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.
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.