AlphaBAT are a 9 member K-Pop boy group that debuted in 2013 under Simtong Entertainment. They have a quite pop/hip-hop flavour within their music. To date, they have released four singles and one mini album (entitled ‘ATTENTION’). Each member has a stage name that sits in alphabetical order (or should that be alphaBATical order? Hehe – sorry).
The members are made up of B:eta, C:ode, D:elta, E:psilon, F:ie, G:amma, H:eta, I:ota and J:eta – all of these names are actually letters from the Greek alphabet, which gives the group an interesting and quite unique edge.
For this single review, we will be focusing on their latest offering released earlier this month (as part of their mini album) – “Ddan Dda La”
The concept for this single immediately reminded me of B.A.P’s debut ‘Warrior’, simply because the set is fairly similar. We see chain fences, metal barrels on fire and piles of tyres – all communicating a very masculine feel. The members dance in an abandoned warehouse (a staple of the K-Pop industry) and all wear black and have dark hair colours apart from I:ota who has kept his peroxide blonde.
All of the members are armed with truncheons, which is another signifier of masculinity and power. It is certainly an accessory that sticks in your mind and it provides an unusual piece to incorporate into the choreography.
In short, the concept is very dark and tough. It is not the most adventurous of paths to go down, but it is almost a rite of passage for most male K-Pop groups with a tough concept.
The choreography for this song is not as ‘stompy’ as one might expect given the masculine tones within this concept. However, it uses military marching very well whilst still managing to make it coherent within the rest of the dance. With bigger K-Pop groups, choreography can be a little problematic; you often find one part of the group in the limelight whilst the other members are in the background waiting for their turn. This does happen with AlphaBAT too, but it is a lot less broken up and you feel that the moves were really designed to fit all nine members at once rather than just a few at a time.
There is a particular move where the boys spin the truncheons as they march, which is a really enjoyable part (and the obvious thing that everyone with a truncheon should do!) Having said this though, I don’t think that this choreography transfers over well to the fans as such; there is not really a specific and simple part that many can easily imitate – unless you have a truncheon lying around, that is!
A K-Pop group that wants to affiliate even in the slightest with the hip-hop genre must have members with good rapping skills and AlphaBAT certainly has this. Of course, many K-Pop groups contrast these rap parts with powerful vocals and you can also see this with AlphaBAT. However, one can tell that the vocals within this group are particularly strong and that they really cut through all of the other audio. The group’s vocals are also quite distinguished and unique; they might prove a bit too much for some listeners as they all seem to operate at a fairly high register, but the talent is definitely there.
Unsurprisingly, the chorus is an incredibly catchy part of this song. The repetition of “Ddan Dda la la la la la…” is very tuneful and will probably be a part that you will catch yourself singing way after listening to the song.
I REALLY like the spinning truncheon dance move, it is so cool!
Overall UK Potential – 3/5
This is a good song that showcases all of the members’ talents, but I personally feel that the concept is too tame and – dare I say – boring to make a real impact on the UK scene. That is not to say that every concept in UK music is interesting, but rather that the ‘Ddan Dda La’concept probably won’t be enough to grab non-K-Pop fans’ attention.
I think that AlphaBAT’s obvious talent and the cool, catchy nature of this song means that it might be a really good track to show a UK friend that doesn’t usually like K-Pop. However, the few ‘Engrish’ lines and the slightly unoriginal concept might hold it back from widespread UK success.
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