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.
The song title “Flower Garden” makes me imagine a cutesy bit of nonsense, too overly saccharine and juvenile for its own good. But GFriend flip expectations, delivering their most propulsive piece of dance-pop since last year’s synth-powered Fingertip. One thing that’s always impressed me about this group is that, no matter what producers they work with, they’re able to retain a classic GFriend sound. Flower Garden forgoes the usual team of Iggy & Youngbae for in-house producers MIO — though you’d hardly know it.
After its orchestral introduction, Flower Garden resounds with an electric guitar fueled surge. It’s this kind of euphoric, highly cinematic sound that suits GFriend best and sets them apart within the the girl group landscape. The song’s easy melody recalls (or copies, depending on how you look at it) their past hits, but Garden favors energy and sentiment over ambitious construction. MIO also produced last year’s excellent Please Save My Earth, and borrow the same wind-tunnel layering effect for Garden‘s pre-chorus. It’s hard to explain this specific audio trick and why I love it so much. There’s this incredibly grandiose swell of orchestration, but rather than take center stage it’s pushed just below the surface to lend a sense of otherworldly atmosphere. And then, of course, there’s the song’s dramatic guitar solo. We can never have enough of those in k-pop.