A K-pop group’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. 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.
Dreamcatcher’s Road to Utopia is a fantastic mini. In fact, song for song, I think it might be my favorite Dreamcatcher album yet. I really appreciate how it infuses a techno edge to the group’s rock sound. Their albums have long featured at least one electropop track as a b-side, but Utopia manages to weave that sound across several songs, even if the guitars usually remain front and center. This is most evident during the album’s excellent intro, which – in a perfect world — would form the basis of every Edenary-produced track going forward.
Given my taste, it’s probably not surprised that I chose the pulsing Poison Love to write about today. But, I actually think I would have preferred the also-excellent Wind Blows as a title track. That song feels like a step forward for the group, without completely abandoning their core style.
Poison Love is a bit more daring, and all the better for it. The track is an atmospheric synth-driven banger, at once reserved and aggressive. The verses deliver a subdued, descending melody that paints mood while retaining a sense of purposeful melody. The pre-chorus is a real standout, growing the soundscape as the performance becomes more dramatic and intense.
We’re then pulled into a super satisfying drop, as the addictive chorus is underlined by pulsing electronics. It stays just shy of the throbbing psy-trance Stray Kids dabbled in during much of 2019. This time, it’s tethered closely to the melody rather than acting as a centerpiece of its own. I just love the steady kick during the chorus. It creates a driving energy that keeps interest building until we hit Poison Love’s incredible climactic note. This is where the instrumental really gets going, chugging with renewed strength as we head to the track’s finale. I would love to hear an entire album of this style. It feels incredibly fresh within today’s K-pop landscape.