T-ara are currently a four member girl group that debuted in 2009 under MBK Entertainment. This group have gone through so many member changes, and have been surrounded by controversy for a long time. The most recent member change happened very suddenly and almost directly before their latest comeback, with members Boram and Soyeon not joining them. From allegations of bullying that almost destroyed the group in 2012, to more recent comments made by their agency relating to the other members leaving the group, T-ara have tried to weather it all. They were one of the first groups to really expand their promotions outside of Korea and they are possibly the most successful kpop group in China; being the only group exempt from the Chinese Government’s Korean entertainment ban. Slowly, but surely, the group are regaining the popularity they had domestically, and their recent music show win (their first in 5 years) is certainly testament to that.

If you want to read more about the various controversies plaguing this group, I would recommend using Asian Junkie’s excellent rundown. 

What’s My Name?

Song

The first thing that is noticeable about this song is the upbeat, tropical house vibe that infuses the song. It states “summer” in a way that other beats cannot, and instantly puts you into a different mindframe. However, this is all a lie. Whilst the song sounds upbeat and buoyant, the lyrics tell a very different story.

The lyrics focus on the members’ deep unhappiness in their current relationship. They are sick and tired of it, and their partners same mistakes. Nothing ever changes and they are never surprised about how it turns out anymore. There is great apathy in this song. The members’ are tired of their relationship but don’t know how to change it, or even if they want to. They speak about how even if they told their partner, he still wouldn’t do anything. They are sad and frustrated, but they don’t want his pity, and they certainly don’t need to be comforted by him. The members became weary of being constantly defined by their relationship with, and to, him, and were never seen as a person by their partner. The question in the title of the song is almost a tease, a test, for their partner. Does he know her name? Does he know who she is, without him?  The members are saying that he does not, and that’s what irritates them.


I love the lyrics in this song. They are sad, frustrated, and jaded all at the same time. But the members’ voices bring them to a whole new level. Their voices work so well with this type of hook-heavy music (something totally familiar to T-ara and their discography). They all sound beautiful but Hyomin really stands out to me in this. I find myself coming back time and time again to listen to her parts.

Video

This video has one overarching theme that is present throughout, and that’s the message of 6 becoming 4. Whether it’s bottles, pencils, flowers or desks, the symbolism is everywhere. Of course, this mirrors the two members leaving before the comeback, but given the circumstances, and the lack of clarity from the agency, I’m forced to consider the possibility that perhaps they didn’t leave voluntarily, and the four remaining members must have had a hard time shooting this video.


The video, otherwise, is beautiful. The members look stunning, and are only shown being happy when they reunite at the end. Prior to the reunion, the video is very serious, very muted. There are shots of nature, that are some of my favourite nature shots I’ve seen in a video like this. There is no dance routine, nothing upbeat at all, it’s all very serious, and matches the tone of the lyrics really nicely.


We are shown the members’ coming across various different innocuous items, that remind them of their painful relationship, such as a toothbrush, or a photograph. They are always small, and always personal. It’s a small way to show how intimate this relationship is, or was, and how the members’ feel about it now.

Summary

Definitely my favourite upbeat, yet sad, song of the summer to date! T-ara look amazing, sound incredible, and I’m so glad they are back, even if they are two members down.

For more T-ara, I would recommend “I’m Really Hurt”, “Roly Poly”, “No.9”, and the absolutely iconic “Lovey Dovey”.