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 was a super casual fan of IZ*ONE, meaning I didn’t know many of the members beyond names or position in the group. Because of this, it’s been fun to see how they’re branching out as soloists. Yena seems to have punky synth rock covered, while Eunbi’s making her name on icy dance pop. Judging by Lee Chaeyeon’s debut mini, I’d put her style somewhere in the middle.
Hush Rush isn’t a huge standout, but it’s the kind of amiable track that plays well in the background and becomes more addictive the further you dive into its instrumental quirks. In contrast, Danny hits immediately. It’s a satisfying nod to musical eras of the past, with its ear firmly tuned to a good pop melody. Even from the pre-release highlight medley, I could tell this would be the track I’d gravitate toward.
Danny also feels like the perfect avenue for Chaeyeon’s vocals. She has a light, airy tone that gives the song a wistful, slightly mysterious vibe. Even as the 80’s synth hits hard during the chorus, there’s a breezy weightlessness to the production that works in its favor. The arrangement modulates when it needs to, pulling back in the right places to give its chorus maximum effect. And while the melodies are simple, Danny’s focus gives them renewed power each time they come around. For those familiar with the indie pop landscape of the 2000’s, the song reminds me of something Norwegian pop star Annie might have released.