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.
While the vibe of Onew’s new album is a little subdued for me, it opens with its strongest tracks. Dice is a more upbeat version of the city pop sound that’s currently highlighting many K-pop releases, but Sunshine is the album’s most energetic moment. I guess that shouldn’t be much of a surprise given its title!
Right from the start, I’m loving that chunky bass and handclap percussion. Sunshine throws its groove on the floor and lets it grow from there. The chorus pulls in additional rhythm, both with drums and choppy synth. It’s a catchy mix that allows Onew to deliver the kind of funky performance he’s brought to many SHINee tracks. Sunshine still carries the loungey atmosphere of its surrounding tracks, but the brisk tempo makes this more palatable to my taste.
While I wish the song built to a more satisfying conclusion, I’m not mad at its cohesion. Onew knows he’s got a good thing going and lets Sunshine exist of its own accord. There’s a confidence to this approach. His vocals skirt the rhythm with finesse, never growing bombastic or overblown. And with a tone as sweet as his, they don’t have to. Something tells me that if we were to fuse together the charms from Dice and Sunshine, we’d get a killer megamix that would outshine both individual tracks.