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.
When listening to NCT’s Resonance Part 1, I’m struck with the thought that the album’s concept and configuration is a lot more exciting than the music itself. Resonance is solid all the way through, but doesn’t really break any ground within NCT’s exhaustive discography. I’m still hoping for this 23-member project to deliver music as immense as its level of talent, but I think my hopes are misplaced. In my mind, there’s never been a better conduit for SM to channel a Rising Sun Pt. 2. I mean, if any project warranted music that bombastic and over-the-top, it would be NCT. Right?
Well, it appears that SM would rather steer toward the vibe that’s been working so far, and I can hardly blame them. This means that most of Resonance is comprised of strong, but unspectacular, K-pop. There aren’t really any showstoppers here. The closest we get is NCT Dream’s Deja Vu (무대로). The track sticks out within the context of the album, harnessing a more upbeat sound to great effect. It’s further proof that Dream is a unit to be reckoned with.
Over a carnival-like beat, Deja Vu unveils a playful melody that’s more chant than traditional pop song. Its stomping percussion is incredible, and supplies the track with great energy. I’m a firm believer that the best pop songs are highlighted by an excellent second verse. That’s why you so often see me lament the half-time breakdowns that have plagued K-pop’s second verses over the past few years.
A great second verse is worth its weight in gold, and works magic when it comes to building (and retaining) momentum. Deja Vu’s second verse is incredibly fun, intensifying the percussion and bringing a great sense of rhythm as we slide toward the song’s exhilarating pre-chorus. I can’t help but wonder how immensely satisfying Resonance might have sounded if more of its tracks embraced this kind of energy.