This is the release for anyone wanting to get their Musical feet wet in the Great Lake that is K-Pop music, for anyone who listened to Gangnam Style and thought: "wait a second, this chorus is actually pretty damn good." Maybe there's something to this K-Pop stuff, but there's so much of it. Where do I start?
Well, my friends, look no further than girl group Kara's EP release, Step. Accessible, well-written, dynamic, and diverse enough to be interesting after many listens. They bring it all to the table with this one, creating a stylish and sexy release which crushes the typical cutesy girl group image of many K-Pop acts and displays a competency in songwriting and performance.
Melody reigns supreme on this EP, and we are rewarded one stellar melody after the other, from the jaw-dropping first synth line in "Ride" to the beautifully sustained "ooohs" over the chorus in "Follow Me." There's enough ear candy here to give your ears some deep cavities, for sure, but while every melody and section of each song proves to be more than catchy, the choruses here really bring it home. Every track displays an utterly tremendous chorus, rife with bombastic, powerful vocal melodies and energetic and infectious electronic melodies. Indeed, throughout the entire EP, both vocal and electronic melodies intertwine in powerful, infectious ways, from the hard-driving "Ride" and "Step" to the sweeter "Strawberry."
The real victory here is the incredibly competent songwriting from the spectacular, soaring melody lines, yes, but also from the interesting sections peppered in and structured to make the songs more interesting lending themselves to a more diverse and engaging listening experience, such as the brief rap in "Follow Me," the melodic guitar parts in "Step," and the spastic, energetic rhythms in "Strawberry."
On Step, Kara proves themselves to be heavyweights in the increasingly crowded K-Pop world. With an arsenal of undeniably infectious electronics and powerful individual vocal performances, Kara creates an EP capable of entrenching any newcomer deep into the genre and becoming any music elitist's newest guilty pleasure.