[#41] KARA - "둘 중에 하나" (Runaway)

From: "Full Bloom"
Released: September
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2009: "몰래몰래" / 2010: [#22] "Lupin" and [#20] "Jumping" / 2011: [#35] "STEP" and [#33] "Jet Coaster Love" / 2012: [#20] "Pandora"
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Damaged Lady", "2nite", "Follow Me"

Kara is another group who has reaped the benefits of Sweetune productions, if all their previous Best Of entries are any indication. Which is why I was not only surprised to hear "Runaway", but pleasantly so because "Runaway" is easily one of the best Kara songs I've ever heard, even if it's so un-them.

I was surprised first because this isn't the usual fun, super-processed Kara song -- it's the exact opposite. The minimal processing on the vocals, the sharp guitar and real, raw drum line, it's like they made a complete 360 from their usual choices. I was also surprised because of how well those elements were put together, from the arrangement, to the production. The drum rolls are so pretty, and even if all the instruments are "quiet" per se, they mesh together really well and present a solid front. It's a song with dynamics, with these little interesting, ear-catching explosions all over the place -- there is depth to this song, and the pretty kind.

But what surprised me the most was the fact that the girls carried everything so well. Kara aren't exactly known for their vocal prowess or strength on stage (I tried watching a live DVD of theirs and I had to stop 2 songs in because they have next to no stage presence), so to hear them pull this off, and pull this off well, was the most pleasant surprise of all. More so because this isn't the simplest melody to pull off, it has complexity and pushes their vocals to a certain extent. And to a certain extent their vocals work because of the production -- the chorus is multi-tracked, because there is definitely strength in numbers. But at the same time they don't give off the impression that the vocals were processed just to hide flaws. The aesthetic value of a treatment like that is very much obvious -- it's the chorus, that's where everything is pulled together, so it makes sense to pull together the vocals as well.


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