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.
Seventeen’s albums are usually divided between the title track, one or two could’ve-been-title-tracks, and more traditional album material where the group separates into units to explore diverse sounds. Beautiful falls into the second category, even if only about a half of the group participates in the recording. Co-composed by members Woozi and Mingyu, along with frequent collaborators Bumzu and and Anchor, the song bursts forth with the kind of anthemic pop hooks that more than deserve promotional spotlight.
What I love most about Seventeen is that they go straight for the pop jugular. Yes, they have a prominent hip-hop unit within their team, but with songs like this, it’s the melody that comes first. Beautiful kicks off with a dramatic volley of bass drums and strings, quickly gaining strength as the beat becomes more driving and the melody snowballs in energy. After a brief pre-chorus, where nearly all the instrumentation pulls away, we’re into the punchy chorus. It has one of those addictive, sing-along hooks that brings you back to the 80’s when music didn’t take itself so seriously. The only thing that would have improved the song is if all the guys had been part of the recording. There are times when the vocals feel like they need a denser, more layered approach to match the energy of the instrumental.