Song Review: Block B – Shall We Dance

Block B has maintained a certain level of success (especially as soloists) over the past two years, but it feels like their group work has lost some of its momentum ever since their nearly two-year hiatus after 2014’s H.E.R. February’s boisterous Yesterday seemed to herald a return to form, and Shall We Dance‘s very title hints at the kind of quirky banger the guys used to supply on the regular.

Shall We Dance is indeed quirky, built around a slinky strings riff that manages to sound funky and sinister at the same time. Yet somehow the energy of classics like Nillili Mambo and NalinA is missing. I attribute this to the song’s chorus, which rests almost entirely on that aforementioned instrumental riff. Even P.O.’s gruff, commanding tone isn’t enough to add interest to the repetitive “shall we dance?” exclamation that forms the main hook. Like many 2017 comebacks before it, there’s an absolute vacuum at the center of the song.

This is a shame, because there are many interesting pieces surrounding this black hole of a hook (and I’m not just talking about the group’s atrocious styling in the music video). Zico and Kyung are reliably charismatic during their playful verses, and the touches of falsetto from the vocal line add an interesting, almost improvisational vibe. The song’s bridge is more fleshed out than the actual chorus, and hints at Dance‘s potential that unfortunately remains unrealized. In short, the track succeeds on mood and sentiment, but is almost skeletal when it comes to substance. It feels dangerously close to coasting, and that’s not where Block B should be at this stage in their career.

 Hooks 6
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7


6 thoughts on “Song Review: Block B – Shall We Dance

  1. Just FYI, 2014 wasn’t “nearly two years ago,” and you seem to be evaluating the status of their careers without being aware of the two songs released between “Shall We Dance” and “H.E.R.”


    • I think there’s been a misunderstanding. That sentence refers to the nearly two-year break between H.E.R and A Few Years Later, not the length of time between H.E.R and the present.

      I’m completely aware of the material the group released last year. In fact, you can check out my reviews archive page to see what I thought about them. (I particularly liked Toy 😉


      • Sorry, I read over that too quickly.

        But…you liked “Toy”? So if you liked it and consider “Yesterday” a boisterous return to form, when exactly did the loss of momentum happen?


        • I did like Toy, and it charted well too. But I think that long hiatus took its toll in some regards. Maybe it’s just a natural maturation of their sound, but they were on such a roll from 2012-2014, releasing song after song that had a certain energy that felt all their own. For me, their work since that time just doesn’t match that same energy.

          But like I said, that could be intentional. After all, the guys are older and music tends to shift as bands mature. In the end, it’s only my opinion. Obviously they’re still a hugely successful group, even if I’m not a big fan of this particular comeback.


  2. Honestly, I really agree about the losing of momentum thing. Particularly after that long and painful lawsuit about them not getting paid, their parents getting cheated of their money, the CEO’s suicide etc. The company they switched to has also not been giving them many opportunities or resources to promote – Shall We Dance was made in, if I am not wrong, three weeks before the comeback. I just think it’s a shame – with better luck I think their potential and their musicality could have been brought out well, but it’s a little too late now. Their latest releases make me feel like they’ve been drained of their energy.


  3. Pingback: Song Review: Block B – Don’t Leave | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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