After so many weeks of K-Pop Conversion, it’s strange to be going for a different angle in this week’s column. However, I’ve had quite a few tracks playing on repeat for the last couple of weeks.
“어린 날개” - Stray Kids
It wasn’t intentional, but I found myself falling in love with JYP’s newest group, Stray Kids (I don’t need any more boy groups to collect, yet I keep finding more). “어린 날개” is quite different from the group’s other releases, as it’s much more EDM focused and carries less of a heavy feeling and in general just feels much happier, so I’m rather surprised at how addicted I’ve become to the track. It’s a different sound from what is becoming Stray Kids’s signature, but that’s what makes it so memorable.
“Maze” - (G)I-DLE
It’s impossible to deny that (G)I-DLE has had a spectacular debut thus far, but their title track “LATATA” isn’t the only hit the group has produced. “Maze” may be my favorite song off the debut album I am, which is saying something when the whole album is incredibly well done. “Maze” is the perfect blend of pop and EDM and has the sort of mass appeal sound that is bound to be a hit. That is not meant to be taken negatively, for the record. Plus, the lyrical shift from “maybe I’m in your maze” to “now you’re in my maze” is my favorite part of the song, as it paints an interesting story that takes a total 180 shift from where it began.
“Sun & Moon” - NCT 127
This is not the first time NCT 127’s “Sun & Moon” has made our list. The track is soft and lacks a major build-up to a drop like many of NCT 127’s other tracks, but that is exactly what makes it so beautiful and addictive. The song has the melancholy feel of a ballad but plays over a subdued EDM beat, an interesting contrast that definitely isn’t used enough in music these days and that is just beyond gorgeous. The vocal prowess of this unit really shines in this song as there is no rap associated with it (I love hearing my man Taeyong sing!). The Cherry Bomb mini-album was a masterpiece in many ways, but there is no doubt that “Sun & Moon” is the greatest standout on the album.
“Chaotic” - LOONA Odd Eye Circle
With LOONA’s full debut just around the corner after two years of single and sub-unit releases, it’s no wonder I’ve got one of the girls’ songs on repeat. Odd Eye Circle is by far my favorite sub-unit, and from the moment I listened to “Chaotic” I knew it was going to become one of my favorites. The instrumentals from the very beginning of the track really catch your attention, mostly because they’re all over the place. Yet, they still somehow manage to work well and lead into the main event, the vocals of Jinsoul, Cheorry, and Kim Lip. The beat is addictive and the vocals are stellar, so what more could you want in a song?
“Outro: Tear” - BTS
I really do love the whole of BTS more than I can express, but when it comes to musicality I’m the biggest rap line stan you will meet. I was looking forward to a hard-hitting rap track for the outro to complement the intense title track, and I wasn't disappointed. “Outro: Tear” may be one of the most intense releases of the rap line to date, with the lyrics and melody radiating an intense frustration that we’ve all experienced at one point or another. The level of intense emotion that is expressed in this track is cathartic to say the least, in a way that not many songs have ever been able to accomplish. I’m totally obsessed.