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Best of the B-Sides: Vol.05 (ONER, f(x), SHINee, Sexy Zone)

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

Vol.04


ONER – Missing You

Year released: 2019

All of ONER’s material is well worth seeking out, but the delicate, emotional Missing You has a special place in my heart. Sometimes all it takes is one perfectly-placed instrumental element to make a song soar. The bulk of Missing You is typical (but very good) boyband balladry. However, the addition of a gorgeously textured brass flourish elevates the entire track. I can’t explain it, but that brass sample alone gets me weirdly emotional. Taken in tandem with the melodic crest of the chorus, it’s downright compelling. It helps that the sound perfectly compliments the group’s vocal color. When the instrumental briefly dips out to shine full spotlight on those voices during Missing You’s climax, I’m putty in the song’s hands.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.25


f(x) – Rude Love

Year released: 2015

I’ve always said that I’m more attached to f(x) b-sides than title tracks, and Rude Love is a great example of that. The 4 Walls album is consistently great, but ever since its release this song struck me as a title track just begging for promotion. f(x) play their club sound to the hilt, grooving on 90’s house piano and brisk percussion. The verses are an awesome showcase for building anticipation, which only makes Rude Love’s mammoth chorus hit harder when it finally drops. The production here is note-perfect – simple and uncluttered, but incredibly powerful. I love how the second verse kicks up the energy another notch. And if that wasn’t enough, a catchy, clipped vocal loop offers a secondary hook as the track bounds toward its finale.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.25


SHINee – Queen Of New York

Year released: 2013

SHINee’s Everybody mini album is perfection from start to finish, but Queen Of New York is its funkiest moment. The verses are pure, groove-driven bliss as the guys growl their way through an incredibly rhythmic melody. This segment cruises into a brighter, funk-infused pre-chorus that injects stabs of retro synth to brilliant effect. Finally, we hit the airy, nimble structure of Queen’s chorus, which bounds forward with timeless energy. Most importantly, the track never subjects itself to a lull in momentum. The percussion is steady and assured throughout, and that goes a long way toward making this a modern classic.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.5


Sexy Zone – Ignition Countdown

Year released: 2018

Ignition Countdown is a fantastic encapsulation of a certain Johnny’s sound I tend to gravitate toward. The synth-driven percussion and sprightly rhythm guitar blend funk influence with harder-hitting electronic pop. Rock guitar adds a bombastic touch, giving the track a larger-than-life appeal that continues across its layered, multi-part chorus. Every Johnny’s group has at least a handful of tracks in this vein, but Sexy Zone’s strong cache of voices makes for a particularly good match. Ignition Countdown crackles with energy from start to finish, galloping through a series of hooks that climaxes with an extended chant guaranteed to get you off your feet.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.25

9 thoughts on “Best of the B-Sides: Vol.05 (ONER, f(x), SHINee, Sexy Zone)

  1. That one may be my favorite f(x) b-side, and that’s saying a lot. Déjà Vu, Traveler, Papi… are all amazing but I also ser Rude Love as 4 Walls’ crown jewel.
    It’s just so… impassioned. Emotional dance pop of the highest order.

    Like

  2. Rude Love was my least favorite when they released the track previews for each song, but when the album got released, it instantly became my favorite.

    Like

  3. oh, Miss Rude Love is THAT girl!! it would have been nice to even get one live performance but eh – not happening any time soon for sure.

    Like

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