MTV Video Music Awards

Kara Releases 'Bye Bye Happy Days': Will It Be Second Japan Hot 100 No. 1?

Kara’s success in Japan is unprecedented for K-pop girl groups. They’ve released successful albums, created their own anime show and were the first Korean female act to play Japan's famous Tokyo Dome. Interestingly enough, though, it wasn’t until fall 2012 with single “Electric Boy,” that Kara had earned a Japan Hot 100 No. 1 despite those like Girls’ Generation and T-ara had all done so before them. But the fivesome is hoping to ignite a streak of No. 1s with latest single “Bye Bye Happy Days,” released today in Japan.

For Japan, Kara typically vies for a cuter image and bring a sexier image for South Korean music (they were almost censored for revealing their shoulders in promotions for "Pandora"). This has always been questionable as sweet concepts filled with innocent charms are very popular in Korea. 

Despite its depressing title, “Bye Bye Happy Days” is tooth achingly sweet. The song begins with a group cheer before twinkling synths and a four-on-the-floor dance beat. Kara sing the lyrics in a baby-like delivery, which is a bit off-putting at first listen. But after a second take, it becomes clear this is one irresistible slab of synthy J-pop. 

The music video depicts the girls as dancing schoolgirls in bright, pastel colors while competing for the attention of their handsome love interests. Despite their youngest member being 19, Kara looks absolutely adolescent with child-like dance moves and mannerisms. There is clear dedication to the cute concept here and Kara pull it off to a tee.

Their last single, “Electric Boy,” which reached No. 1 on the Japan Hot 100 on the November 3, 2012 chart portrayed a very different image. The song was a catchy slice of electro-pop with the girls looking like a girl group of the future.

With their latest accolades, plus a No. 1 already under their belt, will Kara snatch another No. 1 for K-pop again? Check back next Thursday when the Japan Hot 100, as well as all the other Billboard charts, are refreshed.