[Review] T-ara provide nostalgic moments on “TIKI TAKA” that get sidetracked at times

It’s such a joy to write about T-ara today. The group hasn’t made a comeback since 2017 — before many of today’s most popular acts had even debuted! K-pop’s constant changes and debuts keep it exciting, but there’s nothing like hearing from a veteran act. T-ara are such a huge part of K-pop history, and it’s great to see them release new music.

TIKI TAKA” comes courtesy of a few newer-gen producers, most notably singer-songwriter Colde. It’s interesting that they chose to promote this song with a music video, since the other new track is bolstered by more familiar collaborators. But, I guess it’s good to keep moving forward, and “TIKI TAKA” still draws upon many identifiable T-ara sounds. In an era often fueled by Bratz doll affectations, the group’s smooth, mature vocals are an absolute treat to hear. Even when the song transitions into the electro pulse of its chorus, the group’s performance remains slick and subtle.

However, it’s important to note just how strongly nostalgia is propping up this release. TIKI TAKA is nowhere near T-ara’s best, and misses quite a few easy chances to become something stellar. I love the melody in the opening verse because it feels so intentional and well-constructed. And though the transition into the chorus is a bit jarring the first time through, the throbbing beat recalls past glories in a fun way. From here, the song feels like a series of diminished returns. It’s enjoyable all the way through, but doesn’t really go anywhere. A last-moment climax seems to promise something huge, but then TIKI TAKA just … well, ends. Still, the power of T-ara themselves makes this an easy November standout, and it’s a solid addition to their fantastic discography.

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