Buried Treasure: SF9 – Driver

SF9 - DriverA 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.

I have a strong bias toward summer-themed comebacks, which may have caused me to overrate SF9’s Scream just a bit (I’m pulling it down to an 8.75 for now). I’m not quite sure how that song is going to age, but regardless of its ultimate fate, Scream is part of a super-solid album filled with bright, upbeat material. My favorite tracks are the ones that feature a writing credit from Moon Kim — the man responsible for DRIPPIN’s excellent 2021 b-side Reach Out Your Hands. We need to get this guy on some boy group title tracks before the summer ends!

Judging from its highlight medley, Driver promised to be my favorite song on the album. And hearing the entire thing, my opinion hasn’t changed. It has strong Reach Out Your Hands energy. The instrumental is lush and layered — funky but also full. We’ve got keys, rhythm guitar and a generous dose of brass. There are just so many pleasing details that give the production tons of texture and personality.

This aural delicacy counters Driver’s comparatively simple melody. The chorus is comprised of pleasant “doo doo doos,” though a dynamic post-chorus gives the hook more bite. But when that electric guitar comes in for the climax, Driver sounds larger than life. I’ll never get sick of this vibe, and SF9 have proven to be great conduits for a light, funky K-pop style.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

9 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: SF9 – Driver

  1. Super strong mini, their previous two were great, too.
    Moon Kim wrote On and On for their album Rumination and also did the vocal arrangements.


  2. day 7 of reviewing jpop songs until nick renews the 90s jpop roadmap

    anastasia – nogizaka46

    anastasia is a work of art, and one of the most symphonic works by nogizaka46. like many of their tracks, the verses are a slow-burn, playing a collage of mellow piano and EDM beats. as we head to the pre-chorus, the energy rises, even adding some horn blasts to build to the song’s chorus, and boy is it good. it’s one of the strongest melodies in the group’s career and absolutely soars, backed by a powerful arrangement and lush vocal layers. the fact the orchestra-like instrumental, full of acoustic guitar and horn blasts back this kind of song also helps so much. nogizaka46 have of course released better songs, but anastasia still holds a special place in my heart

    hooks: 9
    production: 9
    longevity: 9
    bias: 8
    rating: 8.75


  3. When the song started i thought we would have another iconic korean city pop song but it went more towards funk.
    Still, I can’t put into words how much I enjoyed it. It’s my favorite from the EP but in general all the songs were great, a very complete mini where ironically the one I liked the least was the main song XD


  4. can you pls review sf9 butterfly? i know it’s one of lots of sf9 ‘s future bass song… i noticed that the prod. sampled Skrillex’s Mind pattern to this song which gave it rlly special touch to the drop✨


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