Underrated K-Pop Group: Spotlighting DKB

Every so often, DKB’s “Work Hard” pops into my head and it takes an actual forever amount of time for it to leave again. When I pulled the group’s page up on Spotify to throw the song on repeat the other day, I noticed that they have fewer than 73k streams a month; that seems wild to me. In a music genre where trends keep things moving forward, DKB stands out as a group to me that has their own distinct style, sound, and flavor. (It’s worth noting that DKB isn’t pronounced “dee-kay-bee”, but rather “다크비” or “da-keu-bi/dark-be”.)

This 9 member boy group debuted under Brave Entertainment in early 2020 with the song “Sorry Mama” and honestly, at the time of its release, that debut track was one that I didn’t sit up and take notice of. Even now, it’s not really my style. The verses and the pre-chorus are nice, but the chorus has always lost me. Because of that, their next release, “Still”, went unnoticed in the giant list of debuts and comebacks I listen to each month. Enter October 2020 and “Work Hard.” This song and the choreo completely took me by surprise and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since then.

In case you’re wondering who this group is and are curious about their other releases, let me shine a little spotlight on them for you!

“Work Hard (난 일해)”
Album – Growth
Released October 2020

There’s something about this song that’s so laid back and effortless to listen to that makes me keep coming back, no matter how much time has passed. I know some people get really turned off by repetition in a song, but sometimes it hits just right for me. This is a great example of how it just seems to work, in my opinion. Their performance and dance practice videos with this release add to the hypnotic quality. The choreo plays around the tempo a lot, picking up when you least expect it and slowing down at just the right moment to keep your attention. I get exhausted just watching them perform this choreo; there’s so much energy! A couple of lines that I always look forward to are that “예쁘니까 / because you’re pretty” in the pre-chorus and “네 립스틱 (your lipstick) wanna lick it, wanna lick it” in the second verse. That second one just always throws me off! Ha! My recommendation is to put this song on repeat and see how long it takes for you to be ready to move on. You might be surprised!

“All In (줄꺼야)”
Album – The Dice is Cast
Released March 2021

This title track hits you with a really mellow piano in the beginning and dives straight into a rap section. The way the beat picks up a little more in the chorus mixed with the vocal style feels like some older KPop boy group releases. Vocally, the second verse is where the power is; we get really nice vocals from two members and then drift into a strong rap verse before going back down to those warm vocals. For me, this is the song that reminds me how solid the vocals are with this group. Some of their other songs have a lot of effects on the vocals, but I like that this one keeps their sound a little more pure. It’s got some charm to it that stands out in their discography so far! I really like the repeated “줄 거야 모두 / give you all” in the chorus; it’s that simple lyric that has a bite to it and anchors the whole song.

Album – Rollercoaster (Single)
Released October 2021

This single was one of my top 10 choices from my October 2021 Round-Up blog post here at binahearts.com. This song really brought it to my attention just how each group member really does have a distinctive style that makes them setand out. I started feeling like I could pick the individual members out just by hearing them, which is always a feat! Every time I listen to this song, the pre-chorus totally sucks me in; it’s the progression of the notes! It’s like it casts a spell on me. I’m always a sucker for that. Ha! Just like with “All In,” the second verse is the song’s sweet spot. It’s like they throw all their best vocal moments and lyrical cadences there in the middle to make sure you’re still with them. This song is addictive and so easy to listen to. I keep saying that, but it continues to be true! You can feel the angst in the lyrics and the frustration as they sing about being sick of that break up and make up game, over and over. “This ain’t love, don’t get it twisted.” That sentiment makes it super relatable, unfortunately. Ha!

“Sober (안취해)”
Album – Rebel
Released April 2022

This album was included in my April Round-Up post. I was excited to hear that opening piano melody when I first listened to this song and it still gets me excited even now. That instrumental run carries on as the bottom layer of the track, too, which sometimes I don’t notice unless I have headphones in. Compared to their other title tracks, I feel like “Sober” has a little more energy and edge to it. The others have mellow tones and laidback qualities, but “Sober” livens things up a bit more. The chorus is mostly just the group sort of collectively yelling lyrics in unison and chanting “sober”; it’s the pre-chorus that carries things forward. If I were to pick one of their title tracks that best fits trends of the last couple of years, this would probably be the one. Even saying that, it still has its own uniqueness to it that I like. Like with “Rollercoaster,” those emotions of the lyrics easily come across; there’s frustration with not being able to say what you want when you’re saber, someone making you feel like you’re going crazy, and the tension of attraction all wrapped into one song.

“24/7 (넌 매일)”
Album – Autumn
Released August 2022

I mentioned this song in my August Round-Up post and I’m still enjoying it! When transitions are rough, a song can easily lose me, but that’s not the case with this song. Everything flows so seamlessly from section to section. It has the same laidback qualities that made me fall in love with “Work Hard”. It’s so easy to listen to and get lost in. It doesn’t get heavy or in-your-face at any point. Sometimes, that relaxed vibe can make a song forgettable, but for me, there’s a fine line between that unfortunate category and one that actually makes a song timeless. It’s not trying to capitalize on any time sensitive trend or anything like that. In the pre-chorus, we get a line that I love: “Focus, baby, 방금 올린, 네 사진 속에 왜 난 없는 건데 / Why am I not in the picture you just posted?” The way that section transitions into the chorus is chefs kiss.

DKB hasn’t only released nice title tracks, but they have some strong b sides as well. That’s a topic for a whole separate blog post, I’m sure, but if you’re new to DKB then I’d highly recommend starting with the ones listed above!

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