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 ironic (and feels almost sinful to write), but now that global pop music is in the throes of a downbeat, trap-influenced trend, I’m realizing that there are elements of the tropical house boom that I’m beginning to miss. Now don’t get me wrong, K-pop is still entirely too tropical, but when I look at my number one singles from the past two years, both songs had strong tropical house influence. It’s just that they leaned more heavily on the “house” part of the equation. I will continue to rail against this unkillable trend, but at least tropical house had the capacity to be upbeat!
So here we have GFriend’s Our Secret (비밀 이야기). It doesn’t have much of a chorus, and it’s tropical and chirpy all the way through, but damn if it isn’t a blast of fun. The girls’ new album is quite consistent, even if it may not contain a b-side as flawless as last year’s Flower Garden. There’s a lot of quintessential GFriend material to be found across its twelve tracks, but Our Secret twists their sound just enough to feel fresh. I love its breathless verses, which have a sense of propulsion that really gets the energy going. The song’s tropical synth loop is derivative as hell, but still manages to be catchy — especially when the girls’ vocals trace its edges during the understated hook. All that’s missing is a big Yuju power note. But, Our Secret isn’t really that kind of song. It’s more of a whisper than a growl. And in this case, that’s totally fine.