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[Review] T-ara - "Lovey Dovey"

January 12, 2012 @ 12:25 pm
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Back in 1980, Lipps Inc. scored one of the generation's most enduring hits with their funky disco piece, "Funky Town". The track has since become a part of worldwide popular culture, with its cowbell-laced "Won't you take me to Funky Town?" strain becoming a well-known catchphrase (insert reference to Eunhyuk and Donghae here). It has also become the benchmark for party songs ever since, and new songs emerge every year to challenge "Funky Town"'s reign as one of the most popular dancefloor tracks of all time. The most recent effort comes from T-ara's "Lovey Dovey" off of their latest mini-album, 'Funky Town' (a repackage of their late 2011 release 'Black Eyes'). But does "Lovey Dovey" manage to deliver its own unique spin to the disco pop dance anthem by using the same quirky cowbell motif, or is it merely a shade of what "Funky Town meets K-Pop" could have aspired to be?   A pop song typically follows a blueprint written using three parts—the verse, the chorus, and the bridge, with "Lovey Dovey" being no exception. Many a hit has used this tried-and-true formula, but the secret to their success is weaving a unique flair into the now-familiar recipe. Unfortunately, this is why "Lovey Dovey" is just a middle-of-the-road song instead of a bona fide hit. Having both the chorus and verse sounding too similar is what presents itself as the main problem for "Lovey Dovey." It falls short of providing the twists and turns that turn a normal car ride into a roller coaster ride, with the transitions from one part to another being difficult to discern. In order for everything to come together nicely, the verse and the chorus must balance out the other's strengths and weaknesses. An example of where this verse-chorus balance plays out more smoothly is T-ara's own debut track, "Lies," which also shares pretty much the same pop music formula. However, in "Lies," the verses are tonally subdued and melancholy, with a clearly faster-paced and more upbeat chorus. In contrast to "Lies," "Lovey Dovey" never quite breaks free of a single octave's worth of range, and stays consistent in its rhythm. On the surface, never straying too far from its norm seems like an easy way to keep an audience satisfied, but had the producers taken a few more risks, a tune that ultimately degenerates into staleness could have been one that had everyone tapping their feet. Finally, the bridge in "Lovey Dovey" doesn't add much value to the song. Where a bridge typically serves to add some variety to break the pattern of verse and chorus working in unison, in "Lovey Dovey," the bridge ultimately adds fuel to the fire. The same "o-oo-oo-oo-o" used liberally throughout the rest of the piece punctuates each phrase, threatening to push the sound from merely repetitive to that of a broken record. For partygoers, this mostly goes without much concern—the need for musical variety is easily eclipsed by the simple need for a catchy rhythm to keep things going. However, for anyone else not partying it up in Hongdae, "Lovey Dovey" threatens to grow stale rather quickly.   ---   For better or for worse, "Lovey Dovey" is both catchy and addictive. It's likely more than enough for the majority of K-Pop listeners who don't see the need for music to be form of art with the depth to lend itself to academic study. However, it does not live up standard of T-ara's own past works, nor will it satisfy listeners who expected a lasting classic like the original 1980 "Funky Town". However, mastery of the finer technical aspects of music has never been a barometer of success in K-Pop, and judging by the definite addictiveness the track possesses, as well as large amounts of T-ara's typical swagger, it's still too early to rule out "Lovey Dovey" as 2012 raises the curtains on what is sure to be another interesting year.     What are your thoughts on T-ara's new track? Leave an honest rating and your thoughts in the comments below. Suggestions for a future review or an opinion on this one? Hit up the author on Twitter (@MtnMadman) or via e-mail (seung.park@allkpop.com)! Note: this article does not reflect the opinions of allkpop, only the author.

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