Girl group T-ara has shifted their focus to Japan after a controversial 2012 in home country Korea. The group is releasing their first original single for Japan with “Bunny Style!”
Before this single, T-ara had only translated their Korean hits for the Japanese market. Initial excitement over T-ara’s Japanese advancement was felt when their debut single, “Bo Peep Bo Peep,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.
“Bunny Style!” incorporates a cuddly and cute theme over a techno club beat with aggressive synthesizers that recall Britney Spears’ “3.” T-ara brings their usual repetitive earworm hooks to “Bunny Style!” but it ultimately fails to be nearly as catchy as singles like “Roly Poly” or “Lovey Dovey.” The colorful video shows T-ara’s sweet charms as they chase down a lifesized bunny rabbit while singing in a pool of Legos.
To coincide with their premiere single, the group is crafting a major release plan. The single will come in 10 different singles packages. Each single will include “Bunny Style!” with seven different versions each containing a solo song by each member. The other three singles will include sub-units of the members with the tracks “Sign” by Areum and Soyeon, “Soap Bubbles” by Qri and Boram and “Dangerous Love” by Eunjung, Jiyeon and Hyomin.
The release comes months after T-ara tainted their image after record label, Core Contents Media (CCM), announced member Hwayoung would leave the group. It led to allegations that Hwayoung was the victim of bullying in T-ara after online K-pop fans presented supposed video and photographic evidence that the members were cruel to the group’s rapper. CCM responded to the claims saying Hwayoung’s contract was terminated due her poor treatment of staff members. Neither reports were never confirmed or denied.
Today, Hwayoung has not released music as a solo artist or as part of a group. T-ara’s reputiation still struggles with many of their major endorsements sacked as a result of the controversy. Their post-scandal single “Sexy Love” did peak at No. 3 on the K-Pop Hot 100.
With a fun new single for Japan, along with a major release plan, T-ara looks to build their image overseas and, possibly, bank accounts — as Japan is one of the world’s biggest music markets — before returning to Korea.