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.
Now that the dust has settled on Red Velvet’s Really Bad Boy, I can appreciate the song for what it is. It’ll never be one of my favorite Red Velvet tracks, but I could see it settling for a Rookie-esque trajectory. However, as with each of the group’s title tracks, RBB is followed by a delectable selection of b-sides. It feels like SM Entertainment is intent on the girls promoting their most oddball material, which is kind of respectable even if it leaves a lot of would-be hits on the table.
Butterflies is one of those tracks that would have made an excellent — albeit safe — single. The song boasts seven producers, which seems like overkill given its relatively straightforward construction. But looking at the credits, one name caught my eye immediately: Yoo Young-jin. Although he hasn’t been given the complete reins on any SM track this year, Young-jin’s participation has been the secret ingredient to many of the agency’s best 2018 releases — including Red Velvet’s own Bad Boy. His penchant for vocal layering is evident on Butterflies‘ ebullient chorus, which bumps with retro synth influence. The instrumental feels like a sequel to the girls’ Look from earlier this year, though it has a trendier edge. The verses could have done with a stronger focus, but their digressive arrangement actually helps set up that sucker-punch chorus and give it the showcase it deserves.