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.
In a normal week, this buried treasure probably would have been posted days ago. But, this week has been anything but normal. Living about 90 miles north of the U.S. coronavirus epicenter has changed my routine quite a bit. And like so many others in my state and our world, I’ll essentially by housebound for at least the next six weeks due to school closures and social distancing policies. So, instead of listening to music, I’ve been stocking up on food and supplies and struggling to come to grips with the “new normal” as it exists for the foreseeable future. Above all else, I’ve been focused on how I can keep myself and others healthy during this unprecedented time. I encourage everyone to do the same.
Once I’ve settled into a routine, this new social distancing will likely lead to a greater-than-normal frequency of posts and reviews, which I guess is a small positive. But for now, my mind hasn’t exactly been on K-pop.
With that said, I’d be remiss not to talk a little about ITZY’s new mini album. I haven’t yet listened to the songs as much as I’d like to, but I appreciate how cohesive and upbeat the entire product is. There’s an exciting club feel to many of the tracks, taking advantage of the group’s effortless charisma. It’s funny, then, that my early standout isn’t a dance track at all. Nobody Like You is the kind of punchy power pop you’d expect to hear from a guitar-based band rather than a choreo-focused girl group. Yet, its energy fits ITZY perfectly.
Upon hearing the album teaser, this was actually one of the tracks I wasn’t really looking forward to. Taken in isolation, some of the vocal arrangements felt a little shrill to my ears. But hearing the song as a whole instantly negated those fears. Propelled by an arena-ready guitar riff, Nobody’s verses offer an engaging, sing-talk structure that pulls in just enough melody to work. The pre-chorus is even stronger, as backing vocals emerge to support a lower-toned delivery that draws on the members’ personality. As I anticipated, the chorus veers towards shrill at points, but is improved by its layered arrangement and chugging hook. This takes me right back to the fists-in-the-air sing-along choruses of the One Direction era of early 2010’s pop music. There’s nothing wrong with that!
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