Dal Shabet is one of those groups that have somehow managed to leave me unimpressed with every comeback, so I have to admit I approached this album skeptically — don’t stop reading yet, darling (pun totally intended), because Dal Shabet’s first full-length album has flaws, but I was also positively surprised by its virtues.
Bang Bang opens with “ENTER Dal★Shabet,” that has some nice instrumentation there and also reminded me their previous title tracks — I wish I could forget “Bling Bling” again, though. Interestingly enough, the intro links to the next song, “Come To Me,” which starts with a quite annoying rap (I’ll talk about this later, but the raps are not exactly a strong point in Dal Shabet’s music) but is actually quite funky and enjoyable. It has a twist-y vibe without being really retro, and although I feel Nassun is underexploited here, it was a nice surprise to find so many rappers featured in the album. The song ends up being too repetitive, which is also one of the most usual flaws in the album in general.
The next song, “Mr. Bang Bang,” is the album’s title track. It’s not my favorite one, but I guess it has what it takes to be a title track, since it’s stupidly catchy. The speaking at the beginning is just extremely irritating, but the girls sound pretty good thanks to keeping autotune under control, so you can more or less easily tell the girls apart (do I really have to point this out as a virtue? Well, nowadays apparently yes).
Talking about autotune, “Girl Girl Girls” is exactly the proof of how it shouldn’t be used. The autotune is just all over the place and does little good to the girls’ voices and the song itself. Makustle‘s rap is quite good, but the rest of the song doesn’t quite fit and the chorus is plain. “Disco Time” sounds like a sequel to T-ara‘s “Roly Poly” in all the ways — not only the style, but the production that kills their voices making all of them sound the same. But I see what they’re trying to do there, and I appreciate their effort in finding their place in the disco sounds.
“Love Shake” sounds like an anime’s OST, so if they are seriously going to debut in Japan in a near future, they should consider promoting this song (of course nobody will listen to me and they will probably promote a poorly translated version of “Supa Dupa Diva”). The J-pop aspect of the song works quite well, but seriously, what’s wrong with Dal Shabet’s lyricists? The amount of times they repeat the word “Shake” is not even cute, just dull. It wouldn’t be that bad if 80% of the songs of this album didn’t have the same problem. Seriously Happy Face Entertainment, invest in some good lyricists for the next album.
Next comes a ballad, “Without You I…,” which instantly became one of my favorites. I’m usually not much into K-pop ballads, but maybe that’s why I like this one; it starts as your typical (boring) ballad, and then the percussion and the synths come and the song becomes something I wasn’t expecting at all. The lyrics in the chorus could use some work (again), but the song overall is still fairly good.
Their previously released single “Hit U” comes next. “Hit U” is arguably their best promoted song to date (including “Mr. Bang Bang”); you can really appreciate the different tonalities in the members voices. Serri has a light tendency to scream some parts, but nothing too serious. There are also some problems with the rap, and since Viki was the rapper then, I’m gonna be pretty rough and say that they aren’t really missing anything with her leave, talent wise at least. The raps in Dal Shabet’s songs usually come out awkward, so the addition of another vocalist is actually more useful in relation to their music.
The next two songs in the album are also previously released tracks, specifically their first two singles. “Supa Dupa Diva” and “Pink Rocket” are basically the main reasons I wasn’t interested in Dal Shabet before (“Bling Bling” comes later, don’t worry). The instrumentation in “Supa Dupa Diva” is fine, but the lyrics are incredibly dull — ok, it was called “Supa Dupa Diva”, what was I expecting. Besides, half of the song the girls aren’t even singing, but something warbling and whining. “Pink Rocket” sounds too plain to be a title track, but is still better than “Supa Dupa Diva”.
“Many Boys” is the typical filler track and I’m not starting with the lyrics because we have already discussed this topic (but seriously, “Many boys, I got so many many more”??). Next is “Bling Bling”, and I don’t know what I find more annoying, if the whining or just the mental image I get from their stage outfits. Ok, it’s the whining. And maybe the weird voice saying “bling bling disco” at the end of the chorus.
Fortunately after “Bling Bling” we get a pretty decent song to close the album. “Mirror” is a dance track that I could picture being played in a club even in my geographical area (not close to Korea, if you ask); it’s a breath of fresh air after so much ‘retro-funky’ and a good ending to the album.
So what works in this album? Well, there’s a consistency that sometimes is forgotten by idol groups — out of the 14 tracks, none of them sticks out as being out of place, there is a stylistic continuity along the whole album which is highly appreciated. This being said, there is as usual a certain amount of filler tracks which are too similar between themselves and don’t really stand out. There’s a thin line between having a style and repeating yourself, so songs that offer something different such as “Without You I…” and “Mirror” work better.
Dal Shabet is definitely going for the funky disco concept, and while I appreciate their attempt of finding their own place among the girl groups and that they are somewhere in between cute and sexy, they still have to work it out a bit more. It’s a pity that they chose “Mr. Bang Bang” as the title track and fell into the ‘cowboy’ cliché — I thought they had already overcame that stage with “Hit U”.
Album rating: 3.5 out of 5
(Happy Face Entertainment, Vogue Girl, babashh)