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.
A few years ago, UP10TION were one of K-pop’s most promising rookies. But after a string of highlights, the quality of their title tracks dipped and their sound became more fragmented. Their post-Produce 101 career has been a bit of a mish-mash, with their two most popular members focusing on solo careers rather than promoting with the group. Still, there’s usually at least one track on an UP10TION album that’s worthy of attention.
In the case of Light Up, that track has to be Stop the Clock. While the rest of the album struggles to find strong melodies, the punchy funk-pop here is irresistible from the start. If I had my way, the guys would have promoted Clock as a title track, spawning renewed interest in their music. It’s not that we haven’t heard this song’s tricks a million times before, but Stop the Clock channels them into a tight, satisfying workout that stands as the album’s most insistent moment.
This track is almost fully designed with my taste in mind. The rhythmic instrumental pulses with the kind of energy found in singles like EXO’s Love Me Right, and the verses build toward a great chorus that pairs an anthemic melody with a more staccato, percussive hook. Verse two keeps the momentum moving at a clip and the bridge pulls back just enough to make the finale count. The entire thing is a bit reductive, which prevents it from rating higher. But, Clock simplifies itself via a classic K-pop sound that will always appeal to me. When I talk about missing music from the industry’s “second generation,” this is largely the style I’m referring to.