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.
It’s been heartening to watch Oh My Girl finally secure a well-deserved number one song. I just wish it was something better than Nonstop! But, the charts don’t care much about song quality. They’re much more dependent on an artist’s current buzz and momentum — especially when it comes to idol groups. And coming off of last year’s Queendom, Oh My Girl’s name is on everyone’s lips. Imagine what they could be doing right now with a title track as epic as Remember Me or The Fifth Season!
Neon isn’t particularly epic, but it’s my favorite moment on the group’s new mini album. It’s probably too straightforward to be a successful title track, even if that consistency is its strength. These days, it’s so hard to find a K-pop song whose verses are as strong as its chorus. In Neon’s case, the verses are actually the highlight. They’ve got a great retro kick to them, underlined by a tight electro stomp that takes strong influence from the chiptune sub-genre. The melody is instantly addictive here, swerving in a delightful arrangement that capitalizes on the girls’ lower register.
In contrast, Neon’s chorus is all rousing, sunny bubblegum pop. It feels like a spiritual successor to last year’s Bungee, but in the best way possible. I love the effects used in the backing vocals, which cast the girls as new wave warriors and successfully bring a novel sound to their repertoire. To me, this is easily the most exciting and notable track on the album, even if it’s not quite as dramatic as their very best material.
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