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.
Though I would hesitate to call SF9’s 9loryUS a “summer” album, it’s full of up-tempo dance tracks well-suited to the season. It’s also the group’s most consistent release in a while. However, apart from (maybe) the title track, I don’t think there are any songs that truly approach excellence. There’s always something small holding them back, and that usually comes down to melody. When we do hear a standout refrain (All Day All Night), it’s undercut by lackluster, energy-sucking verses.
Of all the b-sides, Go High (미친 것처럼) best replicates the intensity of Summer Breeze. Its thumping electro beat reminds me of Brave Sound tracks like Teen Top’s Rocking, putting emphasis on the instrumental’s lower end for production that sounds imposing and forceful. I love how the beat never sputters to half-time. Even when most of its elements filter out for the bridge, the tempo remains brisk and exciting. K-pop could do with more of this unrelenting energy.
Melodically, there’s not much to Go High. A grand, inventive chorus would have sent this track soaring. Instead, the song anchors itself with a layered, wordless refrain followed by a posturing chant. The result is exciting and fits the vibe of the track, but feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Even so, Go High is a thrilling reminder of K-pop years gone past, when trap was nonexistent and EDM meant “dance” rather than moody instrumental drops.
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