Feature

Battle of the B-Sides: Seventeen Edition

Battle of the B-sidesK-pop’s title tracks might gain most of listeners’ attention, but many album tracks are worth equal spotlight. I call these “buried treasures.”

Beyond this, K-pop’s albums deliver thousands of additional tracks that settle for a more limited audience. It’s these songs that will become a part of my “battle of the b-sides” feature.

In this feature, I’ll be putting on my A&R hat and taking a listen to five randomly-selected K-pop b-sides. I’ll write a mini review for each, including a Bias List rating, and rank them from least to most favorite. The winner will join a special Bias List B-side playlist. Think of it like my own little agency, hand-selecting songs I’d like to pitch to my nonexistent artists!

This round will be a little different, focusing on the discography of a single artist.

You can check out all rounds of my Battle of the B-sides here!


Battle of the B-sides: Round Fourteen


Seventeen – Hello (2017)


Though I prefer Seventeen at their most energetic, I’m immediately digging Hello’s strong groove. The beat unfurls right from the start, with insistent, crisp percussion. And, the track only grows more effusive from here. I love the gradual addition of instrumentation, from strings to rhythm guitar. It climaxes in an ultra-smooth chorus. This series of hooks has a great sense of lift, resolving nicely to bring us back to the song’s core rhythm. And speaking of rhythm, the funky breakdown in the bridge is all sorts of awesome.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

Seventeen – Rock (2015)


The rugged electro loop that powers Rock immediately signals an EDM track with tons of texture. And while this approach may come at the expense of melody, Rock makes room for a very satisfying pre-chorus. The chanted hook is even catchier, though I’ll always think they’re saying “take me straight down like a jello drop,” which makes absolutely no sense. I also love the percussive breakdown in verse two. In fact, the entire track transitions nicely from one segment to the next, which can sometimes be tricky for songs of this style. This is an early career highlight, for sure!

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

Seventeen – Let Me Hear You Say (2019)


While the instrumental hinges on a few elements I usually dislike (those lurching synths…), Let Me Hear You Say stands as a highlight thanks to its gorgeous melody. I’ve long been obsessed with the two-part pre-chorus in this one. Both refrains are so catchy and well-performed. The chorus has great punch as well. The percussion hits hard, but Seventeen offer a vocal that’s just as impactful. You can feel the emotion dripping from this track, and that gives it an edge among the group’s b-sides.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

Seventeen – Falling For U (2018)


The jazzy undertones of Falling For U give off strong coffeeshop vibes, which is almost certainly intentional. You all know how I feel about this style of pop song. It’s not generally my thing. But, Falling For U compensates with a strong, sweet melody. That keeps the track from becoming boring, even if its energy is still more reserved than what I’d prefer. But as a light, frothy diversion between high-octane bangers, this will certainly do. It’s hard to dislike a song this inoffensive. I can imagine putting this on during the spring and feeling quite relaxed.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

Seventeen – Do Re Mi (2020)


To me, Do Re Mi feels trendier than Seventeen’s best work. It’s definitely catchy, but I feel like I’ve heard the phrasing in the verses so many times before. I prefer the quirky chorus, even with all the vocal effects thrown over the top. But even here, I wish the instrumental would pump up a notch and offer more energy. The performance feels oddly drowsy, which makes it hard to fully lose myself in the track. I appreciate what Seventeen are going for here. I’m just not a huge fan of the sound.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7

My Verdict:


Fifth: Seventeen – Do Re Mi
Fourth: Seventeen – Falling For U
Third: Seventeen – Hello
Second: Seventeen – Rock

First: Seventeen – Let Me Hear You Say


Congratulations to Seventeen’s Let Me Hear You Say – the fourteenth winner of my Battle of the B-sides!

Readers, what do you think? Did you discover any hidden gems? Leave your own ranking in the comments!

30 thoughts on “Battle of the B-Sides: Seventeen Edition

    • Not sure if any of these fit what you might be interested in, but I’m always up for recommending more of DK’s mighty fine voice!

