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.
Overall, I like The Boyz’ new single Bloom Bloom. But, my biggest gripe with the song is its vocal arrangement. When combined with the repetitiveness of the chorus, it can border on shrill at times. This isn’t enough to totally upend the track, but it does feel like a missed opportunity. I see why their agency chose to promote Bloom (it’s catchy as hell, after all). However, b-side Clover would have been a more interesting choice while still retaining their springtime concept.
Clover is produced by Jung Ho Hyun of production team e.one, and that alone should be enough of an endorsement. Boy groups rarely choose e.one-produced songs as singles, and that needs to change. Like Sweetune, e.one has a skill for arranging vocals. Compared to Bloom‘s incessant high pitch, Clover‘s performance is layered and multi-dimensional. The song itself has a throwback appeal — bright but not cloying. Its opening verse is largely set-up, climaxing with a sucker-punch of a chorus that knows just how to play with percussion for maximum effect. There’s a sense of sustained momentum throughout, buoyed by a chugging instrumental and gorgeous blasts of vocal harmony. Clover‘s central hook isn’t as instantly engaging as Bloom‘s, but it feels earned and — ultimately — more satisfying. Something like this could have easily been recorded by a girl group like April or Oh My Girl, but Clover‘s dreamy aesthetic proves to be a perfect match for The Boyz as well.
I like how there’s trap style drum hits in almost every part of this song EXCEPT the rap. That’s the single most endearing thing any composer in kpop has done this year.
Also the vocal arrangement on this one really does stand out; thanks for turning me onto it because I definitely wouldn’t have listened through this album otherwise. There’s truly a depressing lack of e.one in boy group land.
My opinion on Clover has really been fluctuating since I first heard it. I think it’s so interesting when our fairly similar tastes diverge like this, and I even knew when I first listened to the album that my opinion on the most worthy title track would be different than yours.
I can’t find the exact words to describe it and I won’t go too in-depth so as to not paint the wrong picture, but it happens often with specifically your favorite songs. The favorites I share with you often have choruses where the members sing in unison (NCT’s Without You, Infinite’s The Chaser and Last Romeo, you get it), but your top song of 2017, Snuper’s 유성, has never done it for me. The closest I can get to explaining is that it sounds too much like pop-in-a-can, kind of compressed and lacking emotion (which is how I feel about Clover right now, though to a lesser extent). Again, take that with a grain of salt, but it’s just so fascinating to me that we have such similar tastes except for the very top of our lists. Maybe I’m just partial to belting?
I get what you mean about the compressed layering/harmonies, and I think it’s just a matter of personal preference. I happen to like the sound… at least most of the time.
My problem with this sort of arrangement, dense harmonies, is that they don’t sound like the boyz actually sang them. Either back-up singers and/or those vocoder thingys. And the song is All Dense harmonies. The verse and the chorus sound in effect the same, they don’t vary in key, in tone. Except for a modification in the accompanying percussion, the verse could be the chorus and the chorus could be the verse.
This reads like I don’t like, but it isn’t that bad, just pleasant. mho, rated a bit high, but hey this is your bias list.
It also sounds like it could be a B-side super Junior from the Magic./ Devil era, or any SuJu KRY up-tempo (eg “Fly”).
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