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.
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!