When a Korean celebrity gets into trouble, they’ll usually issue an apology, grovel to the public, disappear for a lengthy period of self-reflection, and then spend the rest of their tarnished career having to put up with keyboard warriors dredging up the past at every opportunity Korean netizens never forget (never, ever, ever!), and it’s incredibly difficult for someone to redeem themselves to the public after a scandal.
At the moment, T-ara’s arguably the leader of the pack when it comes to scandalized K-pop idols, attracting the level of online hate that’s usually reserved for criminals and shady politicians. The group’s already tried saying sorry and laying low to no avail, so now they’re trying something different that hasn’t really been done in K-pop before: they’re fighting back.
Currently promoting as a 4-member subunit called T-ara N4, the group’s new single, “Countryside Life,” sees the defamed pop idols telling their detractors to either come and party with them, or to just shut up and stop the hating.
“Why do you care / Oh god,” they sing. “None of your business / Leave me alone / What’s it got to do with you?” Towards the end of the song, all four members uniformly chant: “Why you hating! Why you hating!”
Production wise, “Countryside Life,” is a quirky mish-mash of clubby euro-trash beats and random rap breaks, with an addictive accordion riff and an imitation of a ringing cell phone for a chorus. One version of the song (there’s two) even features some traditional Korean instruments forcefully injected into the mix as a nod to the rural-themed drama series that inspired the song. Like a good LMFAO single (“Party Rock Anthem!”), it’s insanely fun, even if your initial reaction may be to fight it with every fiber of your being upon the first listen.
The music video also comes in two versions. One is a flashy dance party that highlights the song’s breathless choreography, and the other, the “drama version,” sees T-ara playing incompetent farmhands who head into town to compete in a talent show. The latter is hilarious (and it should be — it was directed by the man behind “Gangnam Style”) with hammy humor, a slew of celebrity cameos, and just overall PSY-esque wackiness.
The netizens who spent the past year mercilessly trashing T-ara from behind their computers probably won’t like being called out and turned into a complete joke by the disgraced girl group, but for everyone else, “Countryside Life” should definitely hit all the right spots — just like every other T-ara single ever released has.