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.
Back in 2020, I was super excited about DRIPPIN’s debut. But apart from excellent b-side Reach Out Your Hands, the group kind of lost me along the way. So, imagine my surprise when new single Zero became the kind of organic grower that won’t budge from my playlist. It’s not the sound I’ve enjoyed from DRIPPIN in the past, but the song is stuffed full of highlights that keep me wanting to press replay. In fact, Zero’s hulking energy and insistent rock guitar reminds me of A.C.E’s much-loved Under Cover. DRIPPIN sell the heck out of the track – and now I feel guilty for kind of writing them off.
Though Zero‘s accompanying single album only has three songs, each of them is strong and memorable. As much as I complain about shouting in K-pop, I’m going to boast about a super-shouty track today. Trick and Treat is utterly ridiculous. But, it’s the same kind of ridiculous that made EXO’s Wolf such a classic. So many blustery boy group tracks counter their melodic verses and pre-choruses with an obnoxious hook. Trick and Treat opts to be obnoxious all the way through, and I can respect that in a weird way.
It helps that the production is equally fierce. The rock guitar from Zero is back with full force, joining percussion that absolutely slams. I mean, listen to that cool breakdown before the final chorus! It’s buttressed by over-the-top high notes and a cheesy wolf howl (EXO tribute?). You know… just in case the song was feeling too subtle for you. I’m not sure I ever want DRIPPIN to revisit this aural insanity, but as an odd little one-off, Trick and Treat fulfills both aspects of its title.