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.
It was difficult to pick a “buried treasure” from Red Velvet’s new mini album. Just like last year’s The Red Summer, it’s a very strong collection of songs. If I were to pitch alternative title tracks, I’d probably suggest the insanely fun Hit That Drum of the sugary Mr. E, but today I chose to write about Mosquito.
Mosquito isn’t the most instant track of the bunch, but it reminds me of SM Entertainment’s past in the best way. I love when girl groups aren’t just saddled with cutesy tropical fluff. Despite its odd title, Mosquito is hard hitting and substantive. The song also marks the return of American producer Teddy Riley to SM’s fold. Riley has been a lifelong favorite of mine, essentially creating the New Jack Swing genre and working with artists as legendary as Michael Jackson. He’s responsible for some of SM’s most iconic singles (Call Me Baby, The Boys, What Is Love), and I’d be delighted to see him back with the agency on a more regular basis.
With its edgy stabs of percussion and hip-hop driven vocal arrangement, Mosquito picks up right where Riley left off. It’s a weird little track, refusing to follow any of today’s trends as its structure pulls taut before easing into its melodic chorus. This freewheeling vibe will likely give it plenty of staying power long after listeners’ attention has moved onto new sounds.