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.
The Boyz’s Japanese releases are a little confusing because the vast majority of them are performed in Korean. But it’s not like I’m fluent (or even conversational!) in either language, so I guess it doesn’t matter much. The group released their first full J-pop album this week, preceded by title track Breaking Dawn. I enjoyed that song more than most seemed to, but the guys missed a big opportunity by not picking album-opener Prism for promotions.
This song is excellent, and exactly the energy, style and panache I’d hope to hear from The Boyz. Prism stuns right out of the gate, introducing itself with dramatic flourishes of electric guitar and percussion as the throbbing beat begins to pull into form. This climaxes in the track’s oft-repeated command of “elevate.” The word cuts like a knife, clearing the way for the bass to kick in and the serpentine verse to slink its way forward. This is SHINee-level good, and I don’t say that lightly.
From here, Prism brings back the guitar before dropping into its airy chorus. This is an extremely stylish sound, light on its feet but anchored by thundering electronics. I love how the second verse incorporates rap in a different way than we’ve become used to. I wish more idol rappers would experiment with their flow and delivery. The hushed performance feels evocative and atmospheric and matches the tone of the track perfectly.
As if this wasn’t enough, Prism builds toward a layered power note, releasing the tension the song has built so expertly up to that point. As The Boyz embark on next month’s Kingdom, I hope they’ll be bringing some of this flair with them.