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.
It wasn’t GHOST9’s debut single that first got me into their music. I’ve since come around to it, but the album tracks were the real selling point for me. GHOST9 has a real adventurous side, and they’d do well to harness that further. I feel like they’re *this* close to excellence, but occasionally get tripped up by trying to replicate their peers (see: Seoul’s verses). Still, they’ve got a knack for a killer chorus. Though I’m not featuring it here, album track Uno deserves attention for its towering hook. That song is totally awesome.
Also awesome is the strangely-titled Starvoy. The song is basically “boy group covers WJSN,” down to a co-write from the e.one team. This is a welcome development, as I can never get enough of this sound. The song delivers on the retro flair some of their teasers were promising, offering a chugging dance beat with 90’s house piano and a slinky, satisfying drop. This isn’t “big-chorused GHOST9,” but it proves that they can pull off a variety of sounds.
I love the vocal phrasing in this track, particularly during the verses and pre-chorus. Starvoy plays like a coiled spring, unlocking groove after groove without stopping for breath. It gets a bit meandering at times, but always circles back to its rhythmic hook. And this might sound like a small detail, but I appreciate how the track finishes with an extended instrumental outro. I wouldn’t be upset if they continued this energy even longer than that.