DIA -- Happy Ending
1. Happy Ending
2. On the Road
4. Waiting for You (Yebin solo)
5. I'll Remember (Eunchae solo)
6. Waiting for You (DIA)
7. On the Road (Inst.)
MBK's rookie girl group, DIA, returned with their second album exactly nine months following their first studio album 'Do It Amazing.'
I won't beat around the bush here; for the group's sophomore album, the quality was disappointingly sophomoric.
The tracks were mostly forgettable, providing nothing new in sound or concept. The girl-next-door, innocent, little-sister-that-you-want-to-protect image is so very very mundane and ho hum in the current K-Pop scene and well past the point of saturation. It's been done countless times over by other groups, and frankly, DIA didn't do it any better. I personally don't have anything against this type of concept; the problem is that DIA didn't own the concept and didn't put any refreshing or original spin on it.
All the tracks sort of blended together to become this confusing amalgam of pop ballads without any distinct character. Save for the title track "On the Road," the songs weren't even catchy...just incredibly boring and generic. I almost felt bad for the girls because their voices could be put to better use and worked for more vibrant melodies rather than these uninspired tracks. Every song featured some mix of that tired ol' harmonica, nostalgic-sounding piano chords, and acoustic guitar. The singing style was the same as well throughout the album: breathy and flat with long notes, awkward raps, and amateur, elementary choir-like harmonizations thrown in here and there. I'm serious--I was waiting for DIA to shake things up a bit, maybe add in a dance, R&B, or maybe even rock track in for good measure but I was sorely let down.
I admit that "On the Road" is pretty catchy with its lustrously colorful synths and buoyant, light drums. But that's just one song. "Trainee" does allow the girls to let their vocals shine more, but it wasn't all that outstanding, sounding more like the OST to some cheesy weekend K-drama. Hints of an electric guitar blazing heedlessly away in the background, and the booming, stadium drums saved this song...but only barely.
"I'll Remember" also sprinkled in some other elements as well besides the acoustic guitar, piano, and that darned harmonica, adding a dainty, echoing synth which rang out for a nice, calming effect. "Happy Ending" was my least favorite out of all the tracks, taking the cake for being the most toneless of the bunch, which is pitiable considering that it was the opening of the album yet failed to capture the listener's attention. It's lively alright, but its liveliness did not make it any more of a memorable listen. "Waiting for You" featured more harmonica, acoustic guitar, and piano (SURPRISE!!); at this point, I was ready to call it quits. Thankfully, "I'll Remember" somewhat salvaged me from entirely denouncing album.
I actually watched the MV for "On the Road" first before listening to the album, and upon realizing what a poor job DIA did at attempting to differente themselves, I was hopeful that the album would prove me wrong. If you couldn't tell from the above review, such was not the case. The whole time I was watching the MV, I couldn't help myself in thinking that I've seen this concept before, not once but many, many times before. The choreography, the outfits, the banal plot of one-sided love for a guy...*sighhhh* Disappointment followed even more disappointment for DIA's latest comeback, and it is my wish that next time, MBK will let the girls try a more original concept that matches them rather than blindly following whatever the trend is.