Most of the time, a kpop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition, too. In the singles-oriented world of kpop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Airplane is a song from f(x)’s 2013 album Pink Tape. It’s well known among fans as one of the group’s most loved songs, even if it wasn’t promoted as a title track. f(x) has always been known for their artistic, experimental sound. Because of this, their albums are often pretty diverse. That said, their best work is careful not to forget the classic elements that make a killer pop song.
Airplane opens with an extended fade-in of what almost sounds like white noise, before transitioning to a steadily growing verse, supported by squiggly synth work. What follows is an absolutely massive build before the first of two hooks kicks in with a simple, spoken refrain and some nimble synth percussion. It’s not until almost halfway through the track that we’re greeted by the anthemic melody of the chorus. The rest of the song is an exercise in build-and-release. Like the titular vehicle, the overall sound has the feel of constant acceleration and breathless momentum. This makes the song feel more like an experience than a simple piece of music, and ensures its place as one of the group’s most memorable recordings.