart-toppers from 2009 through 2012, and added two singers, before an alleged bullying scandal with the new members that has still yet to be proven true rocked the group in the summer of 2012 and saw the group's Korean popularity decline as they slowly whittled down to the original six-member lineup. Despite their stumble in the K-pop world, the group found continued popularity overseas in Japan and especially in China where the group is considered one of the biggest foreign acts. T-ara's international fanbase was truly felt last year when their "Tiamo" won Fuse's inaugural K-Pop Top 40 Video Countdown where their fans, known affectionately as Queen's, named them the top K-pop video of 2016.
Listen to Fuse's K-pop podcast K-Stop discuss the news of T-ara losing two members ahead of their comeback below at the 46:30 mark and look out for our hosts to review their new release on next week's episode: