With over 3,000 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.
The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!
Year Released: 2012
Given how prominent retro sounds have become in K-pop recently, it seems fitting that my randomizer selected T-ara’s Lovey-Dovey for review today. For a few years back in the early 2010’s, T-ara were leading the retro charge, opening with the iconic Roly-Poly in 2011. Lovey-Dovey was released in the first few days of 2012, kicking off a year in K-pop that would go on to be nothing short of legendary. Produced by the group’s longtime collaborator Shinsadong Tiger, Lovey-Dovey upped the electro-pop ante and provided the template for many girl group tracks to come.
Built upon quirky synths, record scratches and plenty of cowbell, the track hearkens back to disco in a convincing way. Its swirling, decadent verses recall late-70’s Abba, pulsing with a celebratory energy that gets the song grooving from the get-go. The herky-jerky rhythm is signature T-ara, drawing upon a similar style as past hits Bo Peep Bo Peep and (of course) Roly-Poly. And like those songs, Lovey-Dovey’s chorus is simple and repetitive, getting its mileage out of an effective key change. At times, it feels a bit too simple for me, but the exciting instrumental and effusive backing vocals wrap it in enough disco magic to compensate.
And really, that simplicity has its benefits. Rather than bend over backwards to accommodate needless breakdowns and choreography showcases, Lovey-Dovey uses its time to fully luxuriate in its groove. After all, when you find a rhythm as addictive as this there’s no sense in pulling away.