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Battle of the B-Sides: STAYC, IZ*ONE, YooA, PSY, JJ Project

Battle of the B-sidesK-pop’s title tracks might gain most of listeners’ attention, but many album tracks are worth equal spotlight. I call these “buried treasures.”

Beyond this, K-pop’s albums deliver thousands of additional tracks that settle for a more limited audience. It’s these songs that will become a part of my “battle of the b-sides” feature.

In this feature, I’ll be putting on my A&R hat and taking a listen to five randomly-selected K-pop b-sides. I’ll write a mini review for each, including a Bias List rating, and rank them from least to most favorite. The winner will join a special Bias List B-side playlist. Think of it like my own little agency, hand-selecting songs I’d like to pitch to my nonexistent artists!

You can check out all rounds of my Battle of the B-sides here!


Battle of the B-sides: Round Fifty-One


STAYC – So What (2021)


So What is a slightly more reserved track than most of the group’s singles, but it’s got that earwormy appeal producers Black Eyed Pilseung have made their name on. And while it’s a bit unambitious for me, the song works as a vibe-focused b-side with a memorable chorus. Better yet, it encapsulates many of STAYC’s charms while hearkening back to K-pop’s girl group music of the last decade.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.75

IZ*ONE – Merry-Go-Round (2020)


The bright synth that opens Merry-Go-Round instantly appeals to me, and I wish the entire track harnessed that same energy. The instrumental builds back for the chorus, but the verses lack the momentum I’d hoped for. Still, at its best Merry-Go-Round is another e.one-produced banger. There are hints of greatness sprinkled throughout and I enjoy the group’s more subdued vocal performance. We just need to increase the speed of this merry-go-round a few notches.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

YooA – End Of Story (2020)


YooA’s Bon Voyage is an incredible mini album, so of course my stupid “shuffle” button had to pick the only track that doesn’t really do anything for me! She sounds great on a ballad like this, but I’m notoriously picky when it comes to ballads. I need an absolutely fantastic melody to make up for the lack of energy. End Of Story’s melody is totally fine and enjoyable. But, it doesn’t reach the heights needed to fully appeal to my emotion.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

PSY – Jump (ft. Lee Ha Neul) (2006)


PSY has been crafting hits long before Gangnam Style brought him international interest, and that extends to his b-sides. Jump enlists DJ DOC’s Lee Ha Neul as support and delivers a party-starting energy that’s long been a foundational part of PSY’s appeal. It’s a more rough-around-the-edges version of the chart-conquering singles we’ve all heard and could do with a stronger chorus. But, its upbeat verve never flags and that goes a long way.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

JJ Project – Before This Song Ends (ft. Suzy) (2012)


This is a powerhouse trio of JYP talent. We’ve got Jay B and Jinyoung before they debuted with GOT7 alongside miss A’s superstar Suzy. They’ve been given a super fun electropop song, very in keeping with its era. Like PSY’s track, there’s not much to this one when it comes to melody or indelible hooks. But, I’ll always be fond of this style of anthemic EDM synth. The song’s a little silly, but it’s dripping with charisma.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.25

My Verdict:


Fifth: IZ*ONE – Merry-Go-Round
Fourth: YooA – End Of Story
Third: STAYC – So What
Second: PSY – Jump (ft. Lee Ha Neul)

First: JJ Project – Before This Song Ends (ft. Suzy)


Congratulations to JJ Project’s Before This Song Ends – the fifty-first winner of my Battle of the B-sides!

Readers, what do you think? Did you discover any hidden gems? Leave your own ranking in the comments!

8 thoughts on “Battle of the B-Sides: STAYC, IZ*ONE, YooA, PSY, JJ Project

  1. I got excited a bit when saw SUZY name thought u listened to one of hef b-sides from her solo albums!
    Anyway, did u listen to her latest single “Cape”?
    Would be nice to know ur honest review of it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So What is a top StayC b-side for me. That last minute is so solid—gorgeous bridge vocals from Si-eun, a “S-T-A-Y-C Go!” chant, into a high note from Si-eun, then high notes from Yoon, and finally a unison ending to hammer that ear worm chorus home. Expertly done.

    Like

  3. What should prob be next?

    some suggestions:
    Case 143 – Stray Kids
    Basics – TWICE
    My Bag – (g)-idle
    Ok – NCT U
    I’m Gonna Be A Star – TWICE
    See The Light – Kep1er
    Wolf – EPEX
    Try – JustB

    just some suggestions

    as for the songs itself, I never listened to these, so call me a clown.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can suggest these for the next round:

    The Boyz – Salty
    Kard – Whip!
    TNX – 180sec
    Purple Kiss – Love Is Dead
    SHINee – Alarm Clock

    P.s. as well as Ultimate Stray Kids Defender, I haven’t listened to the songs in this list for some unknown reason😂

    Like

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