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.
ATEEZ have finally wrapped up their Treasure series and, suitably, their new mini album works better as an epilogue than a standalone work. At only four full songs, it feels like a victory lap – an encapsulation of everything that came before it. I’ve seen a lot of people drawing special attention to its final track, Precious. I don’t disagree, but with all of its call-backs to earlier ATEEZ moments, Precious feels more like a piece of the whole than its own individual thing. Instead, I’m finding myself enamored by the weird, wonderful Horizon.
If it wasn’t for the way that ATEEZ and their producers present this track, I’d probably hate it. It relies more on energy and swagger than melody, and could’ve easily been a hokey trap/EDM bore in the hands of lesser groups. But, ATEEZ pack the song with surprises. Chief among these is the repeated vocal sample that forms a backbone to quite a bit of the track (not unlike Stray Kids’ Miroh, actually). This might be an obscure reference, but its presence reminds me of “ambient world music” duo Deep Forest, who I was weirdly into during the late 90’s.
Horizon is dripping with textures, and these help it navigate a fragmented structure that pinballs between moments of high-energy, rave-like energy and more fitful bursts of hip-hop. Honestly, it barely holds together, but that sense of unpredictability is what makes the song so fun. Horizon stuffs so much into its three minutes, even closing with one of those last-minute melodic shifts that ATEEZ pulls off so well.
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