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.
I was just about ready to completely judge your taste based on you choosing Don’t Know What To Do as your buried treasure from the snoozefest that is Kill This Love EP (I’m like one of the first three blinks to ever exist, i’m allowed to say this) BUT you won me over once again by correctly identifying that this is the buried treasure of IZ*One’s album. My mutuals and I have been bickering about it for a while now and it’s nice to know there’s someone else who shares this same view.
To be fair, Don’t Know What To Do *barely* qualified for buried treasure status, but I was asked what I thought about it and knew that people were interested, so I still wanted to give it a review. Glad you like this IZ*ONE track as much as I do. I might even prefer it to the single.
This is my favorite IZ*ONE song. I’ve listened to all of their songs and, while I enjoy them a lot, this one is just pure bliss to me.
I wonder if there’s some sort of a reference to CLC because on their FREE*SM EP, they had two tracks called “BAE” and “I LIKE IT” (tracks 2 and 3, respectively). I haven’t found anything online mentioning this in my brief searching. Weird coincidence or intentional?
(I think I’ve said this before somewhere but…)
Your hunch is definitely far off from the actual thing. The English title that you see above is a wordplay (more like pronunciation play) for the word 해바라기. This is the Korean word for sunflower, and it is the Korean title of the song that this post is about. When they sing the lyrics ‘Hey bae like it’, it’s like they’re saying the Korean word in a fast manner. Personally, one of the most fascinating song Easter eggs I’ve known. Makes the experience of listening this already blissful song a nicer one.