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.
Nu’est Romanticize is far stronger than its title track suggests. Songs like Dress and Black are groovy as hell, in ways that are more interesting than Inside Out’s familiar deep house throb. The album ends with a solo track by each member, further expanding Romanticize’s sonic diversity. JR’s Doom Doom is a fun, instrumental-heavy dance song. But, Ren’s Rocket Rocket steals the show.
I’ve always thought Ren was an ideal choice for solo work. This might just be my perception, but it seems like he has a slightly more expansive idea of pop music than some of his group mates. I doubt whether his hypothetical solo album would simply be an extension of Nu’est’s own style. He’s often cited Lady Gaga as an inspiration, and that kind of bombastic, theatrical pop would suit him well.
It’s no surprise, then, that Rocket Rocket is the biggest sounding track on the album. I’m in love with its rave-meets-rock production, where the electronic elements distort themselves in textures reminiscent of electric guitar. I could do with more of a traditional chorus, but the energy is so blistering that it hardly matters. This kind of song will get your pulse racing. I’m actually surprised that Rocket is a Bumzu/Prismfilter production. It feels completely different than most of their recent material. This only goes to show the importance of an artist’s influence. Ren’s personality drives this high-octane club track, even when he’s not singing. With any luck, this will be the start of a boundary-pushing solo career.