K-Pop Music Reviews: Dal★Shabet – Supa Dupa Diva

Title: Supa Dupa Diva

Release Year: 2011

It’s only 4 months in, and 2011 has already seen the debuts of more than a hundred new girl groups. (Okay, that’s probably a slight exaggeration.) It seem as though a new group is debuting every week – which brings up a lot of questions, mostly having to do with, “How much more can the market take before it becomes oversaturated?” Some people say that it has already become oversaturated, evidenced by the fact that even though we’ve seen tons of new groups over the past year (2010 also saw a horrendous amount of new debut groups), the most popular groups remain largely the same. Of course, there are exceptions – Sistar, Girls Day, Miss A, among others that managed to break from the pack and establish a solid foundation in the cutthroat industry – but on the whole, market stagnation is something that’s very real in the K-pop world.

Just 4 days into the new year, the first new debut group came onstage – named Dal★Shabet, their first debut single was entitled “Supa Dupa Diva”.

Dal★Shabet (yes, the star is part of their name!) consists of six members: Vicky, Serri, Ahyoung, Jiyul, Ga-eun, and Subin. Personally, I deplore how more and more idols take on English names, but that’s another topic for another day.

When Dal★Shabet was first announced at the tail end of 2010, there was one thing that set them apart from the rest of the pack: it was announced that Dal★Shabet had been the brainchild of E-TRIBE.

Who is E-TRIBE?

E-TRIBE is, perhaps, the most well-known composing duo in the Korean music scene. They’ve composed several hit songs, such as T-ARA’s “Yayaya” and SNSD’s “Gee“, along with many other popular tracks. So when the word got out that E-TRIBE was producing a new debut girl group – well, let’s just say there hadn’t been as much excitement over a debut group since…hell, never.

So did Dal★Shabet measure up to the hype?

The “cute concept” is something that has been sent through the wringing machine one too many times – it seems as though if every single girl group in the world attempts it at least once, and usually twice. Cute concepts generally consist of bubblegum music, short skirts, colorful lights, and dancing that consist mainly of swinging their butts around as though their lives depended on it.

And it had already been beaten to death by the time Dal★Shabet rolled around – and guess what? Their debut single was a cute concept. Surprise, surprise.

In all honesty, “Supa Dupa Diva” is an above-average song. Even though there’s this part at the back of your mind that just knows you’ve heard this tune before, it keeps it fresh by utilizing bombastic, big-band tunes that spruce up the tired concept – along with a thumping bass drum, to boot. In fact, the bass beat is so loud that it actually masks some of the voices of the singers themselves. I’m not sure whether that was intentional or not, but in any case, it’s catchy.

However, there’s precious little in this song that makes Dal★Shabet stand out in any way – it’s just your simple, middle-of-the-road, safe debut single. But it can be said that at least they didn’t fail by overstepping their boundaries; I suppose it’s a good thing they didn’t try to go beyond their capacities, and stuck with a safe debut song that could also showcase their vocal skills – which, by the way, aren’t the worst I’ve heard. It kind of saddens me that I even have to listen to whether they can actually sing or not – you’d think that a singing group should be able to sing, but judging by some of the other groups that have debuted this year, apparently the industry executives don’t have the same mindset.

In any case, Dal★Shabet was successful enough that they’re coming out with a second mini-album later this year. It’ll be interesting to see where they go, now that they’ve established their footing – which is something in itself that they should be congratulated for. They managed to get people’s attention – now, the question is: can they hold it?

3 out of 5 stars.



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