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 still not quite sure how I feel about VERIVERY’s Lay Back. Its chorus has been stuck in my head all week, but that second verse rap break remains a crime against humanity. If idol groups must travel down a darker road, I’d prefer they do so in an unexpected, idiosyncratic way. With that in mind, Photo opens their new album with a distinct jolt of excitement.
This is not the best song I’ve ever heard, but it peels back an unforeseen layer to VERIVERY’s sound. It’s not fragmented in a way that stalls momentum. It commits to its edgy style the whole way through, and benefits from that continuity. From instrumental to melody, Photo feels very much like a VIXX track, but VERIVERY are able to make it work even though this is a very different performance than we’re used to hearing from them.
I’ll never be a huge fan of rap, but the verses here contribute to the overall song rather than break it up unnecessarily. Better yet is the lurching, militant chorus, which perches staccato vocals over a creepy, ever-ascending synth line. It’s an instantly ear-catching refrain, super rhythmic but still melodic. The rest of the track offers a few surprises, like a great second-verse switch-up that sends the melody scattering in new directions. If VERIVERY must abandon their bright, new jack swing style, Photo is a promising template going forward.
Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!