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.
File BAE173’s Annoyed (짜증나게) under: obvious title track that’s not a title track at all. It’s produced by Brave Brothers, whose name is currently in vogue thanks to Brave Girls’ resurgence. It has the fullest, most polished sound of all the new songs. It’s even placed right after the intro, in the spot usually reserved for title tracks. So… what happened?
I’ve given up trying to discern the inner workings of agencies’ minds. I’m sure there was some highly convincing reason to relegate this track to b-side status, but it’s us fans who lose out. In fact, this new album is quite strange overall. It’s half modern, NCT-style K-pop and half songs that sound like tributes to past eras. Not Alone is straight out of the late 90’s, while Annoyed comes across as a reworking of the melancholic dance sound popular around 2009. Maybe that’s why the Powers That Be decided not to release it. It does sound dated (and not in a trendy “retro” way).
Well, good melodies and powerful performances never go out of style, and Annoyed is a great track. BAE173 sound stronger than ever before, taking an emotional turn that feels even more resonant than last year’s Loved You. The vocal production is crisper as well. The track isn’t anything long-time K-pop fans haven’t heard many times before, but it’s been a while since songs like this ruled the charts.