All of the best B-sides you’ve never heard of, volume 3.
1. N.Flying, Don’t Mess With Me: “N.Flying,” the guys who released the irreverent “Hot Potato” a few months ago, are slowly building a reputation for K-rock that is both fun and often tongue-in-cheek. The group’s trademark punky electric guitar meets raucous “hey!”s and “nononono”s in “Don’t Mess with Me,” a song that perfectly illustrates their vibrant sound.
2. 15&, Shy Ma Boy: This female duo remains one of JYP’s most unknown projects even though their vocal power is formidable. This may be the only time you’ll ever see me recommend a Big 3 song on an underrated K-pop playlist, but this track’s jazzy vocals and funky plunky piano are too fun to ignore.
3. SNUPER, Back:Hug: SNUPER could unequivocally declare themselves the proprietors of K-pop’s most underrated hooks and I’d have to agree with them. “Back:Hug” is the kind of dynamic, engaging EDM that most tropical K-pop wished it sounded like.
4. Dreamcatcher, Sleepwalking: Rookie group Dreamcatcher is best known for their rock-heavy title tracks, but side track “Sleepwalking” pushes the group’s unique sound into new territory with a grungy electronic beat that feels like it leapt across a few decades to land in 2017.
5. Hyomin, Gold: This mellow electronic track by T-ara’s Hyomin has a melodic hook that is simple and sweepingly grand all at once. Hyomin’s rich vocals are not to be missed.
6. Brave Girls, Whatever: One of Brave Girls’ greatest strengths is how hard they nail the chill dance vibe. “Whatever” is a nice example, skipping the buildup and drop structure by layering a few simple synths over a constant bassline.
7. HOTSHOT, I’m a Hotshot: “I’m a Hotshot,” with the strange synth loop in its verses and the gravelly, old-school bass in its hook, has got to be one of the group’s best title tracks. Fans of Wanna One and JBJ will be happy to hear the voices of Sungwoon and Taehyun, both of whom are currently on hiatus from HOTSHOT to participate in the Produce 101 project groups.
8. CLC, Call My Name: CLC’s music has been everywhere and back in terms of genre, but this is one of their most standard electronic tracks. Somehow, it’s also one of their best songs. The way the instrumental interrupts itself in the hook to insert distinctive sounds gives “Call My Name” an unexpected flair that sets its apart.
9. ToppDogg, Annie (Anniversary): ToppDogg released this song in 2014 before the jazz-pop trend had hit K-pop hard, and its crooned “youuuu” hook is still one of the best out there. This song’s also got an awesome acoustic version that the group did for their 3rd anniversary in 2016.
10. Ailee, I Will Show You: “I Will Show You” starts out like a sleeper ballad, then suddenly explodes into a fierce I’m-over-you song where Ailee’s powerhouse vocal takes center stage. Those “whoa-oh-oh”s are killer.
Listen to this playlist on YouTube here.