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.
Treasure have an admirable roster of vocalists, and I don’t think that’s really been taken advantage when it comes to their title tracks. But leave it to Japan – and specifically, an anime opening theme – to bring out a more melodic element to their sound. Beautiful acts as the latest ending theme for popular series Black Clover. For those keeping track, this is the same franchise that Johnny’s group Snow Man have been tied to. While openings in anime are usually more bombastic, endings tend toward the reflective. Beautiful certainly fits this bill, while retaining enough current trends to stand on its own as a solid pop song.
Beautiful opens with gorgeous harmonies before transitioning to a surging, synth-propelled verse. The vocal performance is soft and evocative, then gathers steam as the pre-chorus introduces more aggressive textures. This leads into a satisfying chorus that brings back those harmonies and melds them to a cresting refrain. The song’s second verse briefly drops into unnecessary trap-breakdown territory, but it’s not completely jarring. I guess the group’s rappers need something to do, even in a pop song like this.
Beautiful never builds toward an amazing climax, but the whole package is so consistently pleasant that it hardly matters. I love songs that just wrap you in a warm sonic embrace. Beautiful doesn’t try to be too ambitious, but its sturdy construction and polished performance make it one of Treasure’s best efforts yet.