While T-ara undergoes a long hiatus, their signature disco-pop tracks left a substantial void in K-pop. Shinsadong Tiger, the producer responsible for a great part of the group’s discography, also had rather quiet years recently, at least until Momoland’s emblematic “Bboom Bboom” hit the charts and proved his classic template still delivers
MBK Entertainment seems to have noticed that and finally owned up the title of “T-ara’s little sisters” to DIA. The group explored a number of styles in the past, from the experimental Miami bass of “Woo Woo” to the cutesy “Can’t Stop,” but had yet to tap into the powerful dancefloor sounds that propelled their former labelmates to stardom. Finally, in “Woowa,” Shinsadong Tiger’s characteristic style revels in pure pop delight, and strike as the group’s best single to date
The song is led by a peculiar Mortal Kombat inspired synth that drives the tempo and makes for an electrifying journey from start to end. Refusing to stall in common trends of recent years, such as the instrumental drop, the song finds freshness in groovy disco sounds, a middle-eastern flute section, and an almost non-existent bridge. These little surprises keep the listener entertained while maintaining a high replay factor.
Emphasizing the disco influences, the MV has a roller skate rink as its main scenery and pairs it with arcade props for the individual scenes. Pink and blue neon, although quite widespread in K-pop, offer gorgeous lighting throughout the video, a great match with the song’s video game beats.
During the opening shot, Eunchae’s eyes sparkle in a different color, suggesting something magical. The scene instantly reminded me of T-ara’s “Bo Peep Bo Peep” ending, where the MV’s main character reveals her cat eyes, leading me to anticipate some creepiness to spice up an otherwise innocuous theme
However, the special effect was just for a moment of aesthetic pleasure. “Woowa” is as straightforward as it can be. There is no complex symbolism, quirky narrative, or deep meanings behind. Instead, it is arguably the perfect business card: the song introduces the essential elements of the group through carefully crafted scenes.
The effort pays off as this is one of the group’s strongest eras in terms of visuals. The glittery outfits and makeup are eye-catching and enhances each member’s individual charm. Yebin’s sparkly lip gloss and black bob could well be her signature look, in contrast to Jueun’s unique silvery-violet hair and shiny waterline. Eunice’s blond waves compliment her soft, fairy-like features, and Somyi’s burgundy strands add edginess to her remarkable visage.
The balanced screen time for each member is yet another asset of this release. With a popular visual like Chaeyeon, it is easy to understand why MBK often overshadowed the rest of the members. However, that is not necessarily the best practice. By fairly highlighting all members, the viewers can finally realize the full potential of DIA — their singing prowess, dancing skills, and charming visuals are not to be undermined
The lyrics dwell in enamored feelings, but maintain the same straightforwardness found in the MV:
You just don’t have to do anything
You can just stand
What else do I need?
Just want to look at you in front of me
Thinking of it, the MV could well be a mirror for those words, in which the girls sing from the viewer’s perspective. Under neon lights and circling motions of a roller skate rink, DIA wows the public too.
Overall, if “Woowa” serves as a reintroduction, DIA has left an astounding impression. With its catchy hooks and alluring visuals, the potential for a career-defining hit is undeniable, and the group thrives in their best moment yet.
(Youtube. Images via MBK Entertainment.)