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.
Forgive the obvious reference, but the first three tracks on Mirae’s debut mini album are “Killa.” The rest of the album is solid as well, but these songs – taken one after another – paint a picture of who Mirae hopes to be within the idol world. I love when rookies deliver this kind of musical continuity, and a large part of that rollout hinges on collaboration with a tight group of composers. We Are Future and Killa share several composers – familiar names like Ryan Jhun, Andy Love and TAK. This results in the perfect one-two punch to introduce Mirae’s career.
We Are Future isn’t quite as good as Killa, but it works as an opening salvo and statement of intent. It’s cheesy in the way that a lot of my favorite K-pop tends to be, and fueled by a hard-hitting electronic beat that keeps the energy generating. The thundering production during the pre-chorus has a “Beyond the Thunderdome” sense of cinematic heft, while the post-chorus surge recalls SM greats like SHINee and SuperM.
Like Killa, We Are Future’s verses are largely dominated by rap, but the crunchy beat gives the guys plenty to work with and these segments are really fun. The chorus brings an injection of funk, offering a simple, catchy hook that’s delivered with a swaggering bravado. Also reminiscent of Killa, the final minute builds to a resounding crescendo that sends the track off on a high.