K-pop's title tracks may grab the most attention from listeners, but many album tracks are worth the spotlight as well. I call these "buried treasures".
On top of that, K-Pop's albums provide thousands of additional tracks that will settle for a more limited audience. It is these songs that become part of my “Battle of the B-Sides” function.
In this feature, I put on my A&R hat and listen to five randomly selected K-Pop B-sides. I'll write a mini-review for each, including a rating on the bias list, and rank them from least to most popular. The winner will join a special Bias List B-side playlist. Think of it as my own little agency handpicking songs that I want to introduce to my nonexistent artists!
You can watch all rounds of my Battle of the B-sides here!
YooA – end of story (2020)
YooA's 2020 debut is incredibly solid, but like most K-pop albums, we have a sentimental ballad at the end. I'm a huge fan of YooA's voice, and that adds to the appeal of End Of Story. But when it comes down to it, this is a pretty syrupy pop ballad. It's gentle and pretty, and has some nice melodic twists. And I appreciate how reduced the production is. Piano, strings and vocal harmonies create a satisfying atmosphere and shine in the spotlight exactly where it should: on YooA itself. After all, there is a limit to how highly I can rate ballads like these. On rare occasions aside, they're just not my thing.
Bigstar – close your eyes (2012)
This is very "of an era" isn't it? Right from the start, this emotional piano lets us know that we're going to see a boy band-angst-a-thon in early 2010. Close Your Eyes takes a moment to get going, but as soon as it steps into its chorus the beat becomes more impulsive and we pulsate along the patented Brave Sound groove. The stanzas pull back and provide recordings of hip-hop and R&B influenced vocals. This stop / start arrangement weakens the overall effect of the song a bit, but both extremes are implemented well. The chorus is also a nice catchy tune. I love how the melody picks up in the middle.
Jonghyun – fat (2018)
Grease comes from Jonghyun's posthumous Poet | Artist album and is one of his more reserved moments. His signature voice dominates the track and indulges in its fleeing beat. His phrasing is really engaging, somewhere between singing and rapping. There is a noticeable sense of tension in the verses while the chorus offers a more dramatic hook. Overall, this isn't my preferred style of Jonghyun, and I think Grease is one of the weaker efforts on an otherwise fantastic album. But as always, his charisma and skill highlight every moment.
GFriend – bike of the year (2020)
After GFriend broke up, we can call Wheel Of The Year their last song together. After all, it concludes their last album. As such, it's an immensely satisfying pop anthem. The song pulsates with panache from the start, powered by a mix of instruments that bring elements of folk and country to the fore to give the track a unique down-to-earth appeal that is warm and comfortable to the touch. The chorus is particularly nice. I love the way the melody rushes in, powered by a robust arrangement that hits the heart. The strings are a nice touch that add extra pizzazz to an already dramatic production.
IMFACT – WLAN (2020)
WiFi opens up with a couple of elements that I find off-putting. The marimba-like synth feels too trendy, while the heavy vocal effects give the track an artificial sound. That's a shame because there are other WiFi elements that I really like. His chorus is light and airy, with an excellent vocal performance. The tinny riff after the chorus is also a lot of fun. However, I am not a fan of the verses. They lower the overall energy of the song and don't feel as focused as the chorus. There's a dynamite song buried here somewhere, but the end result is kind of everywhere.
Fifth: YooA – end of story
Fourth: Jonghyun – fat
Third: IMFACT – WLAN
Second: Bigstar – close your eyes
First: GFriend – bike of the year
Congratulations to GFriend & # 39; s Wheel Of The Year – the fourth winner of my Battle of the B-sides!
Reader, what do you think? Have you discovered hidden treasures? Leave your own ranking in the comments!