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’s confounding when the best singles are unleashed upon the world with the least fanfare. By all measures, Eclipse should be a watershed moment for Taemin, cementing his J-pop career and building interest for his upcoming album. Yet, the song was given no music video and chucked onto digital platforms only days after its existence was announced. This is such a shame, because Eclipse represents so much of what I’ve been missing from Taemin’s solo work since his brilliant 2016 Press It album.
Opening with a dramatically pitched vocal, the song first seems as if it’s going to be another charmless retread of trends. Its opening verse is overly tentative, lurching forward without much purpose. But once Eclipse kicks into gear for its exhilarating pre-chorus, the track becomes the kind of dancefloor storm Taemin was made for. It builds toward a fantastic hook, taking advantage of his lithe, dominant vocals. Instead of one climactic power note, we get a series of robust turns, which draw out the melody in a way we don’t hear much these days. Through it all, Taemin’s inimitable charisma drives the song forward. Even in its slower moments, he remains a compelling presence. When it comes time for his next Korean comeback, this is the kind of energy I’d love to hear.