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 overriding opinion on STAYC’s ASAP seems to be one of mild disappointment — at least on this blog. In an unexpected turn, I think I actually like it more than a lot of you do, though it pales in comparison to last year’s So Bad. Thankfully, the b-sides are pretty strong this time around. More importantly, they show a sense of range that gives me hope for the group’s future.
When it comes to K-pop girl groups, we don’t often hear songs like Love Fool (사랑은 원래 이렇게 아픈 건가요). It has a muted quality miles away from the chirpy pop favored by many of STAYC’s peers. The leisurely melody conjures images of a hot summer afternoon or lazy Sunday morning, and shines spotlight on STAYC’s strong and diverse set of vocal tones. The overall sound reminds me of YG Entertainment’s more laidback material. I could imagine Bigbang recording something like this, or even BLACKPINK (when they’re not trying to be all edgy cool).
Love Fool opens with gorgeous droplets of synth before its gentle percussion kicks in. Guitar soon joins the fray, alongside hazy backing vocals as the track begins to fill out for its chorus. The melody here is quite evocative, but my favorite segment occurs during Love Fool’s pre-chorus. The vocal has a tug to it that really sells the sentiment. I can’t imagine STAYC ever promoting something like this as a title track, but I’d love to see them explore a more upbeat version of this sound. Maybe for summer?