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.
Seventeen continues to impress with their latest album, even if it feels like they’re slowly abandoning the funk-pop style that made them such a force in k-pop. Title track Clap is the closest to that sound on Teen,Age, and it’s proving to be the kind of song that just gets better and better as time goes on. The group has mentioned several times that Without You (모자를 눌러 쓰고) was also in consideration as the album’s title track, which explains its early placement in the running order. And even though I’m about to sing its praises, I am so happy they opted not to have it lead the promotional campaign.
Without You is basically Don’t Wanna Cry part two, which is a sound I don’t want to see Seventeen lock themselves into. Don’t Wanna Cry is an absolutely breathtaking track, but it works best as a one-off in their discography. Positioning the not-quite-as-strong Without You as a follow up would only hurt both songs. Instead, the track makes for a gorgeous prelude to the feistier Clap. I’m still not sold on the instrumental-break-as-chorus format, but everything around that seesaw synth is incredibly evocative. It’s a song that takes several listens to click, as its melody is constantly detouring in unexpected directions. Its centerpiece consists of a wonderfully delicate refrain followed by a walloping build into that aforementioned instrumental drop. Not many groups can get away with this overused structure, but Seventeen works wonders with such simplicity. Like Clap, I just can’t stop listening to it.