Most of the time, a group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of k-pop (and j-pop), I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
This is probably the most “buried” of buried treasures I’ve written about yet. I’d be shocked if more than a few of my readers were familiar with j-pop group Kis-My-Ft2’s singles run — let alone their b-sides. But even if you’re not a j-pop fan and have no idea why this group’s name is so strange, I implore you to listen to Freeze anyway. I promise you’ll be hooked from the get-go.
The song is a collaboration with respected singer/guitarist Miyavi, who’s churned out quite a bit of excellent music himself. He not only co-wrote Freeze, but also forms the backbone of the instrumental with his signature rapid-fire guitar riffs. Rock influences aren’t new to Kis-My-Ft2’s repertoire (check out their excellent 2017 album, Music Colosseum), but this explosive funk guitar sound is a revelation. Freeze is remarkably simple, built upon three repeating melodic segments with few diversions. But, each piece fits perfectly together, bouncing from punky to polished and back again. I don’t want to spend too much time comparing k-pop and j-pop. They’re very different industries in many ways. But, an adventurous track like Freeze makes me wonder if Korea still has room for exciting idol group experiments like this. We can only hope.