Aaaand I’m back! I know the bulk of you come here to get my take on K-pop releases so you’ll have to forgive my exultation – I’m officially finished with higher education. As MBLAQ would say, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!”
Dalmatian‘s first mini-album has been out for quite some time but I’ve been working on this review and it’s a shame not to use it, especially given how much I lalalalove the album. Seriously, if you weren’t on the Dalmatian train since Round One (and honestly, I would not blame you if you weren’t), you better be now because this album is awesome.
1. Lover Cop – I love how energetic and playful it is, and I love how well they executed the Robocop concept – especially the little electronic beeping noises in the backing track; it does remind me a lot of robots. I don’t even mind the autotune because it fits with what they’re going for – but I don’t love the song, if that makes sense. It’s not bad at all, but I prefer their other stuff.
2. The Man Opposed – How cute does Dayday look in this MV really? I like it when short guys don’t let their shortness get in the way of their swag. This song has been stuck in my head since it was released; it’s cute enough to appeal to the typical idol’s demographic but at the same time, it doesn’t scrimp on the talent. I think the track is really well-produced. I love Daniel’s glory note in the beginning and the little ad-libs Jisu does in the final chorus, and the raps that Dayday, Dari and Inati do don’t feel out of place or forced. What I probably love the most from this song is the mood: it’s got some real wistfulness in it, which I think isn’t something you hear a lot in K-pop.
3. Lost in Love – Jisu’s falsetto has the potential to be really, really annoying if overused and I think the producers recognized this, which is why they mixed it with Young Won and Daniel’s lower registers. Personally, I think this song should’ve been promoted over Lover Cop. It’s nothing ground-breaking but all of the elements used in the song just works.
4. Really Really (ft. Sohyun) – Dari sounds really, really (pun intended) good in his verse, which is saying something because I didn’t really like his flow in Round One. The instrumental is really good and piano bits are really subtle but it lends a little sweetness to this otherwise ordinary mid-tempo R&B track.
5. Real Eyes – As soon as I heard the opening notes, I knew that I was going to fall in love with this song. If they don’t perform it live, I will be sorely disappointed. The melody is gorgeous, especially with the bass undertone and Daniel sounds absolutely delicious in this. Jisu has amazing control over his falsettos but Daniel just has this really rich, luscious voice that I prefer over higher registers. On the other hand, Young Won manages to hold his own against the two more distinct tones. Of course, you can’t not talk about the harmonies; the mix of the three vocalists is just pure gold.
6. Home Run – And we’re back to the fun. I’m not wild about this song but it is pretty catchy. I could do without the autotune though.
7. Round One – I don’t care what anybody says, I thought this was a good song the first time around and still a pretty good song now. Of course, it’s pretty weak compared to the other stuff on this album but this to me is representative of what Dalmatian is: They’re a group of really talented guys (do not tell me that you didn’t love Dayday’s verses because man, that guy is SICK) who don’t take themselves too seriously and who aren’t afraid to get a little ridiculous. Kind of like MC Mong himself but without the draft dodging (hopefully).
General Comments: If there’s anything I appreciate about this group, it’s that they mix really, really well. With three genuinely talented rappers in the group, it would be easy to just shove raps in all the songs for the sake of having everyone do something but there’s a recognition of the fact that a) there are three talented vocalists in the group who also need to shine, and b) not every song needs to have a rap. I like that Real Eyes was a song that was purely vocals based because before anything else, I like it when singers just get together and sing. No fuss, no complications, just the simple combination of a great beat, a great melody and great voices to tie it all together.
On the other hand, I appreciate Really Really because you really see the level of skill that most idols don’t really have. You can tell that Dayday, Inati and Dari really GET IT. Dayday worked on I think all of the tracks and they wrote their own raps. I don’t know if the line at 1.43 (shorty meoributeo balkkeutkkaji sexy swag~) was a nod to Sohyun and 4Minute‘s Hot Issue, but whether or not it was intentional, I caught it right away despite not knowing the Korean language. Little nuances like this is what makes songs fun for me.
The album isn’t particularly innovative, in the sense that it introduces something completely new to the K-pop scene but I tend to put intelligence over innovation and with the obvious exception of Home Run (I’m convinced that someone was drunk when they made this song and they decided to stick it in anyway just for the shits and giggles) this album is really intelligently put together. It plays to the boys’ strengths and establishes their identity as those really cool guys in K-pop who know they’re talented but don’t feel the need to rent a skywriter to let everybody know. They let the music do it for them, which is a far more effective means of getting the message across.
4.5/5 for me!