      This concert performance of Say Yes – his duet with Seungkwan – comes across as very emotional to me, I particularly love the bridge and the ending. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMBMLdBcdmU

      Just going to throw Habit in here because I love that song and think it’s one of the vocal team’s best – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zKlo5UOmRM

      His parts in Kidult makes that song outstanding for me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkFmCKjPLyc

      Not just DK, but I really love some of the ad-libs towards the end of this recent live performance of All My Love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov3NRyoIEQ4

      There used to be a video of their performance of Space at the Ode to You concert on YouTube until it suddenly disappeared recently for whatever reasons but anyway, I loved watching that because it felt like his vocals had become more confident? (I don’t know about actual technical improvement but he did mention gaining more confidence in his voice since his initial 2019 run at the Xcalibur musical that he’s now recast in) in comparison to some of their earlier performances of Space, like this one – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4D7pLBQB4I. They’ve also been performing newer versions of some of their older b-sides recently like this one – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFcsPXQWN6U – and it’s very interesting for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DKs voice has completely improved over the course of his idol career, and around the time of 2019 Excaliber it became readily apparent. I have gone on at length about it on other posts, as DK is one of the few idols whose vocal ability has considerably and noticeably improved since debut. I wish Seventeen songs would use his lower register more often, or just give him more lines these days, or even a solo (one can dream).

        Thank for these, they will take me some time to watch all, but I appreciate it.

        Out of curiosity, as service to us all, what magic characters do you use to embed a clickable youtube link in your post without the thumbnail showing up.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know enough to speak about technique myself so I usually refrain from trying to draw conclusions on my own, but it’s great to see that he’s been constantly improving! I agree, I’d love to see more of his lower register too. Perhaps that solo’s coming one of these days, I can’t wait to see more of what he can do. That reminds me, he had this unreleased solo song in concert (all thirteen of them had unreleased solos then) a few years ago that I go back to fairly often – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_iq7T3lK2s

          Haha I have no idea how exactly these links are working. I’m just copy-pasting them into the text box as I type but I wasn’t sure if they’d be clickable until the comment was actually sent, so I’m unfortunately of no help in solving this mystery!

          Liked by 1 person

    • With DK’s shining moments (completely subjective)

      Space – HipHop Unit with DK
      Lie Again – full group (from what I remember, it was your favorite from An Ode)
      Second Life – Vocal Unit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOLGyIKKm3A&ab_channel=SEVENTEEN)
      Just Do it – Booseoksoon
      Habit – Vocal Unit (I’m sure you might’ve heard this one)
      Fast Pace – full group (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_AGRJp1wjM&ab_channel=ALLTHEK-JAM%EC%98%AC%EB%8D%94%EC%BC%80%EC%9D%B4%EC%9E%BC)
      Pinwheel – Vocal Unit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aarBJqitCJE&ab_channel=SEVENTEEN)
      Fly – DK’s unreleased solo song at Ideal Cut concert
      Say yes – DK and Seungkwan duet

      Other favorites:
      I Don’t Know
      Flower (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb2MKdcGcaQ&ab_channel=SEVENTEEN)
      Thinkin’ about You
      Run to You
      What Kind of Future – Woozi’s unreleased solo song from Ideal Cut
      Simple
      My I

      Bonus: One of my most nostalgic Vocal Unit performances (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utJ_ImZooKk&ab_channel=DoKyumofTheSun)

      OMG.. I’m so sorry for the looong list

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dude you GOT to check out seventeen’s cover of “Tell Me” on Immortal Songs and their performance of “Clap” for the “Ode to you” tour. DK POPS OFF (Seungkwan too!! Seventeen as a whole is such a powerful house vocal group ahshdbdbd)

