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.
Many new k-pop albums were released last week, and although rookie group TRCNG may not have been the flashiest or most hyped, their debut New Generation turned out to be the biggest surprise. I love what a throwback it is, both to 2nd gen k-pop and more westernized teen dance music. The jubilant Don’t Stop The Dancing is a wonderfully catchy throwback to the 80’s, but the first b-side that immediately captivated me was I’m The One.
I’m The One is nostalgic in a totally different way than Dancing, cribbing the kind of overproduced Scandinavian faux-urban bombast used in turn-of-the-millennium classics like Nsync’s It’s Gonna Be Me or Backstreet Boys’ Larger Than Life and fusing it to an aggressive k-pop backbone. The spiraling electro riff that completes each chorus is just so satisfying, capping off an energetic assault that blasts right past trends to revel in its bigness. As a younger group, this is the exact type of music that TRCNG should be pursuing. There’s still a bit too much chest-beating toughness on display, but it’s couched within enough youthful excitement not to feel overly obnoxious. A prominent dose of rhythm guitar only adds to the energy, giving I’m The One a propulsive sense of funk that quickly becomes hard to resist.