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Best of the B-Sides: Vol.04 (Seventeen, M!LK, Rainbow, B1A4)

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!

Vol.01

Vol.02

Vol.03


Seventeen – Shining Diamond

Year released: 2015

It’s almost hard to consider Shining Diamond a b-side. The track functioned as the theme song of Seventeen’s pre-debut reality series, and was the first Seventeen song that most of us heard. As such, it set the tone for the funky, melodically robust style that would define the group’s first few years. At the time, Shining Diamond made me ridiculously excited for Seventeen’s eventual debut, and remains one of the best songs in their discography. I adore the track’s brass-kissed beat, anchored by guitar (both electric and rhythm) and the breathless charisma of the group themselves. To me, this is quintessential Seventeen, and the sound I always wish for them to return to.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.5


M!LK – Thoroughbred Onzoushi City Boy

Year released: 2019

That title alone deserves praise, right? In case you were wondering, “onzoushi” means “’son of a distinguished family,” which will come through when listening to the song’s overlong instrumental introduction. Personally, I’d separate that intro into its own track and get straight to the good stuff. By “good stuff,” I mean cheesy 80’s synthpop. Thoroughbred Onzoushi City Boy is retro pastiche through-and-through, and I love that. Its chorus is basically You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) filtered through a J-pop prism, with all the self-aware humor needed to make that work.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9


Rainbow – Cosmic Girl

Year released: 2013

In general, Rainbow have a much stronger discography than most give them credit for. Cosmic Girl is a definite highlight, surging on a go-for-broke disco beat that incorporates a full strings section for maximum theatricality. The track has a genuine build to it, taking its time to craft an explosive bridge and brassy dance breakdown that makes Cosmic Girl feel like a real moment rather than a throwaway novelty. I can’t think of another K-pop girl group track like it. It feels suited to soundtrack a cheesy 70’s spy movie, and that’s a definite compliment!

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.25


B1A4 – After 10 Years

Year released: 2015

Damn, Jung Jinyoung sure knows how to write a pop song! I can think of no other idol composer who has a better instinct for melody, and that was on full display throughout B1A4’s ballads. After 10 Years is the kind of big, cathartic track that triggers all the right dopamine centers. It surges with a grand sense of weight, like the soundtrack to some epic coming-of-age drama. But, it’s the gorgeous, shimmering chorus that really takes the track home. I adore the melody here. It feels so unique to B1A4, and so emotionally satisfying. That ad-lib by Jinyoung at 3:10 gets me every time. Throughout their career, you really got the sense that this group poured their whole heart and soul into their music.

 Hooks 10
 Production 9
 Longevity 10
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.5

7 thoughts on “Best of the B-Sides: Vol.04 (Seventeen, M!LK, Rainbow, B1A4)

  1. Even though , Sweet Girl is another amazing sound and A great add to B1A4’s untouchable discography , After 10 Years is leagues better , It Has a great melody and emotional heft surrounding everywhere and big moments even though it’s a ballad. First , Lonely now this………. man I love B1A4 so much.

    Also , can you tell me a 10/10 B-side of yours except for Wind , Deep In Love , Triangle or Call And Pray. I don’t discover b-sides that often , so I want to know If there is an awesome one out there.

    Like

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