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.
Most of Taeyang’s new album feels like a big ol’ shrug to me, but there’s a nice little treasure hidden at the end. Nightfall teams him with Korean-American rapper/producer Bryan Chase and injects some oomph into his music. It borrows elements of synthwave, which means I’m guaranteed to like it. But, the personality and warmth of the song’s dual vocals push it beyond simple trend-chasing.
Taeyang has plenty of stronger songs in his arsenal (listen to the entirely of 2014’s Rise for proof), but Nightfall delivers his strongest chorus in awhile. This segment has a palpable sense of lift, ending the album on an optimistic note that provides a satisfying climax.
I know Taeyang’s team is going with Shoong as the “international” single from the album, but songs like Nightfall offer a greater appreciation of his vocals and — more importantly — his uncanny ability to infuse emotion into a pop track. I bet a live performance of Nightfall would bring the house down.
Yeah, this song is far from perfect, but I love that grooving synthwave beat. This and Seed are definitely the highlights for me. Your score is about right for me.