ELRIS rebranding as ALICE when they got to IOK Company was a surprise, but arguably much more of a surprise was their first release after the rebrand was the painfully nondescript single “Power Of Love“. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for to change the group’s fortunes. So what was it I was hoping for? Well, basically their latest single, “DANCE ON“, which injects life back into the group and also really a stale run in K-pop lacking this kind of bubbly energy.
In a generation chock full of throwback sounds and concepts, ALICE essentially do the same with “DANCE ON”, traveling back to what made so many second generation girl groups a success with a funky dance-pop effort that thrives on execution. It doesn’t try to outsmart itself or be too clever, continuing throughout linearly as expected, but as we’ve grown increasingly brainwashed to expect twists and turns, this almost was refreshing experience in a way.
The timeliness of this release in the current K-pop landscape aside, “DANCE ON” has a timeless appeal for pop music as disco never dies for me and ALICE don’t kill it here. It’s a formula we’ve heard ad nauseum, but like many others before them it uses its chorus to separate themselves from the crowd, featuring a jubilantly sung hook of “dance on, on my own“. It’s an instantly recognizable and appealing refrain, and even the descending staccato delivery of the vocals that follow leaves an impression, and it’s all enhanced visually by simple but smooth dance steps with an eye on virality.
The verses are carried forward by the propulsive and funky beat, but it’s the “youuu-ooh-ooh-u-u” section that’s memorable in its own right and works for the same reason it did in “This Is What You Came For“, with this just being a more bright and peppy version.
Everything basically just comes together and makes for a very easy to like and straightforward pop gem, and you don’t have to squint to see it being a hit if it was released by like TWICE or another popular girl group.
In K-pop boom that has seen physical sales explode, ELRIS never got a piece of that, and there were understandable concerns for a bit that they might’ve been heading for disbandment. The switch to IOK threw the group a life raft, and with “DANCE ON” they seem intent on taking advantage of the chance. While hoping for a mainstream breakout might be a pipe dream, hopefully ALICE continue down this road musically and efforts like this can provide them with at least a stable and growing fanbase.