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Battle of the B-Sides: Taeyeon, Super Junior-KRY, GOT7, TXT, Monsta X

Battle of the B-sidesK-pop’s title tracks might gain most of listeners’ attention, but many album tracks are worth equal spotlight. I call these “buried treasures.”

Beyond this, K-pop’s albums deliver thousands of additional tracks that settle for a more limited audience. It’s these songs that will become a part of my “battle of the b-sides” feature.

In this feature, I’ll be putting on my A&R hat and taking a listen to five randomly-selected K-pop b-sides. I’ll write a mini review for each, including a Bias List rating, and rank them from least to most favorite. The winner will join a special Bias List B-side playlist. Think of it like my own little agency, hand-selecting songs I’d like to pitch to my nonexistent artists!

You can check out all rounds of my Battle of the B-sides here!


Battle of the B-sides: Round Forty-One


Taeyeon – No Love Again (2022)


Well, I guess we’re getting a buried treasure for Taeyeon’s new album after all! This is a super recent track (like, from two weeks ago…). I’m not as bowled over with the album as many seem to be, but No Love Again is a definite standout. I like the driving beat and clear, confident melody. The descending synths make a nice backdrop for Taeyeon’s emotive vocals, making this a dance track with grit and pathos.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

Super Junior-KRY – Dorothy (도로시) (2015)


KRY are no stranger to a good ballad, and Dorothy meets expectations. I really need to be in a certain mood to get lost in this type of song, and it doesn’t happen all that often. However, this has a nice, classic touch that’s quite satisfying. The vocals are great, the string-laced instrumental is stately and effective and the melody is… unobtrusive. The belt-it-out chorus is definitely the highlight.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

GOT7 – King (Jinyoung & BamBam) (2018)


This comes from that weird “Present” album that buttresses a holiday track with a bunch of sub-unit work. Overall, most of these songs miss for me. King’s stomping beat stands out in a good way, and I think there’s a strong track in here somewhere. But, the melody doesn’t really go anywhere and the insistent vocal effects are off-putting. On the plus side, the rap is totally fun. Now get rid of those lame gunshot sound effects and we could be in business!

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.5

TXT – Ito (2021)


TXT’s Japanese output hasn’t yielded too many original tracks, but Ito stands as an exception. Written by J-pop mainstays Greeeen, the track is a gentle, wistful mid-tempo. It’s quite pretty, but also a bit forgettable. Given the strength of TXT’s Korean tracks within this genre, I’d expect something a little more stirring. Ito makes for pleasant album fare and a decent vocal showcase, but I’d honestly expect more from all parties involved.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

Monsta X – Stealer (2019)


Stealer opens more atmospheric than expected but soon transforms into a dynamic dance track. I love the propulsive, rave-like synths that fuel the chorus and wish they were more present in the verses. This song takes a very cinematic approach, and that works. But, it also results in an arrangement that feels too stop/start. There are definite dull points, but then there’s that funky breakdown just before the final chorus. Overall, I’d call this a win with potential to be absolutely epic given a few slight twists.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

My Verdict:


Fifth: TXT – Ito
Fourth: Super Junior-KRY – Dorothy
Third: GOT7 – King (Jinyoung & BamBam)
Second: Taeyeon – No Love Again

First: Monsta X – Stealer


Congratulations to Monsta X’s Stealer – the forty-first winner of my Battle of the B-sides!

Readers, what do you think? Did you discover any hidden gems? Leave your own ranking in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Battle of the B-Sides: Taeyeon, Super Junior-KRY, GOT7, TXT, Monsta X

  1. Au contraire, mon cheri! See, this is the difference between liking a song to dance along to, to listen along to, or to sing along to.

    “Dorothy” is a fantastic song to sing. The lyrics just flow off the tongue.
    Naui sarang, naui haneul, naui Dorosshi … Dorothy here is an extended analogy to a former love getting lost in the sky on a strange journey, like Wizard of Oz. THe verses tell the story. The chorus pours out the emotion with a lovely crescendo over the first two lines, then decrescendo over the next two. Then there is a real bridge with a lovely note to just hold on to yoooOOOOOOOo oh oh wo oh.

    For me, Dorothy is easily on my (not so) short list of songs to sing should I ever do a Korean singing contest (which is to say never) but that list exists on all ipods (and my kids know them all too lolz).

    Its such a lovely song to tuck into, they sing it better live, like live live. Here is a recent one.

    Like

  2. I really like Taeyeon’s INVU album. Her vocals are one of my favourites so I might be biased but if you listen to all tracks with order, you can understand the message she’s giving. It’s quite a story 🙂 I love My Voice and Purpose too but INVU’s overall vibe is just my jam. I can’t choose a favourite between INVU, Some Nights, Toddler, No Love Again and Timeless

    Like

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