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.
KBS missed a big opportunity by not offering subtitles for their “Listen-Up” series this summer. Its concept definitely appeals to me, matching producers with artists for a chart battle of original songs. But without a translation, I’ve made do with the special performances spotlighted on certain Music Bank episodes. I haven’t heard all the songs from the program, but many of the ones that have been performed went in one ear and out the other without much fanfare.
However, I’m stuck on this GHOST9 track. Maybe it’s just because I’m ready for a comeback from the guys, but I’m finding myself playing Monster more than expected. The song is a total performance piece, lurching here and there in ways that would normally irritate me. But, each of its pieces are enjoyable on their own and performed with a ton of verve.
After a slow-burn verse, Monster’s beat drops as a much poppier melody rushes in. It’s an unexpected twist, but one that’s very welcome. From here, the instrumental (mostly) adheres to this new, driving beat. When the tempo does change, it’s in service to the sense of paranoia Monster is trying to elicit. I find it pretty effective, even if many of these same production tricks feel shoehorned in when part of other tracks. This just goes to highlight the importance of one of two killer hooks. Monster knows when to deliver the goods. It would have made a solid title track.