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.
Golden Child’s Re-boot was my favorite K-pop album of 2019, and its repackaged version hasn’t changed that. But, it’s an even more polarized album now, fronted by two darker singles composed by in-house producer BLSSD before moving onto more upbeat material. It should surprise no one that I am a much stronger proponent of the latter, especially since that’s what Golden Child built their name (and fan base) on. A meandering, joyless single like Without You feels counter intuitive to the group’s greatest appeal. Thankfully, the rest of the album doesn’t try to fit them within that same box.
In the year’s most awkward transition so far, the gloom of Without You is followed by the bright buoyancy of I Love U Crazy. The sequencing here cracks me up. Without You has an abrupt ending, while I Love U Crazy has a sudden start. It’s jarring, to say the least, but acts as an immediate salve for those of us who wish to see the guys harness their lively personalities in musical form.
The song was composed by Sean Alexander and David Amber, two foreign composers who are no strangers to K-pop. It comes across as a 2020 version of One Direction’s sunny power pop, chugging along on big, stomping percussion and catchy rhythm guitar. Its punchy chorus is just what this desolate winter needed, and is paired with an addictive chanted refrain that references the group’s name in a fun way. This would’ve made a great single, though admittedly it doesn’t match the high concept “trilogy” Woollim seems to be pushing for Golden Child. But, I’d rather have joyful, satisfying pop music than high concept trilogies. Take note, K-pop.
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