Usually the first thing I say to myself after watching a T-Ara video for the first time is: "What the hell just happened?"
They're an unusual bunch, these women. While many kpop girl groups and be fairly well categorized by their style (cute "Aegyo" groups, sexy groups, badgirl groups), T-Ara (pronounced "tiara") has a style all of their own. They're sexy, of course, but have a weird goofy edge to them that is kind of unique. They're funny, and often unintentionally so. Musically, their style is dramatic but diverse. While wandering from the 80's Eurodisco of "Roly Poly" (and its adorable 12-minute cinematic video) to the big room EDM of "Sugar Free" to the Motown-flavored dance pop of "So Crazy", they maintain an edge that is strictly their own. When you hear one of their songs for the first time, you always know it's T-Ara.
T-Ara has had an often tumultuous ride from debuting with a highly criticized flop to regrouping and rising to the top of the charts, acceptance and adoration across East Asia. They more or less survived a bullying scandal which (to a foreigner like myself) seemed to be the result of the sextet rejecting their company's poor decision to make them a septet by adding a new member out of the blue. They took it out on the new member, alienated her, and were splattered with more than their share of bad PR for it.
T-Ara's true staying power is due to the diverse mix of their members' strong personalities and charisma more than anything else, along with a willingness to try the unusual and still deliver. They are responsible for some of K-Pops most iconic and memorable classics.