DIA are back for the first time in like nine months with “On The Road“, with the main news about them (besides ‘Produce 101‘ drama) being their fandom being named AID.
Look, fandoms are gonna whine about the comparisons, but the G-Friend influence within this is so blatant to anybody with eyes that it’s hard not to compare them. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course, because almost identical concepts have been recycled in K-pop a bunch (ask G-Friend themselves), but the key is to execute it well. And while I think DIA got the look and some of the choreography right, I just didn’t find their song anywhere near as catchy or addictive as G-Friend’s schoolgirl trilogy.
Primarily, I think the difference has to do with how overly light and fluffy the whole thing feels. It’s just so sterile and it lacks any kind of an edge anywhere in the instrumental, which is a problem only exacerbated by the fact that everything is pitched at either high or higher. To triple down on this issue, it also causes the track to lack a feel of build or climax at any point, instead getting a bit repetitive sounding due to the pitch washing out any subtleties. It’s really like they got a rejected version of one of G-Friend’s singles.
I briefly mentioned the look of the music video earlier, and they have that schoolgirl unity concept down. But another thing that’s oddly different is how overwhelmingly featured Chaeyeon is throughout, which seems to go against what their concept itself is supposed to promote and doesn’t feel cohesive because of it.
There are points where you wonder if they are group members or backup dancers.
While I wanted DIA to come out and kill it, unfortunately it just all falls a bit short. “On The Road” generally feels like a poor man’s version of what G-Friend just came out with and it’s impossible to mentally avoid that comparison, especially so when the song just isn’t up to snuff.
At least they look pretty?