Most of the time, a kpop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-side tracks 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.
I completely understand why Good Luck (review) was chosen as AOA’s title track. It has that undeniable radio feel, with an easy hook that fits right in with where kpop is at right now. But, it’s definitely not the best song on their new album. That honor goes 10 Seconds, an atmospheric 80’s-pastiche that would have paired perfectly with their new video’s lifeguard theme.
I also understand why 10 Seconds isn’t the title track. It’s not as upbeat as AOA’s past few singles have been, preferring a dreamy tempo and gentle beds of shimmering synths to the rapid-fire propulsion of pop hooks they usually serve us. Nor does it give ample spotlight to the group’s most popular members. It’s a triumph of vocal cohesion over individual star power. This makes the song a fascinating departure in sound, more musically mature than almost anything they’ve given us so far. But don’t mistake the track’s measured tempo or 80’s ambition for a lack of catchiness. Though the chorus may not blast forward and demand attention like Good Luck, its gentle refrain becomes more beguiling and addictive each time it repeats. In its own way, it feels more closely tied to actual, hazy summer time than many of the “summer-esque” title tracks groups have been giving us lately. I’m really curious how it would have performed for them as a single.