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.