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.
TVXQ’s Yunho just released his new Japanese album, heralded by title track Kimi wa Saki e Iku. And while I don’t think there’s anything on the album that matches his best work, it’s a very consistent collection of songs. Apart from ballad Easy To Know, the vibe is decidedly groovy. And when it comes to grooves, no other track beats Siren (サイレン).
Siren re-emphasizes the importance of a great songwriter/producer. I didn’t look up the album credits before listening, but wasn’t surprised to learn my favorite track came from a familiar name. This track is co-written by longtime SM Entertainment collaborator Andrew Choi, who has created a lot of classics for SHINee (Why So Serious, Queen of New York, Heart Attack) among many others. This input explains Siren‘s timeless appeal. It’s a head-nodding dance track, creeping along a robust dance beat that remains laser-focused on its addictive energy.
Of course, Yunho brings his own charisma to the recipe, commanding Siren with a confident presence. His vocal is both soft and sharp, and this contrast draws out the charms of the track. A fun rap during the bridge is just icing on the cake. And though the chorus revolves around a catchy siren synth, there’s enough melody around it to prevent the hook from feeling gimmicky. I would have loved to see this as the album’s promoted single.