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.
Shinee‘s latest Japanese album, Five, is super solid. The first four tracks alone are a blistering funk pop workout that feel incredibly cohesive and perfectly executed. I’ve been searching for composition and production credits to no avail, but I’m really curious who composed the bulk of the album since it seems to hearken back to the group’s 2012-13 material (ie: my favorite Shinee era).
Though I could have easily spotlighted any of the album’s first few songs, the bombastic blast provided by ABOAB‘s club/brass hybrid absolutely needs to be celebrated. The song is all about blood type, which is a much bigger deal in East Asian countries than it is in the west. It’s a slightly cheesy lyrical concept, but the song’s knock-you-over-the-head approach to production easily makes up for that. Its verses are classic Shinee, delivering a staccato, ultra-rhythmic vocal over a propulsive electro beat. Then, as the pre-chorus builds, ABOAB launches its signature instrumental assault. I’m usually a critic of songs without proper choruses, but ABOAB‘s gargantuan brass refrain more than fills the gap left behind from the lack of a central melody. Best of all, it only gains strength as the track powers on, resulting in a thrilling, powerful listen that’s more aggressively over-the-top than anything Shinee has given us in years.