Not only is Kara one of Korea’s top girl groups, but they’ve recently conquered Japan as well. With their youthful yet sexy image and high gloss bubblegum pop style, its easy to see why Kara resonates so well with their Japanese audience. However, they’ve recently returned to their homeland with their Korean comeback single, Pandora.
The production of this track is truly marvelous. The girls have collaborated with top producer Sweetune, who is known for creating dynamic and fast paced songs with a retro sound. This song stays true to his unique style, and yet sounds distinctive enough to stand out from both his and Kara’s past work. Pandora takes the girls down the darker route that we saw them travel during Lupin, while maintaining the energetic and sugary pop sound of Step.
Pandora takes multiple sounds and layers them on top of one another, creating a truly eclectic and dynamic sound. It all comes together seamlessly, and yet, you simply have to listen to this song multiple times to appreciate its complexity! On your first listen, the 60’s tinged spy music syth will catch your attention. But listen closely, and you’ll notice the hard rocking guitars. On your next, the dramatic keys. Then, maybe you’ll find the funky bass, or the dramatic violin strings? At the song’s heart is an upbeat europop beat that brings everything together. Do you see the pattern here? Pandora is so much more than just another cheaply thrown together pop song. I don’t even like Kara and I had this on replay.
|Flesh colored straps…I see what you did there…|
Unfortunately, the group still suffers from the same weakness that has plagued the girls’ career; their vocals. They’ve never been a group of strong vocalists. Luckily, Pandora’s verses play into the girls’ strengths by keeping them within their limited ranges. They sound good for the most part, but its when the girls try to belt that their voices become too shrill to be pleasant. Also, whoever suggested that Nicole and Hara should rap needs to be slapped. The rap breakdown is particularly painful to listen to. Their harmonies on the chorus are a little too sugary and sweet for me, but personally, I was never into their high gloss, bubblegum sound.
One thing that I can’t deny is that Kara has definitely shown an evolution with this song. The girls are growing up, and are definitely working a more mature style. Unlike the pseudo-edgy concept of Lupin, the girls are actually turning heads with their sexy and mysterious style. Although Kara suffers from some rather limited vocal capabilities, their updated style and Sweetune’s masterful production actually make Pandora a solid track.
Final Score: 3/5