After writing about so many boy groups lately, it's time to do a review on a girl group! While they haven't been around for a long time, Dal Shabet has become a pretty popular K-Pop group. There are roughly two kinds of girl group in Korea, the cute bubbly and odd types, and the more brash and tough ones, which are also creative in their own way. Obviously, each group is unique and has their own distinct style, but I still see two categories in general (And some bands switch between the two, but are still either bubbly or touch when it comes down to it). Dal Shabet falls into the bright and happy category, with music that sounds like a mix of Disco and '90s Pop, with a modern K-Pop twist. Though it's not the kind of music I usually talk about, I do listen to it and enjoy it. They recently released yet another album, so onto the review!
Dal Shabet's 5th Mini Album ItGi EopGI/있기 없기, released November 13th 2012!
Dal Shabet debuted January 3rd 2011 with Supa Dupa Diva, and though their music has been in the same style, there have been some changes. The number of members has stayed the same, but they have changed out their members since their debut. The original leader of the group, Viki/Kang Eun Hye left the group in May 2012 before their comeback in June. Woohee/Bae Woohee took over the position of singer and rapper in the group, she was a trainee for a different band and ended up in Dal Shabet instead, and was born in 1991. Serri/Park Miyeon became the new leader of the group when Viki left, she is a vocalist, and was born in 1990. The other vocalists include Jiyul/Yang Jung Yoon, born in 1991, Ahyoung/Cho Ja Young, also born in 1991, and Gaeun/Cho Ga Eun, born in 1992. The final member and singer is the Maknae, Subin/Park Subin, born in 1994! Dal Shabet is under the Label Happy Face Records, which fits their style perfectly! They have released several albums, and even a Christmas video named "Christmas Time", and have kept that same "sparkle" throughout all of them. Their new album, Have Don't Have, is short but great, and I love the bright album art for the cover, and the outer space feeling of it! Time to talk about the songs!
- For Darling (샤르르)
At first you think that this is simply going to be a love song, but it is more than that. The official fan group name for Dal Shabet is "Darling", which gives the song another meaning, like a dedication song to their fans, similar to Younha's Hope. This song really sounds like a '90s pop ballad, which is a great throwback for us '90s kids! I love the fast, run-like, "do-do-do-do" part in the song, right before the Bridge and throughout the song, as well as the long song for the ending of the Bridge. While it sounds like a older Pop song, it also has a classic K-Drama Soundtrack feel to it. It's really sweet with the English parts of "Darling, won't you be my love forever?" which sounds very sincere, and also the angle that they can also be saying "Will you always be our fan?". I hope that's what they meant to do, because I found it very creative to have a double meaning song like this. They also released a relaxed and cute studio and lifestyle type of Music Video for the song, which you can find Here!
- Have Don't Have (있기 없기)
The title song of their album is also the song that they have two music videos based off of. There is a "Have" version, as well as a "Don't Have" version. Both of them are hilarious and cute, I think that you are bound to smile while watching either one. The "Have" Version MV has them coming out of a space craft and shooting lightning out of their fingers and eyes that cause people to spontaneously break dance, almost like robots with the kind of "skipping" motion. It's complete with the cheesy super hero sound effect bubbles throughout the video as well, making for a fun and classic K-Pop MV to watch! The "Don't Have" Version MV has two men in all white in the video (From Superstar K4 and Double K's MV for the MAMA Awards), that are kind of like their roadies, and is set in a supermarket instead. They dance and play around the store, while the almost emotionless costumers and employees pretty much ignore them or act like it's nothing, which adds a different kind of comedic element to the video, different from the other where people are running away from them. Both of them are great, and well worth the time to watch.
The song itself is addictive! I found myself singing and humming "Itgi Eopti" all the time after only hearing it once! They did a great job with making a chorus that people are able to sing along with, and also dance to. I love that their Disco style of music come through with the "Ooah, ooah!" parts that make me think of the '70s. It just makes you want to dance out in cheesy dancing wherever you are when it comes on. The meaning of the song can also be "Do do or not to do" and also "Are you going to (do it) or not?", though the literal translation is different. The song is talking to a boy and asking is he's going to do this or not, the "this" being a relationship, pretty much. The beginning of the song asks is he's from outer space or something, which makes the first MV make more sense. It's almost like the lyrics talk about a guy teasing the girl, he looks at her and smiles, and she is instantly drawn to him, but she wants to know if he's going to take the next step or not because it's driving her crazy! (That's how I see it at least). Besides the lyrics, it's catchy and I can imagine it being the song that brings life to a party when it's played.
- Don't Touch (유리인형)
The retro space craft sounds at the beginning of the song are really cool, and seem to continue the "Space Disco" theme of the album. The way they have the effects voice say their group name at the beginning was a good idea, and they continue with the effects for the voices and singing throughout the song. I usually am not a big fan of effects or auto tune, but when it's done for creativity like in this song I actually like it and think that it suits the music and opening of the song well. The English parts of "I'm very fragile, don't touch." were great, and the way they added "Break" in English to the song. I also really love the skipping in the song, when they repeat the word "Don't" for don't touch, and the other parts in the song as well. This song focuses more on being artsy and creative with the track, and not so much the lyrics or the singing of the girls. I think it's fun to have a song like this in the album, and while this kind of song can be done badly, they did a great job with it. I find myself wanting to listen to it again and again, because it has the same addictive quality that their other songs do.
- Falling in Love
The album pretty much ends with this softer song, bringing it to a light close. I love the addition of snaps for the song, they sounded great with the slow verse, and were placed at all the right times. This song also reminds me of '90s songs that I used to listen to, with the same Korean Dal Shabet twist to it. It's pretty obvious what the song is about, with the "I love you, I'm falling in love" parts in it. The slow Bridge was great, and I love that deeper vocal range in it. Their harmonies in the song were also done really well, and I love that part near the ending when one member holds the note, while another sings the Chorus, and the rest are harmonizing in the background. The layering that they achieved in the song added a lot of dimension to it. It has that kind of delicate sound as well as the upbeat feeling to it, that shows the emotions of falling in love perfectly, the balance between being shy and also being excited and overwhelmed. It's a great song to put in the album, and I like it a lot.
The album technically has two more tracks on it, both are Have Don't Have versions. There's the Electro Swing Remix and Instrumental of Have Don't Have to "really" end the album, but I personally consider them to be more of extra or bonus tracks. The remix shows off a different side of the title song, with some more effects added, and slight changed throughout the song. The instrumental allows you to hear and appreciate the music on it's own, which is also really fun because you can hear all of the brass section sounds and instruments of it.
That's the album! It's a fun, Disco-'90s throwback, album that's really bright and playful. While it's not everyones cup of tea, I think that it's worth hearing and forming your own opinion on. I find it hard to resist the music of Dal Shabet, no matter what you Genre bias is. This is the kind of album I would keep on hand for a bad day, something that could cheer me up instantly! Their music style is reminiscent of T-Ara, but they really have their own way of doing things that distinctly Dal Shabet, making them stand out in a world filled with K-Pop stars. You can buy the physical album Here for about $15 plus dollars with shipping, or somewhere else if you prefer. Currently it is not available on iTunes or Amazon to buy digitally, but hopefully it will be in the future. So check this album out when you can, and let me know what you thought of it!
See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,