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.
I’ve always preferred Red Velvet‘s upbeat “red” material over their more r&b-influenced “velvet” side, which likely explains why I’m not feeling quite as head-over-heels as everyone else for their new Perfect Velvet album. But even though I’ll forever take Red Summer over Perfect, there’s no denying that the girls have once again assembled a strong collection of forward-thinking tracks.
My favorite new song is the smooth, 80’s-indebted Look. In many ways, the track is a classic “red” production as seen through a “velvet” prism. Red Velvet previously explored this retro sound on 2015’s excellent Cool World, but Look has a more mature appeal. Driven by a gorgeous blend of synth bass and percussive vocal loops, the song takes full advantage of the girls’ vocal prowess — a skill not always evidenced within the framework of their larger-than-life, quirky brand of k-pop. The pre-chorus is especially impressive, hypnotizing with its lush performance. I will always be a fan of 80’s music, and Look embraces the decade in an authentic — but not gimmicky — way. There’s a certain amount of restraint in the melody that makes it somewhat of a sleeper hit. It may not be immediately catchy in the manner that title tracks demand, but its makes for a dynamite b-side.