Though they may not make the types of international waves that many idol groups do, female duo Davichi are an absolute force in ballad-heavy Korea. It’s hard to objectively review their music, as it’s like comparing apples to oranges when put next to the hip-hop and dance pop that take precedence each week on The Bias List.
When looking at Beside Me (내 옆에 그대인 걸), it’s best to compare it to the duo’s past work and see how it stacks up. With this in mind, the song’s melody feels like one of their most instantly accessible in recent memory. Though the track never builds to much of a climax, its structure packs in a fair amount of drama — especially that explosive chorus. There are hints of Broadway-style orchestral flourish waiting to pop up at every turn, from the violin tracing the lines of the melody to the cresting of instrumentation at the chorus’s most intense moments.
If anything, the song needs to go further in this direction. Maybe it’s the way the music video’s shot, but I kept being reminded of mid-90’s Celine Dion. Beside Me would have been incredible if Davichi’s brilliant vocals were supported by symphonic rock bombast, similar to Dion’s iconic It’s All Coming Back To Me Now. Given their success, I understand why the duo plays it safe, but the song’s dramatic melody is simply begging to push things further. Without any truly idiosyncratic touches, it threatens to devolve into the adult-contemporary trappings that define too many Korean ballads. And that’s exactly what Beside Me is: a typical OST-esque Korean ballad, through and through. But at least it’s a catchy one!