With the release of "Wonderland," exiled SNSD fashion plate Jessica Jung fights the good fight, returning without the "Comeback" fanfare of South Korean weekly music shows, undoubtedly due to her rift with KPop's largest entertainment company, SM and its broad blacklisting muscle. After all, SM is making a big push to reap the rewards of the remaining Soshi members with their own solo efforts.
After the confusing personel-fumbling that led to the demise of one of East Asia's most legendary groups, KARA, and the ill-concieved Japanese debut of talented sexy-concept septet Rainbow, DSP Media now places its hopes on a rarity in the world of KPop - a coed group.
The name of the group, K.A.R.D, is a confusing acronym based on cards in a deck that represent each of the members, including an R for both colored and black jokers, and in one of the most unusual concepts yet, D for "hidden" card, or guest performers who will be featured on the group's future releases. The quartet has still not officially debuted, but have just released a new single, officially titled K.A.R.D Project Vol. 1, better known as "Oh Nana".
Aside from the oddities of DSP Media's conceptualizing and management, "Oh Nana" is a downright infectious little piece of new jack swing that features a mix of male rapping and female singing. The rappers, L.A. born Matthew Jinsuk Kim (who goes by the seriously unfortunate name of B.M. - really, an American should know to avoid certain abbreviations) and J.Seph (Kim Tae-hyung) alternate riffs and offer an effective, if predictable flow. The female vocalists, Jeon Jiwoo and former April member Jeon Somin, harmonize and trade leads nicely, particularly in the tune's addictive chorus and catch phrase. Somin is the real revelation of this augmented quartet, adding a significant star power and presence along with her competent pipes.
And then there is the obligatory bridge, and who else appears but the final KARA member, Young Ji! Young JI, as many will remember had perhaps the most imposing shoes to fill of any KPop idol, replacing both the adorable Ji Young and the immensely popular American Nicole Jung - again, one of the more questionable decisions made at DSP Media headquarters. As the "Hidden Card," she lends her voice to the slowdown voice with trills that absolutely pop. Where was that voice when KARA was struggling to stay relevant as a quartet? She sounds great in "Oh Nana" and adds to not only the overall appeal of the song, but the mystique as well.
We loved and miss KARA but wish the best for K.A.R.D who are already claiming thousands of fans with this pre-debut gem. Hopefully they will continue to impress before something eventually screws this unique act up at DSP Media. Enjoy: