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.
I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying The Boyz’ The Stealer. Usually, its style of lurching chorus would completely turn me off, but the whole package works quite well. And, the rest of the mini album has its moments too. On the whole, I think it’s a much stronger effort than February’s Reveal. Even their Road to Kingdom track Checkmate carries a renewed charm when placed alongside the other songs. But, I find myself going back to Insanity most often.
While not perfect, Insanity exemplifies so many of my favorite K-pop hallmarks. Its staccato intro (and post-chorus) is ripped straight from SHINee’s discography, sounding like an extension of Taemin’s brilliant Danger. This refrain doesn’t stick around nearly as long as I’d like, but the rest of the track is no slouch, either. The verses pulse with an inventive melody that takes its time. The lines are slow and elongated, but placed over a percussive instrumental that keeps the energy going.
This contrast continues into Insanity’s chorus, which unveils a more fleshed out vocal arrangement as the guys deliver a retro hook that carries a surprising amount of soul. It’s the kind of chorus that improves the more you hear it, especially as further repetitions bring in new and different elements. While Insanity is a dance track, it has a more subtle approach than you’d expect. This gives it a unique place within The Boyz’ discography, and points toward a new direction they’d be wise to pursue further in the future.