[Review] KARA update signature sound for reunion comeback single “When I Move”

In sentences I never thought I’d type, KARA has officially made a comeback recently with “When I Move“. Not only have they reunited, but they did so with all five members and it’s been clear in the build-up that this wasn’t just some trip down nostalgia lane for the sake of fans and their bank accounts, but that they were going to give it an actual effort. Fortunately, that mostly shows in the final product.

The initial synths had me expecting something more upbeat throughout, but the verses are quite unadorned for the most part, with just hints of guitar to it and rounding out as pretty typical synthpop effort. It generally settles into the building tension/projection of attitude trend, which is fine since they have the panache to pull it off, but ultimately it also falls short of creating the kind of spectacle that crafted KARA’s best.

Thus, how one feels about “When I Move” is largely dependent on how one feels about the chorus. Thankfully, that didn’t follow contemporary trends by settling for something instrumental-heavy after one line or stick with a too cool, detached delivery. Instead, they gifted us with a travel back in time to the previous generations in K-pop, providing a rather euphoric release of tension with an actual vocal-heavy, fun, and melodic effort centered around the repetition of the titular “when I move“. More than anything, the chorus provided an addicting and memorable throwback to specifically what made KARA’s discography great.

Obviously I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the music video. Besides looking slick, it was especially the unspoken Hara tribute with six place settings and six mics that served up an emotional reminder that this reunion should be with six members. A fitting and necessary inclusion.

In terms of a KARA release, “When I Move” is honestly probably around average within their extensive discography of bops, so do what you want with the reality that it feels oddly fresh and is probably a year-end contender in 2022. Effectively a sonic tribute to themselves that’s thus unsurprisingly executed effectively, it’s definitely much more than just a nostalgic fan song, yet it seamlessly weaves that element into the end product to cap off a thrilling reunion. No telling where KARA will go from here, but based on all their activities and this release, I sure hope they continue on as a group as they’ve shown they still have the ability to provide quality.


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Thot Leader™