Random Shuffle Review: T-ara – Lovey-Dovey

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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


14 thoughts on “Random Shuffle Review: T-ara – Lovey-Dovey

  1. Roly Poly and Lovey Dovey have long been on my workout list. The dance is iconic. This is classic girl group style pop music, whether it had been released a decade ago or three decades ago. Good fun.

    Off topic: Stray Kids IN has released a great song today “Maknae on Top”, which should be reviewed!


  2. Over here I agree with the ABBA comparison.

    Oh man, I remember this being stuck in my head back when it was released. The “Ooh-Ooh” hook is one that can easily get stuck in your head.

    In contrast, I always found the chorus slightly underwhelming after the utter disco blast of the verses whenever I listened. Nevertheless, it still got stuck in my head several times. Still, I prefer Roly Poly by a lot due to its chorus.

    I’d give it a score around 8.75 as well.

    On another note, the MV is so utterly weird and random.


  3. Here are my thoughts on Stray Kids’ IN ft Bang Chan, and Changbin’s “Maknae on top”:

    Alright, who called old school cha cha cha for a trend we would like to see?

    Honey we have a hot one. I love this. Its all homage to old Tito Puente “Oye Come Va”, and added the kpop on top. (The original Tito Puente version, rather than the Santana version, because Tito uses horns while Santana replaces those with guitar and Hammond organ.) Its not identical to Oye Come Va, but has that vibe and percussion going on.

    Its fresh, it is fun, it doesn’t take itself seriously, its danceable, it has a catchy refrain “Maknae on top” that everyone will be able to sing along to by the end of the first listen, ad yet it has all the elements of contemporary kpop. I love this song.

    Maknae on top two cha cha cha one two cha cha cha
    Maknae on top two cha cha cha, one two cha cha cha

    If there is one thing I don’t like is that it is not yet on US itunes, wahhh! Also, cowbell, what this song needs is more cowbell. (Lolz. That’s a joke.)

    SKZ here:

    Tito Puente here:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cardi B – I Like It, Stray Kids version? That’s what I thought before checking the Tito Puente sample. I think it sounds pretty fun but somehow the production sounds more empty than the original. Is it that piano? The stylized autotune sound on the refrain doesn’t work for me, and using the same effect throughout the rest of the song is just too grating for me.

      I would be all for an ‘old school cha cha cha’ trend though, I like the overall sound of it.


      • It could also be influenced by Cardi B’s I Like it like that. To me this song sounds more like a cha cha dance though, while I Like It like that sounds like a salsa dance, or at least that is how my body wants to move to each. Although the boys themselves do salsa moves in the video. But to debate this properly needs something in each of our hands like a caipirinha or mojito. For medicinal purposes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I really can’t get past the vocal effects. I get that it’s a stylistic choice, but it just sounds messy and obnoxious to me. I’ll take Tito any day…


          • As much as I like the salsa style instrumental I agree that the vocal effects bother me on this song.
            I also don’t like the generic hip-hop performance (0:36-40,0:47-49).

            But it’s nice to see other members than 3RACHA trying some things and as a filler song between two albums there is nothing wrong.


  4. I have never connected with T-ARA, unlike most people, their music is awesome and they are certainly unique… but I just love other groups even more.

    I love Sugar Free and Sexy Love, I am obsessed with both of them. Both songs would find a way into my Top 125 K-pop Songs and Top 35(?) K-pop GIRL GROUP songs.

    Off Topic: I hear hints of Trop pop hear, and I am not sure if I like it…. I do hope that it is not the title track: “”


    • I’m assuming that’s the title. It’s certainly not the sound I want from them, but I don’t hate that instrumental clip. I’m hoping that this will be a Leez/Ollounder production, since at least they could do something interesting with it.


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