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.
B1A4’s new album is full of gems, and those who prefer their more midtempo output will be especially pleased. As a fan of big, brash pop music, I am of course drawn to the album’s more uptempo moments. Nobody composes a bombastic power pop track like leader Jinyoung, and this time around he gives us two. While the excellent Good Timing feels a bit more single-worthy, Melancholy (멜랑꼴리) is its weirder, more interesting counterpart.
Opening with a volley of distorted synths, the song launches into an off-kilter, slightly drunken repetition of the title. But this dizzy, experimental bent doesn’t last too long, as the chorus soon crashes in with kaleidoscopic pop bliss. In many ways, the refrain is a traditional, easily-digestible melody, but it’s offset with some truly oddball production flourishes. The wall of background vocals blusters through as if recorded in a wind tunnel, adding heft to that idiosyncratic synth squiggle that remains prominent throughout. It’s a brilliant melding of the audacious with the familiar, punctuated by the “I see you in the mirror” refrain that’s easily one of the album’s strongest and most indelible hooks. If we’re lucky, B1A4 will make another comeback in the spring or summer with a song in this style. There really isn’t a k-pop group around that does this sound better.