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.
Tucked away on the end of an album that could only be described as ‘loud and swaggy,’ we find a hidden gem.
That loud swagginess can be fun in small bursts, such as the first half of the self-referential track Omega X, but the production feels all over the place. And, this is why I’m always ranting about the importance of composers. The first three songs on Omega X’s debut are crafted by AnoTHeR and HOYAS. I’ve never heard of these producers, but my taste clearly differs from theirs. However, as soon as the album moves onto a different composer, it’s like the musical waters have parted.
I haven’t heard of FAB either, and with just two other credits to their name (IZ*ONE’s Panorama and Mona’s Pizza) it’s hard to get a clear picture of their work. But, Younger is a fantastic jumping-on point. If Omega X had been pitched with a lighter sound and image, it would have made an incredible title track as well.
As you might expect from its title, Younger is all about nostalgia. The song even opens with children’s voices (presumably the guys themselves?). The members had a hand in writing the lyrics, which gives the song a personal touch. But for me, Younger’s true triumph comes via its guitar-laced propulsion, anthemic hook and emotive vocal performance. This is miles away from title track Vamos, and I mean that as a major compliment. It’s got all the great sentiment of a ballad, tied to the surging energy of a dance track. It just goes to show how big a role concept and genre plays in a comeback or debut.