      Like

      • Some B-sides to check out that I love (these aren’t the vocal highlights, but b-sides you should still check out at least if you haven’t heard them before.)
         Kidult (The song is really vulnerable and colorful, it’s comforting but not too slow, some parts can be filler though but when it’s good, it’s great. DK’s part is amazing, Hoshiiiii really pops off too.)
         Second Life (The song reminds me of Sunflower (Post Malone), but not. It’s Vocal unit song and can be boring to some, but I like it a lot, Dk/Seungkwan sound excellent as always too. Woozi/Jeonghan kinda pop off and really stand out here.)
         Our Dawn is Hotter than Day (he song can be “boring” but it’s chill and enjoyable, Joshua and Jeonghan’s soft voices juxtaposed with Vernon/Mingyu voices give it color and interest.)
         Without You (Grower that gets better and better, interesting and building production, DWC http://2.DK/Woozi/Seungkwan before the chorus is just adhfadfkak (especially in the second half of the song) Hoshi’s part is simple but colorful, Dino with Vernon is always a good combo)
         19 (Fun, Summery, Youthful fun, Dk sounds so sweet, even for such a simple song but he sounds still emotional, Hoshi in the chorus)
         Thinkin about you (Fun, energetic, and drive. Instant earworm. DK in the chorus is so short but beautiful, Hoshi/Seungkwan/DK in this is great!)
         Beautiful (Really youthful too, melodic and satisfying. Easily could have been a title track. Dk in the chorus is just beautiful and fantastic. Really catchy but not in an annoying way)

        Like

  1. Seventeen got an extremely nice discography but apart from Let Me Hear You Say, I don’t really vibe with the four other songs here. They’re good, but they have tons of better stuff in my opinion.

    With that being said, I LOVE Let Me Hear You Say. It’s such a fun, bright song. Every single time the chorus comes I would be singing along “baby chocolate bodadeo” and whatever comes next.

    Like

    • (also, did they really say “take me straight down like a jello drop”? I’ve always thought it was “gyro drop” all this time, which, would’ve made much more sense, but I guess I’ve finally learned the correct way today…)

      Like

      • I took one for the team, and looked up the lyric video, and it says they are technically saying “gyro drop”, although I can imagine “jello drop” making sense as in jello shots – though they were almost all underage at the time of this song.

        Speaking of which, most of the rest of the lyrics are rather naughty aren’t they? Woozi, just what was on your mind with lyrics like these: My body stiffens as I look at you. Rock my head. Take me straight down like a gyro drop.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I feel like this is could just be wonderfully awkward phrasing in the translation? Sounds to me like ‘I freeze when I look at you’ ‘bang my head’ and the other one doesn’t sound very double entendre-y to me whatsoever – love feels like a free fall drop.

          Like

      • Gyro Drop is the name of a tower drop ride at Lotte World, a popular amusement park in Seoul. That’s most likely what the lyric is referencing, the “pit of your stomach” feeling of being dropped = being dropped emotionally by a crush or something lol

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think so too. I quite like rock and falling for u but they definitely have stronger and more unique tracks in their record. On the ballad side, Habit is really strong, though my personal bias is pinwheel with its airy, delicate and spacious feel. Thinkin’ about you and shhh are bursting with energy. I expected moonwalker to make the cut but oh well.

      Like

  2. This was a fun collection of b-sides, not ones that immediately come to mind for me in terms of my personal favourites from them but that’s what makes this feature more exciting! It’s interesting that 3/5 songs featured here aren’t actually full group songs, but units from various combinations (and yet none of those combinations is the traditional vocal/performance/hip hop unit structure haha) – something I’ve always liked about Seventeen’s discography is their ability to take advantage of combinations like this sometimes.

    It sometimes surprises me that Hello was one of their earliest songs (though of course the studio version on Teen,Age is more polished than the version they performed on 17TV), it comes across as very assured in its melody for me as well and I quite like that groove. Honestly, Rock is one of those b-sides I tend to skip when just listening (though I do watch their performances for the energy) because I find it a great song but just not one of my absolute favourites from them – I have to say I’m with you about mishearing the ‘gyro drop’ line though lol. LMHYS is one of my highlights from their discography (and one of the songs I loved at first listen from An Ode, though I’ve gone on to like more songs from that album since…) – there’s just something so joyous and bright and catchy which is such an instant mood-lifter. Falling For You is kind of exactly what I would have expected from a Joshua and Jeonghan song – light and airy coffeehouse vibes – and I’m a sucker for it even if I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to search for and listen to it always. Do Re Mi took some time to grow on me as well, but honestly it’s the catchiness of the lyrics in the chorus (and the fact that Dino’s vocals sound so good?!) which makes it for me.

