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.
LOONA have not even officially debuted yet, and already their sub-unit is making a play on their name with the ridiculously (or awesomely?) titled Loonatic. As this LOONA universe gets more complicated and self-generating, it’s a sigh of relief that the music is also getting better and better. Loonatic is the best b-side yet from any sub-unit or solo related to the project, and even more noteworthy than the title track that precedes it.
This is going to be a slightly obscure, non-k-pop comparison, but Loonatic‘s effects-rich propulsion reminds me of production team Xenomania’s work with U.K. girl group Girls Aloud. The track pulls off the same difficult trick of marrying sonic experimentation with in-your-face pop immediacy. Loonatic‘s oft-repeated hook is catchy from the get-go, but it’s couched in such an odd production filter that the whole thing feels like some sort of quirky art-house undertaking. The vocals are heavy on the reverb, softening the performances while simultaneously giving the production a richness that melds the ethereal with the streamlined. That the entire thing’s driven by a surge of disco-punk guitars only adds to Loonatic‘s off-kilter appeal. It sounds nothing like what we’re used to from Korea’s girl groups, but then again it doesn’t really sound like anything within the current pop landscape — Korean or otherwise. If LOONA really want to make a name for themselves, this is the kind of adventurous track they should be promoting.