Buried Treasure: Kep1er – Back To The City

Kep1er - Back To The CityA 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.

Earlier this year, Kep1er released Japanese b-side Together Forever and it quickly became my favorite track in their discography. That’s still the case today, though Back To The City emerges as a close second place.

If you’ve been reading The Bias List for any amount of time, you’ll know how much I tend to enjoy a good 80’s pastiche. I didn’t expect one from Kep1er, but Back To The City goes full-on synthy power pop. With nods to nostalgic classics like Boys Of Summer and Summer Of ’69, the track attempts to weave a similar sense of wistful longing. Given Kep1er’s young age, this approach is more cosplay than anything (the 80’s must seem like prehistoric times to these girls!). But, the song’s bounding energy and anthemic touches capture touchstones of the decade in an addicting way.

As with Together Forever, the song suffers most when pesky, overly-familiar K-pop tropes take over. Mercifully, the track includes no half-time breakdown, but there are moments you can feel it wanting to embrace a chanty, aegyo-infused style. However, the shimmering synths keep this urge in check and the chorus opts for a sharp, simple refrain that feels in keeping with Back To The City’s influences.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

Grade: B+


9 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Kep1er – Back To The City

  1. As the resident Old One who lived through the 80’s the first time, I am not really hearing 80’s here, more like Yena “Smiley” redux … Do I need another Smiley in my life? Perhaps.

    If I had to say it was 80’s, its more Debbie Gibson on helium and 1.15x speed – Debbie Gibson being the precocious pop star who popped out of a Long Island garage composing and performing these songs all by herself. Girly girl pop, with hat. We all had a hat like that back when.

    I do give the Kepler producers an extra half point for cranking that BPM higher than most would.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew i’d like it when hearing it in the Highlight Medley, and I knew it was going to get a Buried Treasure feature when the full song dropped.

    I really like it, it’s so much better than Giddy imo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this song so so much. It has my whole entire heart. I’ve listened to it WAY more than I probably should since it came out. They did so well with this ep. I love 4/5 songs on it. Even Giddy grew on me a lot. I kinda thought it would. This one is my favorite though. The choreography and the live performances of it are really great too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love that feeling of nostalgia from the lyrics delivered in such an energetic way, it makes me love everything about the song, and I really like the stage too.

    Nobody asked for it but this is my order of preference among the Kep1er bsides:
    1. MVSK
    2. Back to the city
    3. LE VOYA9E
    4. Downtown
    5. Dreams

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this song so so much- it’s just clean, simple feel-good pop music! This style suits Kep1er so much and the performances so far are great; I’m really glad they chose this as the b-side to promote. This and Together Forever are easily favourite songs from them and I really hope they explore this sound in a title track.


  6. I was not really looking forward to this one since I’m usually worn out with such fast-paced songs (This happened with I Can’t Stop Me or any 80s Eurovision NF songs). Back To The City is a very youthful, fresh, and bright take on it – I’m almost instantly in love with it (thank you showcase performance!).

    Furthermore, I am looking forward to see if Kep1er will explore this brighter sound in LOVESTRUCK. It feels like such big rebrand from whatever angsty girl crush thing they did before, and it fits them well! (Loking forward to a full album, too, though!)


  7. Woah, this is better than I was expecting.

    I didn’t really like Kep1er’s music in the beginning but they’ve been releasing some great songs lately.

    8.5/10 for me


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.