    Like

  3. Falling for U has always been the biggest bore for me especially when we can compare it to the rest of the tracks in the ‘special album’: Thanks, Thinking about U and Run to You.
    Ironically, the shuffle picked out my least favorite tracks from their respective albums except for Do Re Mi. I’m in the minority here but it was super catchy for me even when the best song (on principle) Hey Buddy! didn’t become a repetitive listen for me.

    Like

  4. Seventeen really does have such an outstanding discography. I’m glad they got their own feature! 🙂

    Teen, age was such a fantastic album that I always keep on repeat. ‘Hello’ is just such an enjoyable, chill song (plus more DK/Jun vocals!) with a simple, yet efficient production.

    Not gonna lie, I always skip ‘Rock’. It’s not usually the sound I go for (though I’m playing it again today and it sounds better than I remember?). The vocals and the instrumental production is great, though. *totally about rocks, you dirty-minded fools. svt loves, you know, natural sciences cries*

    An Ode is also a great album and ‘LMHYS’ is one of my favorite tracks off it. The pro-chorus is just bliss and the chorus is so excited *carat noises*. 9/10 for me. Not gonna lie, I never noticed the synth until you mentioned but I actually love it. The melodies and lyrics are fantastic.

    Falling for you has got to be the worst track on that album. Luckily, “Director’s Cut” is good stuff, so it’s not that bad but definitely a forgettable and rather a lull.

    Do Re Mi is trendy and whatever, but I actually love it still. I know, I don’t like SVT being trendy, but… the song is good *cries*. It’s so catchy and engagingly fun, but I respect your rating.

    **just because you never mention it, what are your thoughts on Kidult?

    Like

  5. I’d hoped you were going to include Say Yes, which to be honest is one of my favourite SVT b-sides even though I typically skip ballads. The delivery of the lines and the chords just never fail to make me tear up.

    Like

    • That’s a great one! Unfortunately, I’m at the mercy of my “shuffle” button with this feature. Whichever songs pop up are the ones I include 🙂

      Like

  6. I missed this. Saw the theme, Seventeen Edition, at 2:00 AM and was like… I’ll save that tomorrow haha. Unlike the Red Velvet edition, I’ve never heard of any of these songs.

    First thing, I love the piano and synth instrumentals of Hello. It’s got such a bubbly and bright sound. I do think their vocals are a tad low volume-wise but other than that it’s a nice song. It’s not a song I would reach for, but one I’d stumble into over and over and still listen to the end. It’s a great song.

    You’re right that Rock’s pre-chorus is such a great injection of some much needed melody in this song. I don’t think I’m much interested in most of the song though. The first verse was numbingly rap without much else. The chorus started becoming annoying though after a few seconds, just not a fan of the sound and the hook. I liked the old-school drummed up starts of the second verse. Even the bridge is intensely starry in a good way, but having a bad chorus just means I won’t attempt to listen to this ever again.

    I’m usually a fan of this kind of song, but I think there’s something about it that’s not quite an instant banger. Let Me Hear You Say is good. It’s a nice EDM song, and there’s a strong melody pretty much everywhere in this song. It’s chorus isn’t my favorite but it does it’s job. I don’t know, I’m don’t think I’m quite in the right mood to enjoy this sound to the fullest. Too dramatic maybe?

    I realize I like coffehouse music more than I thought I did. Fallin For U already has a decent melody and the instruments and vibe are all in my ballpark but it can feel stale at times. The vocals are a bit too whisper-y sometimes I suppose, and the instrument a bit too repetitive.

    I definitely agree with you in Do Re Mi. Drowsy. I don’t think I quite like the sound as much as you do, plus there’s a couple times when the vocal effects sound more iffy. Plus, I’m not that big a fan of the chorus anyway. I like the somewhat jazzy bridge, but the entire thing also has a bit of vocal effects that don’t quite work for me anyway. Yeah, not my thing.

    Do Re Mi <<< Rock <<<<< Fallin For U < Let Me Hear You Say < Hello

    I think I liked Hello more than Let Me Hear You Say but none of the songs quite caught my attention this time. There were decent ones, but none of them I would listen further unlike the previous Battles.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.