Best of the B-Sides: Vol.01 (KAT-TUN, Kara, PSY, T.M.Revolution)

Longtime readers of The Bias List will know how stingy I am when it comes to rating songs nine and above. But, there’s plenty of music that qualifies. In fact, I’ve got a playlist of over 600 of them sitting in my iTunes. The vast majority of these are singles or title tracks, but there are many b-sides as well.

As a compliment to my Buried Treasures series, I thought it was time to spotlight some of these undervalued gems. Enter, Best of the B-Sides, where I’ll be sharing four non-title tracks that have connected with me in a big way. Korean, Japanese, Chinese… doesn’t matter. Hopefully you’ll find something you like!

KAT-TUN – Triangle

Year released: 2014

This era of KAT-TUN’s discography is stuffed with treasures, but Triangle stands out as something truly special. The chorus here is just mammoth, pulsing and swerving in directions I never expected the first time through. But, it’s that searing electric guitar that bumps this up to legendary status. That extended bridge into the final chorus is just pure bombast in the best possible way.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10

Kara – Follow Me (Ddarawa)

Year released: 2011

Kara’s 2011 Step album isn’t quite as flawless as its title track would suggest, but Follow Me maintains the high-octane dance sound listeners expected. Opening with a pulsating synth riff, the track quickly finds its footing with an addictive chant/sung hook that draws upon the strength of the girls’ layered vocals. The verses are a bit more restrained, but Follow Me never loses its crackling energy.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9

PSY – Stay Up Tonight

Year released: 2010

At its best, PSY’s music finds a way to inject unlikely pop elements into its hip-hop base. His discography’s far more varied in sound than a hit like Gangnam Style would lead you to believe, and that was particularly evident in the years leading up to his big global breakout. Stay Up Tonight thrives on a catchy-as-hell chanted refrain that runs through its verses and chorus. It would be easy for this approach to grow repetitive, but the song’s funk-disco instrumental and unrelenting verve easily keep things moving.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9

T.M.Revolution – Fragile

Year released: 2000

I don’t ever get to talk about him on this site, but late 90’s/early 00’s T.M.Revolution is pretty much musical catnip when it comes to my own taste. A lot of that is down to producer Daisuke Asakura, whose work I slavishly follow. Fragile has one of the most satisfying instrumentals of this era, delivering a perfect build. Its electro-meets-rock foundation is absolutely transcendent, anchored by a dynamite chorus and reliably emotive performance by Nishikawa himself.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.25

8 thoughts on “Best of the B-Sides: Vol.01 (KAT-TUN, Kara, PSY, T.M.Revolution)

  1. Wow I love this feature!

    Triangle was one of the first Kat-tun B-sides I ever listened to and boy do I love it. Isn’t that also the first 10 you’ve given an album track?

    Although Step was in my top 5 best kpop songs of the decade, I never really got around to listening to the album. But Follow me is great! While I don’t think it would have stood out much back then, it feels like pop nirvana now.

    Theoretically, I should love the pay song, but while it’s good it might be my least favourite here.

    And wow is that TM revolution song great! That instrumental is freaking brilliant and almost comes close to topping my favourite jpop instrumental (which is undoubtedly Kat-Tun’s Run for you).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve collected waaay too many high ranking B-sides over the years to start listing them here; now. It’ll be interesting to see where this new theme will go. I’m sure I’ll have something to add in future posts. Everyone.. ..please act shocked.


  3. I am really digging the TMR “Fragile” song for that instrumental. In particular the guitar line does something everyone who has ever picked up an electric guitar does: hit a chord and just let it resonate until it fades into nothingness. Right about 1:40 and 2:50 for example, and other time points too.


    • Kat-Tun – yeah, that electric guitar. Hire a guy, turn the mic on, and say “go”. Just go, go for it, whatever you want to play, shred it. The underlying song is fairly conventional though, almost very 2007 2008 TVXQ era.


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