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.
Thank god for EXO-CBX. Even when EXO itself veers toward the dark or experimental, CBX are always down for a good time. I’m not sure that It’s Running Time could really be considered a “buried treasure,” as it’s received a strong promotional push by functioning as the opening theme for the new Running Man animated series, but the song is worth spotlighting regardless.
Composed by longtime SM talent Hitchhiker, the track is a rousing pop/rock anthem created with the sole intent of energizing its listener. Its verses are ostensibly a re-imagining of Bryan Adams’ classic 80’s rocker Summer of ’69, coming uncomfortably close to pure plagiarism. But if you’re going to pick a song to copy, Summer is a dynamite (and unexpected) choice. I’m a sucker for this kind of fist-pumping, cheeseball power pop, and CBX are a brilliant delivery method for a song this gleefully catchy. It’s Running Time‘s chorus pounds with sing-along, stadium-shaking power, buoyed by the instrumental’s crunchy guitar riffs and unflagging beat. SM can experiment with new writers and producers all they want, but there’s something to be said for sticking with the veterans. It’s Running Time is an unadulterated shot of fighting spirit just when we need it, and an antidote to some of the company’s fussier, too-cool-for-school productions.