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.
The year is still very, very young, but in the battle of the girl group mini albums, April comes out on top. Their new Prelude is a remarkably consistent collection of pop songs, representing a slightly more mature sound for the group while retaining the sugar rush hooks that they’ve become known for. Title track April Story was a nice surprise, but As It Is Now (지금 모습 이대로) is even stronger.
For this track, the girls have taken cues from GFriend’s high-octane, classically-infused dance pop and melded that approach with their lighter sound. As It Is Now rockets forward on a sprightly synthesized beat before launching into its extended, multi-faceted chorus. The girls belt it out in unison, delivering the kind of anthemic melody that feels so familiar that it verges of plagiarism. Luckily, just as it seems as if you could fill in the blanks with portions of already-existing songs, the melody crests into a glide, surging towards an unexpected post-chorus refrain. Many k-pop songs these days like to play around with constantly shifting tempo, but As It Is Now‘s sustained high energy is totally refreshing.