Most of the time, a k-pop 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 k-pop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Though I would rather have seen Rainz stick with the retro, 80’s sound of their debut, there’s no denying the strength of their EDM-fueled Shake You Up album. It’s refreshing to hear a group go so energetic in these typically ballad-heavy winter months. Their new single Turn It Up has already grown on me, but it’s album track Open Ur Heart that steals the show.
In many ways, Open Ur Heart is the perfect b-side. Its sound and composition don’t really lend themselves to promotion, but it’s one of the group’s most impressive performances. The song blends their current dance style with the retro synth influences of Juliette to brilliant effect. It has a stately appeal, driven by a gorgeous arrangement of sparkling electronics. That instrumental alone is just magnificent — like some long-lost 80’s sci-fi soundtrack. This particular aesthetic has always sparked my imagination, and gives the song a real nostalgic heft. But then the guys throw a robust melody over the top, highlighted by a series of cresting, extended notes that give Heart more of a ballad feel. This mix of elements creates a very specific mood — yearning, but oddly euphoric as well. It’s a tone not often heard in k-pop, and is incredibly impressive for a rookie group.