Review

Buried Treasure: Mirae – Don’t Stop

Mirae - Don't StopA 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.


It’s very common for K-pop acts to release one or two b-sides that are stronger than their title track, but rarely is the title the weakest thing on the album! I was probably too harsh on Mirae’s Splash earlier this week. It’s a perfectly fine – even enjoyable – song. But, it pales in comparison to every one of its b-sides. Compared to these tracks, Splash is just so… faceless. For a group who emerged earlier this year with a fully-formed musical personality, this release baffles me.

As an album, Splash is more cohesive than Mirae’s debut. We don’t get much of the glitchy electro pop that made Killa such a standout, but the guys reveal other musical avenues that are nearly as fun. Bang-Up and New Days would have made fantastic titles, but I’m partial to the rap-rock burst of Don’t Stop. This is a genre I’ve always loved, and K-pop usually pulls it off pretty well.

This is a great way to show off Mirae’s rap line — an asset the agency seems to be pushing. Don’t Stop’s attitude-fueled verses are a ton of fun, supported by hearty blasts of electric guitar. But, the rest of the group isn’t forgotten. An exciting pre-chorus gives the vocalists a chance to shine before we careen back into a hip-hop chorus. This refrain is super catchy from first listen, and will certainly have you nodding your head. With just one track, Mirae are able to showcase so much more personality than the ultra-generic Splash allows. It’s a shame Don’t Stop gets buried as track four on the album!

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


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14 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Mirae – Don’t Stop

  1. I much prefer “Bang-Up” and It’s my favorite song in the album. It kind of reminds me alot like “Fantastic Baby” and that anthemic ending is just really, really satisfying.

    But Don’t Stop is also good, you all know how I am a huge fan of electric guitar and that shout-along hook is a total treat!

    Like

  2. I am right with you on the rap-rock style so this is unsurprisingly also my favorite b-side. It feels like the rappers are more prominent on this EP than on the last one, which is okay by me even though I miss the electro pop.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so cheerful and so 90s. It reminds me a bit of what NCT did with Misfit. And lots of powerful Junhyuk rap is a great thing for me. He’s so clearly my favorite, just pure power all the way.

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    • I was going to say it reminded me of “Misfit” too! That is one of my favourite bsides last year.

      Maybe MIRAE are like…. music cousins or something. NCT’s “Superhuman” and MIRAE’s “Killa”, and now “Misfit” and “Don’t Stop” from their respective artists.

      Of course it’s not a completely copy (and in no way I’m implying it here that MIRAE copied NCT for any fellow readers who stumble upon this comment). It’s simply approaching the same musical terrain, but both artists take a different approach to those songs. It’s different. Unique.
      And most importantly (and subjectively), those four songs are great 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • I love that you said music cousins. I’m obsessed with the concept of song cousins and song couples on my Spotify.

        Here’s a favorite one where Killa and Superhuman live together.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You used the best examples I could bring! The Rampage’s Swag and Pride also deserves a big mention. One of my favorite J-pop Songs of all time!

        Like

      • B.A.P! I absolutely love their songs (I call myself a fan; a year after they disbanded…). I can’t believe I forgot about “Power”. That’s definitely in line with rap rock! Happy to see the love for B.A.P still here in 2021.

        Rock is one of my favourite genres, so I’m already biased for any rock-heavy song. The rapping matching with the genre’s fitting energy? That’s a huge bonus.

        And I must say “Fullmetal Trigger” is an experience. Like, wow.
        It’s just bursting with lots of energy (the guitars? that bridge?). I love the production in this song!
        J-pop is still very foreign to me aside from anime OSTs, opening and ending songs, so more J-pop songs to add to my playlist is definitely appreciated hehe.

        Thank you for the song recommendations Nick!

        Liked by 1 person

    • I like rap-rock more after hating it for a loooooong time. (I was inundated by a lot of bad rap-rock in the 90s). Still would love to see a Korean System of a Down analogue.

      Like

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