A K-pop act’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.
Changmin led the campaign for new album Devil with his strongest material. Its title track is solid, but pre-releases Maniac and Fever easily outshine it. While Maniac took a hard swerve into new territory, Fever draws upon the strength of the classic TVXQ sound.
Producer Yoo Young-Jin has been involved in a ton of (mostly NCT) music over the past few years, but rarely do we see a track with just his name attached. I know the “song camp” approach to composition is insanely popular now, but many of my absolute favorite K-pop tracks have spawned from a singular vision – or at least a very close-knit group of frequent collaborators. Young-Jin was the sole mind behind so many legendary TVXQ tracks, and he carries that specific vision to Fever.
I will always love this dramatic, spine-tingling K-pop sound. Fever is powerful and ear-catching, from its jazzy introduction to those sky-high vocals that make up the chorus. The hook is simple, but the execution is so great that it doesn’t need melodic diversions. Changmin sounds otherworldly, rattling off power notes as if we’ve been transported right back to TVXQ’s heyday. You don’t get this style of track anywhere else, which isn’t something I can say about most K-pop these days. Every element is larger-than-life. The percussion strikes with resounding force. The guitar shreds. The vocals are chorused to high heaven. Yet, the drama is completely earned. It builds upon an incredible legacy.
damn, one month into 2022 and we’re starting strong
It’s so full of swag and fire. Really crazy around the eyes. Seriously, my Twitter timeline lost their mind when this aired on SMtown. Half of us were, “yay Max, steal that show!” and the rest were “WHO IS HE? I MUST STAN NOW!”
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I love Changmin, I love Yoo Young Jin, this was basically made for me. It earnestly sounds so much like a KYHD b-side that was left out. I felt the same thing with Yunho’s Thank U. Maybe SM is reusing their leftovers?
By the way, today I published my top songs of the year, I’d love it if you all could check it out!
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I’m too busy gushing over that piano solo that’s squished between epic guitar shreds so all I’m going to say is that Changmin absolutely slays this villain-esque sound.
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I watched Fever for the first time durring the SM Town New Year’s eve concert and it was easily the highlight of the night. I have always known that TVXQ are basically kpop gods but given I only got into kpop in 2018 I never really paid attention to them properly. Yet every single second of fever demanded my undivided attention and I think for the first time I fully understood why they are the legends they are. Fever is a tour de force of talent, powered by the sheer nerve that comes with knowing your going to absolutely kill it.
After a while as a kpop fan you get used to a certain level of skill but then every once and awhile you have those increasingly rare moments when you are genuinely shook by how good something is. Kpop is stuffed with talent but this is a whole new level. Honestly it reminds of my first few weeks as a kpop fan when I stumbled upon Shinee’s tokyo dome stages. Both those stages and fever possess the rare combination of almost inhuman levels of skill combined with the confidence of performers who know exactly what they are doing. From beginning to end its a wonder to witness.
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Everything about Fever is close to perfection.
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This one is Interesting with a capital I.
The best part, besides the bonkers bombastic construction, is the piano. It also has that popular boom-clap thing going on, a la Imagine Dragon’s “Believer” and others.
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Favorite Max song, and what do you know, just like how Red Velvet’s Psycho was similar to OneRepublic’s Secrets, Majors’ Dancing in the Starlit Night same as Alan Walker’s Alone, Fever is basically Imagine Dragon’s Believer.
I’m noticing a trend that the kpop songs that are in my all time favs that I found mind blowing are typically a clone of a popular Western song that I’ve already heard a decade ago.
Would love to have one on that list that is purely uninspired and completely Korean for once