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 wasn’t originally going to feature a buried treasure from the BLACKPINK album because I think Born Pink is pretty subpar as a whole. Apart from the singles, which are polarizing for their own reasons, the b-sides feel like demos without the level of completion I’d expect from a group of BLACKPINK’s caliber. But, I know the album is a hot topic so I’ve decided to write about the 80’s-tinged Yeah Yeah Yeah as my favorite track.
To be clear, I think there are tons of other acts delivering this sound in much more captivating ways. But, I’ll always be a sucker for bright synth and an upbeat tempo. Yeah Yeah Yeah harnesses both of these hallmarks without adding much more to the equation. The girls’ vocals work very well in this realm, which is one of the reasons I get so salty about the sing-talk posturing that dominates many of their singles. There may not be much meat on Yeah Yeah Yeah’s bones, but what we get is quite satisfying and points toward potential that begs for fulfillment.
By recording the majority of Born Pink in English, the group seems to signaling that they wish to compete in the global market, eclipsing K-pop-specific metrics. To do that, the album should sound like a big-budget, era-defining work. Perhaps it’s time for BLACKPINK to work with global collaborators who can give their sound more heft. Yeah Yeah Yeah comes from longtime YG producers Kush and R.Tee, which is part of the reason it works in spite of itself. But, I wonder how an internationally-renowned dance/club producer could remix this to build upon its best instincts and hit us with greater impact?