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 want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Though SS301 released shortened promo videos for every track off their new mini-album, Saxophone isn’t a title track. It’s a shame, because it’s the best and most exciting song on the mini. It has the kind of chorus I love — a three-pronged knockout, with each piece building artfully on the last. Breaking it down, we’ve got an incredibly rhythmic melody that slows to more anthemic, extended power notes before bursting into the brassy, instrumental refrain that anchors the song. It takes skill to assemble such a seamless combination of hooks. I also love the way the production filters out in the middle eight to create an almost choral, meditative segment before the last chorus crashes in with renewed vigor.
If Pain was all about being sleek and mature, Saxophone lets the guys let loose and imbue the track with personality. It reminds us that they’re veteran performers, and deserve songs this fresh and contagious. Saxophone could have easily become a novelty. In general, it feels like brass is becoming overused in kpop, but a great track is a great track no matter what concept is used.