T-ara – Day by Day

T-ara had one of the roughest debuts back in 2009. However, they quickly became of of Korea’s hardest working groups, and rocketed to the front of the pack by unleashing a series of hits in rapid fire succession. Now, they’re back, and maintain their position as Korea’s fastest rising star with a new song called Day by Day. T-ara songs typically fall into one of two categories; fun, cute and energetic dance tracks (Bo Peep, Yayaya, Roly Poly) and serious, mature sounding rnb ballad tracks (Lies, Cry Cry, I’m Really Hurt). This new track falls into the later category, showing off the group’s more emotional side.

Ji Yeon is a total badass.

Now, before we talk about the song itself, lets talk about the latest controversy with this group. After T-ara seized the top of the charts, the group’s CEO came out, and in a shocking move, publicly reprimanded his own cash cow artist. He warned the seven members of T-ara that they shouldn’t feel complacent with their recent success (4 number ones is nothing to be proud of…), and that they must continue to work hard. And just for good measure, he would be adding two new members to the group to send a message to the other girls; you ARE replaceable. This has outraged fans, and rightfully so. 

Day by Day marks the debut of the groups 8th member, Areaum. Based on her part in this song, she seems to have a decent voice, and blends into the group very well. The only problem, is that blends in almost too well. She doesn’t really stand out from the other girls, or bring anything new to the group. In fact, she gets the song’s one big note…but its not a note that couldn’t have been hit by Hyomin, or Eun Jung. I really don’t understand the reason for adding more faces to a group that already has members that are under utilized. I firmly believe that this is the reason that After School never became one of the top groups, and I don’t see this move paying off for T-ara either.

Areaum: I have no idea whats going on…

With that said, lets talk about the song. Day by Day is a downtempo pop ballad that shows off a more elegant and mature side to the group. It features a really cool and moody flute melody being played over a hip hop beat, which gives the song a very cool and unique sound. Hwa Young starts the song with a very dramatic rap verse. Its nice to see that for once, she isn’t completely useless. Being the group’s seventh member, she was actually added with a purpose; to be the team’s main rapper. Despite this, its taken her four singles with the group to get a proper rap verse. I don’t know what the hold up was, because she’s actually pretty talented.

Unfortunately, after Hwa Young delivers her verse, we have to wait until the song’s mid point for her to enter the song again. In between rap sections, the song hits a lull, which is rather unfortunate since that lull lasts for the entire duration of the song. Yes, I said it; this song is boring. Aside from the rap and the melody, this song is rather forgettable. 

Hwa Young: That’s right! I got skill! And it only took five singles to show it!

Eun Jung and So Yeon sing the chorus, but unfortunately, the chorus is rather bland, and not very catchy. Eun Jung’s voice is highly affected by vocal filters, making her sound half human, and half out of tune whistle. Its actually kind of grating to listen to, which is sad because her natural voice is beautiful. As for the verses, well….can you even tell whose singing them? Do you care? Did you even pay attention to them? They just kind of fade into the background until the chorus comes again. This song is totally unremarkable and bland.

The song’s choreography is equally boring. This isn’t much of a dance track, but with the song’s unique melody, it could have had a really cool dance to go along with it. Instead, we get a rather lame routine comprised of walking around, and lame hand motions. Seeing as how it was choreographed by one of the best in the business, Jonet Monte (Mastermind behind Beyonce’s Single Ladies), I really can;t forgive this half assed dance routine.

Qri: Hey, be in the music video too?

Although the dance sucks, the music video is pretty genius. Its well known that the members of T-ara are also pretty good actresses, so it makes sense that they would display their abilities through a 15 minute music video. They’ve done this with their past singles, and I’ve never really watched them because Korean dramas bore me to tears. However, Day by Day isn’t a drama. Its a freaking sci fi epic!

In the video, we see a post apocalyptic future where everyone has brightly colored hair, and carries samurai weaponry. So its like…a typical day in Japan. The group’s 9th member, Dani, plays a blind girl with special powers. Because of her unique abilities, she is wanted by a criminal group, lead by Ji Yeon, who plays a very convincing super villain. However, Dani is protected by a pink haired Hyomin. There’s some really cool fight scenes! With blood and everything! For the first time ever, I’m actually really interested in the story that’s being told. This is much more interesting than any of their last videos, and the music actually provides a solid soundtrack.

Dani: Yay! Bunny! Thanks, group mate!
Hyomin: Your welcome. Now go play with GP Basic, bitch.

While the music video is really cool, it doesn’t change the fact that the song itself is rather…well, lame. Other than the music and the rapping, Day by Day totally forgettable. Between lame chorus, lame dance, and the addition of a new member that was totally unwarranted, this song actually feels like something that would come from a rookie group rather than one of Korea’s top group. In fact, I don’t even understand why Day by Day is their comeback track, because the mini-album’s other track, Don’t Leave, is a fantastic song.I see this song taking T-ara several steps backwards. 

Final Score; 2/5


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