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.
Sandwiched between NCT and EXO, BoA’s new album release received far less media attention than it deserved. Despite that, it spawned (arguably) the strongest single of the three, and offered a consistently compelling collection of modern dance-pop. There’s a reason that BoA is considered a K-pop legend. No matter the genre she tackles, her presence and polish elevate the material.
With that said, my favorite BoA is upbeat, dancefloor-ready BoA. It should come as no surprise then, that – barring the single – U&I is my standout from Woman. The track effortlessly blends the old with the new, anchored by a shimmering synth riff but bumping along retro 80’s bass. Through it all, BoA commands the song’s slinky melody, imbuing the chorus with breathy harmony followed by powerful high notes. U&I’s second verse is its standout, pulsing with renewed energy before collapsing into a brief trap-influenced breakdown. I could do without the latter half of that structure, but it does set the tone for an exciting climb back into the final chorus. If anything, U&I ends too soon. Its abrupt climax teases more but cuts out before it gets there. I guess that’s just BoA’s way of making you reach for that play button once again.