Song Review: D1CE – Wake Up

After a July with few newcomers, the ‘Year of Debuts’ rolls on with an August release schedule already flush with rookies. Leading the charge is Happyface Entertainment’s D1CE, composed of long-suffering trainees who have all been involved with survival series such as Produce 101, MIXNINE and BOYS24. This is the new reality for a lot of rookie groups, and helps them establish a fan base before their official debut. But none of this matters unless the guys are given compelling music. Wake Up (깨워) is a solid track, but fails to bring anything new to the table.

Wake Up feels like a sound collage of elements borrowed from other groups. The chorus pounds with angsty Monsta X vibes, the pre-chorus echoes the anthemic heft of ATEEZ, and the hip-hop verses come across as GOT7-lite. Of course, K-pop has always self-cannibalized, so none of this is the least bit surprising. The problem is that Wake Up doesn’t harness these influences in any interesting way. The guys are clearly talented, and the song does a fine job showing that off, but it’s an oddly lifeless product given its hard-hitting nature.

An injection of compelling melody would have helped things out greatly. Wake Up’s chorus is an aural hissy fit, shouting phrases without bothering to frame them within a catchy hook. The winding pre-chorus is better, though its structure reminds me of another song that I can’t quite put my finger on. Everything in between is largely forgettable — all bluster with little substance. It’s a shame, because the jazzy instrumental that opens the track has tons of potential.

D1CE have two songs on their debut album written by the Happyface dream team of LEEZ and Ollounder, and I’m shocked that neither of those were selected as the title track. The only explanation is that the powers-that-be wanted D1CE to have an edgy, dark image and didn’t care much about the song that supported it.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

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13 thoughts on “Song Review: D1CE – Wake Up

  1. I was kinda feeling the verses, but man was that chorus a let-down – the least they could have done was not make it half-time. I probably would enjoy the chorus on its own, but with the context of the prechorus it didn’t fit at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Basic kpop. The video also recycles the usual tropes. The song and video could be used for a bingo card of tropes. At least, they very helpfully pronounce their name at the beginning: Dee Once.
    To be honest, I always feel sorry for these little debuts from the smaller companies. Is there any path for this to succeed? For this particular one, I don’t know how a company like Happyface which does have a unique sound with Dreamcatcher and before that Dal Shabet, I don’t know how they debut a boy group that sounds so generic.


    • I agree, I was really pulling for this group to have a unique sound or at least concept coming from the same company as Dreamcatcher. Like, did they not see how effective branding their girl group with a totally distinct identity was? Did they just decide that “dark ‘n’ edgy = success” and ignore that, for starters, this is a LOT more common and generic among boy groups than it is for girls? Shrug.


  3. I followed Hyunsoo, Woodam and Jinyoung since P101 and MIXNINE and I expected a brighter debut concept… than I saw the first teasers… meh
    But hey, it seems like (nearly) everybody want to have an aesthetic MV (that often looks a bit recycled) with a “trendy” song.

    Their b-side “놀라워” (Surprising) actually sounds the way I have imagined their debut.


    • Yep, ‘Amazing’ is definitely the best track on the album. I thought the highlight would’ve been one of the LEEZ/Ollounder-produced songs, but both of those are kind of underwhelming.


  4. “The only explanation is that the powers-that-be wanted D1CE to have an edgy, dark image and didn’t care much about the song that supported it.”

    I feel like this is the problem with a lot of debuts/ comebacks in kpop recently, is that maybe companies are prioritizing an “aesthetic” l first rather than focusing on song quality. Obviously the sound, concept, imagery, etc should all fit together but not if the music falls by the wayside in favor of ~vibe~.


  5. Speaking of groups compromising sound for style.. have you heard the new Seventeen Hit teaser? Seventeen have been one of my all time fav boy groups when it comes to discography, and one bad comeback song isn’t going to change that. Still, I’m pretty worried this digital single might end up my least favorite svt title track, just hoping the final song ends up being a pleasant surprise right now.


    • But if it’s a single, it can’t be called a title track, right? I think they’re pulling a Getting Closer. Releasing a single one month before the album comeback.

      I don’t think they necessarily/electively go for “trends”… I think since they have such a major role in their productions, their changing music preferences also reflect in their music. Aside from the auto-tune, the chorus was atleast upbeat and not “chill”. I’m still going to be hopeful 🤐


    • I’m actually anticipating it. EDM is not my favorite style, but I’m liking that this seems to have actual energy to it, unlike the more subdued nature of most of their recent title tracks.


  6. Pingback: D1CE (디원스) – Wake Up (깨워): MV Review – TweetNewscaster

  7. Pingback: Song Review: D1CE – Draw You | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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