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.
Despite being active in Japan for many years, Super Junior don’t have a very large J-pop footprint. Their solo and sub-unit releases (especially D&E) have been far more prolific within the industry. But this time around, they’ve saved all their best group material for the Japanese release of Korean single I Think I. Its accompanying mini album is rock solid all the way through.
When I heard Spotlight for the first time, I was immediately smitten. This is old-school electro funk in the vein of Chromeo (who themselves were in the vein of legends like Prince and Rick James). Once you hear that swinging synth line and fuzzy bass, it’s all over. Then the percussion hits, and it’s lively and funky in a way we don’t hear enough of these days. I could listen to this style of production all day long.
It also proves to be a great match for Super Junior, harnessing their personality and party-starting energy. And while the melody isn’t anything they haven’t given us before, I appreciate how the chorus takes a two-pronged approach rather than simply resting on a chant-like repetition of the song’s title. I enjoyed last year’s Super Clap quite a bit, but in many ways Spotlight feels like the fulfillment of that track’s promise. I’d like a full Super Junior album in this style, please.
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“Spotlight” is quite good, but I give the b-side buried treasure edge to “Fly To The Moon”. “Moon” is less noisy and it bears a passing resemblance to EXO Lucky One (which is a good thing).
Nah, who I am kidding it’s a tie! They are both funktastic! Too bad its a Japanese album and it is just about unbuyable in the US so far – three weeks after release it is still in “pre-order”.
I came across this album on iTunes and was surprised because I didn’t realize they released a whole mini alongside the Jpn version of I Think I. Then I was surprised again when I listened through and liked all of it way more than their recent Korean album. Rock solid, like you said!
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Speaking of buried treasure, I had to search for “I Think U” very specifically on itunes to find it there.
That’s the kind of Super Junior’s music I fell in love over a decade ago! Now I’ve got to check out the rest of the album, I can’t possibly miss out on something so fun.