Friday, January 29th, 2016

Dal Shabet – Someone Like U

And Josh mentions Exposé’s most obscure top ten.


Mo Kim: Mirrors “I Feel You” in several ways: the ’80s throwback concept for an aging Korean girl group, the title, the way the first four measures of each take time to announce themselves. But where “I Feel You” reveled in the smooth, sensual pleasure of desire, “Someone Like U” oozes with a joyful contempt instead, from the tongue-in-cheek name-drop of Brave Sound to Rap Kween $erri’s squawk of “HEY GO-MEET SOMEONE STUPID LIKE YOU.” The cowbell has no qualms about announcing itself; the horns sound like they’re being blasted out of a cereal box; the vocals move from chanting the chorus in a stadium-ready middle eight to slinking across the dance floor in the final moments, tossed off rhythmically but a little pitched, as if you’re yelling across the room to your friend about how little you care about it all. It’s all a bit garish, a bit oversaturated, but catchy as hell and in my early running for “best songs of 2016 to walk to in a huffy-puffy manner.”

Madeleine Lee: The elements are great: the use of the “Think (About It)” break for the intro, the little horn and vocal riffs scattered throughout, and of course that chorus — which is the only part of this song that I can reliably summon up from memory, and the rest of it turns into “I Feel You.” I don’t know what it is that makes these great sounds evaporate when they’re not directly in my ears, if it’s the flatness of the non-chorus melodies or the sheen that Brave Brothers puts over everything blending it out, but given the general enthusiasm I’ve seen this song receive otherwise, I’m willing to say the problem is me.

Jessica Doyle: That first verse is terrific. The last 45 seconds or so, when the singers drop back to ooh-ing and aah-ing us out, is catnip to those of us whose impressionable minds were too firmly molded by horns back in the actual 1980s. The middle is where the overstuffed cake collapses on itself. (Make the second verse either fast and squeaky or conventional, but not both; and if you’re going to give Subin half the chorus, make it the first half and let her build up; coming in at top speed following Woohee, she sounds strained.) Blame Brave Brothers, and bless Dal*Shabet: they don’t have the name recognition or Big-3 backing of Wonder Girls, but this has three times the energy of “I Feel You,” the substance where the earlier pastiche just offered form.

Cassy Gress: One of the best late ’80s pastiches in a while and a surprisingly vicious kiss-off song. Serri’s rap is sharp as hell; the male voice doubling hers lurks menacingly.  And her voice just explodes on “ije jinjeoriga na! I don’t freakin’ need you, ni geojinmare soreumi na!” I almost feel bad for whatever I did to piss her off.

Josh Langhoff: One Saturday morning, shortly after I’d started listening to current pop radio, Shadoe Stevens played Exposé’s “Tell Me Why” on his countdown and everything about it — the collisions of all those voices and synth lines and thwap! beats in syncopated patterns, locking and unlocking, daring me to guess their next moves, thrilling me when I guessed wrong — took over my body and sent me bounding across my bedroom. I know this couldn’t have physically happened, but I have a clear memory of running up my wall and sticking out from it, all perpendicular-like. This song is like that song. Only faster.

Alfred Soto: Many times in the last decade I’ve resisted eighties sounds because I don’t wanna be Jann Wenner with his beloved sixties. The horn and beat syncopation sure is punchy in that 1987 freestyle-influenced way, no question, but unrelenting too: it never lands.

Anthony Easton: This moves quickly; even the spaces that are supposed to be rests are unrelenting. Ending with a cymbal crash is punctuation to a specific, ordered excess. 

Thomas Inskeep: Cover Girls divided by JJ Fad equals further evidence that K-pop is killing it right now. Max Martin ain’t got nothin’ on this.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: The similarities between this and anything on REBOOT are enough for me to realize how much ahead of the game the Wonder Girls are. Still, the unusual vocal harmonies (particularly, the processed, slightly dissonant voices in the pre-chorus and the low-key male voice accents) are splendid, and the synth-brass lines are nice (although i still believe real brass would work much better here). Other than that, “Someone Like U” doesn’t offer much, but that semi-rap at the beginning of the second verse will get this one an extra point. It was quite a pleasant surprise. 

Brad Shoup: Disney party disco, with the whiny rises and pitched-down vocals of current chart pop. Can’t say the latter would ever improve on the former.

Micha Cavaseno: When the Amen Break kicks in at the beginning, I’m not necessarily prepared for Debbie Gibson bops. Nonetheless, the production here by Brave Brothers (a crew whose work on singles I’ve never been fond of save for Sistar’s “Ma Boy“) is consistently leaving little earworms, whether cowbells, drum breaks or cavernous backing vocals. A straightforward track, notable for the retro-feel and the persistent energy, but in being so streamlined Dal Shabet manage to have a significantly solid pop roller that holds more than a few surprises.

Reader average: [8.5] (6 votes)

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9 Responses to “Dal Shabet – Someone Like U”

  1. i’m so glad Cassy shouted out “I don’t freakin’ need you.” Serri ha impact

  2. same! I wish I had.

    (and I worry that those of us who made the comparison to “I Feel You” are being lazy; was “I Feel You” more freestyle? My freestyle-dar is awful. but there’s some space between the two songs that we’re not pinpointing well. at least I’m not.)

  3. Couldn’t figure out how to say I liked this in time, but it’s a [7] verging on [8]

  4. My music-listening brain is very lazy and doesn’t know how to define freestyle so that’s possible.

  5. I just realized what this reminds of. It’s a cross between Debbie Gibson’s Shake Your Love and the 1990s Always Coca-Cola jingle.

  6. Reminds me of Alphabeat, mostly.

  7. I am astonished that there’s a dozen people here referencing several Freestyle groups here at once besides me because <3 and I also was struggling to hear it after that? I don't know but I'm not mad at that? I would def. argue its much closer to "I Feel You" which is definitively NOT Freestyle.

  8. As usual Wonder Girls get entirely too much credit. I Feel You was flat and lacked harmony, this song has more life.

  9. whoa this song rules