KARD are a co-ed group, and that is something the KPop world hasn’t seen in a while. But whilst this is interesting, it isn’t enough to capture people’s minds in the way that they have. What has really seen the group blow up, especially on the international stage, is the steady stream of infectious pop tracks that they’ve been releasing. Their debut EP Hola Hola offers the summer island feeling which songs such as WINNER’s Island and SISTAR’s I Swear have also based their success off of. But every song on KARD’s EP has its own distinct taste, offering a variety of other influences, from electronic to reggae.
‘Oh NaNa’ was the song that KARD first showed the world, so it is only appropriate that it is the first song of their EP. Featuring the ‘Hidden KARD’, Youngji, the song is a catchy, feisty opening track and really sets the standard for the rest of the mini-album. Youngji doesn’t appear in any of the other songs, and it’s unclear when we will next hear from the former KARA member.
‘Don’t Recall’ arguably has the most memorable melody of all of the songs on Hola Hola. The synth beat slid between parts of the chorus have made themselves some of the most noticeable melodies of 2017 thus far. It’s an enjoyable track, even if the atmosphere is slightly darker than that of ‘Oh NaNa’.
Without a doubt, this is the darkest song of the six. It packs a heavy punch, but as the last two songs got progressively darker, it doesn’t come as a surprise. B.M. and J.Seph have more of a role on this track, whilst Ji-woo and So-min’s vocals offer a melancholic tone. It’s an interesting angle on the reggaeton sound that is displayed throughout the album.
The track which lends its name to the title of the EP, as well as the single KARD formally debuted with is far more upbeat than its predecessor. It’s a cheerful summer tune, and with that, a bit of an earworm. The reference to the opening song is a clever nod to fans who have taken the time to listen to the entire EP, or to those who have been following the quartet since December 2016. J.Seph and B.M. do well in their deliveries, making the tone of their raps more appropriate for the positive atmosphere of the song.
5.I Can’t Stop
‘I Can’t Stop’ is a re-work of the ZAM song of the same name. It’s probably the weakest song on the mini-album, although it’s an honourable effort. The song features several changes in tone, with the synth sounds adding in more dimension. What makes the song interesting is that it has been re-written and modernised, suggesting that KARD are capable of more than just covering songs from their DSP Media label-mates.
6.Living Good (Special thanks to)
This thank-you song is an ideal EP closer, and demonstrates the group’s song writing ability. Although the lyrics are very repetitive, it’s an earnest and respectable effort. The melody has a strong hip-hop influence, with the gang vocals offering some edge. It’s clearly not a single, but the title clearly suggests that it isn’t meant to be.
It’s a nice introductory collection of tracks, and really leaves the door open as to what they will do next. If this is the debut, their future is indeed promising.