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.
As great as 2021 has been in K-pop, I’m still waiting for this era’s girl group trends to appeal to me. During “the great drought of July,” I’ve found myself returning to second gen girl group discographies. Songs by artists like Kara, SNSD, Nine Muses, Sistar, T-ara and Girl’s Day still hold up so well, yet their general sound is all-but absent from today’s output. It’s a gap in the market that’s just waiting to be filled, and a song like Dreamcatcher’s Whistle does exactly that. There’s no sing-talk or chanting. The instrumental has a fullness and weight. The girls perform unaffected. It boasts a chorus that’s not simply a series of onomatopoeia’s. “Attitude” isn’t its overriding purpose.
In short, it’s super refreshing.
Dreamcatcher are a likely conduit for this style, even if it doesn’t match their rock roots. They’ve been doing their own thing for years now, largely unbothered by overarching trends. Whistle is a much lighter sound than they’ve become associated with, but it harnesses the robust melody and sleek energy found in many of their EDM-flavored tracks. Whistle doesn’t feel like it’s forcing itself to be anything beyond a solid pop song, and that straightforward drive is appreciated.
I’m not a huge fan of the whistled hook (you all know how I feel about whistles in pop music), but given the title, I’d be foolish to have other expectations! Instead, my ears focus on the lovely vocals and that insistent instrumental. Right from the start, Whistle’s production is resonant and rounded, blending to create a hearty blend of low and high end that feels so satisfying. The mix becomes even more exciting as guitar joins for the pre-chorus. And then, we’ve got an evocative chorus to round it all out. I wonder if Dreamcatcher’s agency would ever consider releasing a title track in this style?