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.
When it comes to September’s K-pop albums, CRAVITY’s New Wave is my favorite. I’m surprised to write that, since I’ve never really connected to this group before. New Wave is a steady stream of 8.5’s and 8.75’s, without the transcendent 9+ rated track that would send it over the edge. But, its consistency and upbeat nature makes it an absolute pleasure to listen to.
Before I cover my buried treasure choice, I want to give a special shout-out to Colorful. One of the reasons I haven’t become a huge CRAVITY fan is that I find their vocal line a little lightweight and flat. This may be a misguided perception based on the kind of music they’ve been given before, but Colorful’s robust chorus is a revelation. Where were these vocals before?
Even so, I find myself returning to Automatic most often. The song feels like what they were trying to do with the silly My Turn. We’ve got those hits of rhythmic falsetto in the verses, but on Automatic they’re funky and addictive in a humorous way. Automatic’s electro groove is a blast, gaining steam as it creeps forward. There’s a feeling of acceleration, even when the instrumental pulls back just before the chorus. And though that chorus is relatively simple, it’s catchy and well-calibrated to the overall arrangement. CRAVITY could’ve released any song from New Wave as a title track, but this would make a particularly nice follow-up to Party Rock.