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.
Seventeen’s Home;Run is a fun return-to-form for the group. I may not love it as much as most of you do, but it’s grown on me slightly and I appreciate its go-for-broke energy. With that said, part of me wishes for a world where b-side Hey Buddy had been fleshed out with all members and promoted as a title track. Instead, Buddy is one of the album’s unit tracks, performed by The8, Mingyu and DK. And, although the two tracks are of different genres, it actually shares a lot of connective tissue with Home;Run.
Hey Buddy uses big splashes of brass to power its funk-pop frame, but adds a groovy bass that gives the instrumental a stickier rhythm. I think the production choices are particularly good here, but that could just be my bias for funk pop talking. Either way, the track is all rhythm, like a coiled spring ready to pounce at every turn. It’s an effortless party-starter, in a year where we could all use more good energy.
Hey Buddy isn’t particularly melodic, but in this case I think that’s okay. Melody isn’t key to the song’s appeal, as the bass and brass take center stage and compensate for the track’s comparatively throwaway hooks. To make an extremely specific comparison, there are many parts of Buddy (especially its chorus) that remind me of Jeong Jinwoon’s 2016 single Will. I doubt whether this was intentional given how obscure that song is, but the two certainly make a striking pair.