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.
Over the course of their two mini albums, I’ve come to realize that ATEEZ make modern-day pirate music. Add to that a Mad Max post-apocalyptic energy and hint of Daft-Punk-meets-Tron synths and you have a dynamic brew that feels totally unique within the current K-pop landscape. Their songs have a sense of dramatic bombast missing from a lot of current pop music, and a big factor of that is main vocal Jongho’s intense power notes. Like Golden Child’s Joochan, he’s quickly risen to become one of my favorite new generation idol vocalists.
Like Treasure, new single Say My Name has already grown on me quite a bit — especially when it hits its bombastic, synth-powered climax. Even better is album track Promise, which feels like a fully-realized distillation of the group’s charms. Its verses offer an idiosyncratic take on the tropical trend before the air clears for a standout pre-chorus that highlights the guys’ promising vocals. But the song’s real highlight is its breathless drop of a chorus. There isn’t a ton of melody here, but it’s given a desperate, shout-to-the-skies frame that ups the drama as a gargantuan instrumental slams in. It’s nice to hear ATEEZ convey the same force as their title tracks without resorting to an overuse of tough guy hip-hop tropes. I hope we can hear more of this approach in their promoted material.