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.
After a 2018 that saw few notable debuts, 2019 seems like it will be gangbusters when it comes to rookies. January has already given us several, with a few more just around the corner and bigger names waiting on the not-so-distant horizon. It’s going to be tough competition going forward, so an early January debut seems like a smart idea. I that regard, ONEUS seems to have set themselves off on the right foot.
My upbeat-loving self may prefer VERIVERY’s debut single just the slightest bit over their also-great Valkyrie, but I think ONEUS delivered the stronger album. They’ve found a perfect balance between trendy and classic sounds. Eye Contact is the big “bop” among the b-sides, but the Seventeen-esque Red Thread (붉은 실) has the album’s most killer melody. We’ve all heard this vaguely-EDM “ballad with a beat” style before, but Red Thread’s galvanizing pre-drop melody compensates for the song’s structural familiarity. As derivative as it may be, I just love that classic boy band croon that precedes the titular hook. The fact that this was co-composed by Youngbae (of Iggy/Youngbae fame) is no surprise. It’s got his classic melodic touch all over it.
ONEUS deliver the song with panache, and it’s the best vocal showcase on their album. But, I can’t help but think that Red Thread could also have made a strong title track for Astro.