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 want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
I’m not sure I’ve ever loved a Produce 101-related album all the way through, but IZ*ONE’s newest release is super solid. I came into the album with absolutely no expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by its consistency in both sound and quality. When talking about favorite b-sides, most fans would probably mention the Twice-esque, Lee Daehwi-composed Airplane, or the stylish dance beats of Highlight, but my favorite album track comes right at the beginning.
Hey. Bae. Like It. might have an odd title, but it’s a straightforward shot of pure pop. While definitely on the cutesier end of girl group fare, the song thrives on its well-constructed melody and multiple hooks. The refrain that opens the song is pure cotton candy bliss, and smartly repeated as a post-chorus hook later on. The entire track — from its vaguely tropical production to its breezy, layered vocal — screams summer. The arrangement is bright but never cloying, and that balance is established by the relatively unadorned performance at its core. So many K-pop songs bend themselves in awkward positions to please fans of one genre or another, but sometimes simplicity just wins out. Bae is a perfect example of a match made in heaven between artist and song.