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.
WJSN have released yet another strong mini album, though I fear they’re beginning to drift from that spacey synth sound I love so much about their music. Of course, they have every right to do this. It’s been over five years since their debut, and every group needs to change eventually. But, my selfish side longs for another I-Yah.
There are several songs on this album that could have been chosen as buried treasures, though none of them totally knocked me out. The synth-fueled New Me comes closest, despite having a more subdued energy than many of the other tracks. So many groups nowadays are riffing on 80’s synth textures, but often they just throw that ornamentation over a standard K-pop track and call it a day. But, New Me is all about its synth-driven beat. In fact, without the instrumental I don’t think the song would be nearly as impressive.
That’s not to take away from the girls themselves, who give a much more compelling and nuanced performance here than on title track Unnatural. I especially love the rap verses, which trigger a stripped-back arrangement that perfectly spotlights their charismatic delivery. New Me’s chorus has a gorgeous, harmonized sound as well, though I think the melody could be a bit stronger. Still, with all those satisfying synth flourishes anchoring the track, there’s no way it could fail. And just when you think New Me is over, it comes roaring back for one final, fade-out salvo. If WJSN are intent on growing their sound, I think this is a great template to follow.