Deep Cuts: Fromis 9, KARD, Oh My Girl, WJSN, Sunmi

Oh my god, Deep Cuts is back again.

Tell a friend.

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Fromis 9 – “22nd Century Girl”

While Fromis 9 caught the attention of many with “Love Bomb“, “22nd Century Girl” was the effort that made me sit up and take notice of them musically. It’s upbeat and energetic, and the whole effort is touched by this dreamy atmosphere. Yet it’s definitely not some kind of festival of aegyo or something, as both the instrumental and performance show broad range, and the freshness to it all is just the underpinning.

While the “I’ll give you love, I’ll give you love” refrain is nice on its own and the chorus is catchy in its own right, this was one of those rare songs that attached itself to me because of the verses instead. The instrumental is outstanding, both in its foundation and quirky effects, and the driving verses are worth looking forward to in their own right. The result is ultimately a title-track worthy b-side.

KARD – “Dimelo”

KARD has had a significantly weaker 2018 than 2017 in terms of music, and they also seemed to be a lot less active. It’s an unfortunate combination, but thankfully “Dimelo” did manage to provide a bit of a reminder of why fans fell in love with them to begin with. It follows their formula of an EDM and reggaeton foundation, which has a slower pacing but is more importantly still easy to groove with.

The “yo te quiero asi” punctuation and “dimelo dimelo dimelo” refrain in the chorus were both impactful. It also serves as a perfect segue into talking about how the quartet combining Korean, Spanish, and English felt oddly appropriate for them. “Dimelo” is not overly complicated, and it may not even be on my year-end list, but it’s noteworthy because it’s a summery fun that’s an easy listen. There’s definitely value in that.

Oh My Girl – “Twilight”

Not even an Oh My Girl stan, but when I read some others saying this was a middling track on the album, I almost felt personally insulted. “Twilight” was actually a pleasant shock as a synth-pop anthem with a club feel to it that seemed to come out of nowhere. Not even a bro, but I feel like fist pumping like a dude from ‘Jersey Shore‘ listening to this shit.

While the repetitions of “twilight” and “spotlight” will always standout, the chorus is multi-faceted. The vocals going up and down the scale in rhythm is perfectly done, and the interjections of “oh eh oh eh oh” are timed up nicely. Perhaps one of my favorite choruses I’ve heard this year so far.

I was honestly surprised by the maturity of this, which perhaps exposes my own unconscious bias against Oh My Girl or girl groups with their image. The vocals from low to high literally and figuratively hit the note, yet give off this nice, casual feel to it that a head-nodder like “Twilight” needed. Impressed.

WJSN – “I-YAH”

Combine WJSN‘s signature dreamy/ethereal atmosphere and synth-pop gloriousness with orchestral influences and you have “I-YAH“. Those factors made this immediately appealing as it checked off an awful lot of boxes right away, especially with the energy that it carries from start to finish.

The chorus uses the “I-YAH” exclamation as a reference point, something that launches the driving chorus forward into a rapid delivery, and its execution just cemented its quality. It had this whole epic feeling to the entire thing, with both the vocal and rap pulling their weight in execution. This is extremely my shit.

Sunmi – “Black Pearl”

Black Pearl” was something that crept up on me, as Sunmi‘s city-pop effort isn’t usually something you’d hear me lauding. However, the sparse, jazzy instrumental was alluring from the start, with the synths being enhanced by the bass guitar for a solid foundation. Then when the saxophone comes in during the chorus, the vibe is just perfectly cemented.

The lyrics also factored in to the appeal of “Black Pearl”, especially since they were penned herself.

The general interpretation that Sunmi is talking about the front stage/back stage behavioral aspect of her life as a celebrity seems to be the correct read. Though given how she talks about her front stage persona in lighter terms and her back stage persona in darker terms, I feel like she’s alluding to people seeing a white pearl but that she’s actually a black pearl. The latter is rarer and more valuable, and she expresses that its creation can be attributed to the hardship she’s endured. Though she was ashamed of that initially, by the end she accepts it as herself, hence the title.

“Black Pearl” is solid enough on its own, but the lyrics only serve to enhance the song. And in the end, it’s quite the standout for a b-side and it’s no surprise that she wanted to perform this to draw attention to it.

About IATFB

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