Most of the time, a k-pop 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, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Though they’ve yet to develop a unique sound for themselves, fromis_9 have released two strong mini-albums filled with material from some of k-pop’s most promising up-and-coming producers. Even so, their new single leaned far too close to generic. This is especially frustrating given the strength of the b-sides surrounding it.
Imagine a world where fromis_9 returned with 22nd Century Girl (22세기 소녀). Yes, it’s a weird title, but the song itself pulses with a retro, summer-ready electro beat anchored by one of their strongest choruses yet. The song retains the girls’ bright, innocent energy while adding an air of sophistication. Built around an addictive synth loop, the instrumental is a marvel of punchy electronics, programmed drum fills and unflagging energy. The girls supply a confident series of vocals, never pushing too far towards aegyo. And while the song lacks a bit of power (imagine a group like GFriend tackling this!), its well-developed hooks compensate. That synth-charged chorus is pure 80’s pop bliss, but the propulsive verses are no slouch either. Though they’re different in a lot of ways, 22nd Century Girl actually reminds me a bit of Dal Shabet‘s immortal 2014 hit BBB. This is the general vibe I’d love to see fromis_9 pursue further.