Deep Cuts is back in record time, baby!
By next year I’ll only procrastinate until October instead of November, continuing the trend of improving by a month every year.
Lovelyz – “Bizarre”
While I’m not sure if “Bizarre” would’ve fit in with the overarching sound of Lovelyz‘s recent run of singles, on merit it definitely was worthy of being a title track. It’s upbeat and bright with a disco-esque feel to it, and the verses do an outstanding job of engaging the listener and powering the effort forward. That sets things up for the happy-go-lucky chorus that takes advantage of violin instrumentation and the surprising inclusion of flamenco clapping.
Even the snare-heavy pre-chorus and subsequent build works effectively within atmosphere of “Bizarre”. It’s all undeniably fun and successfully toes the line between cute-endearing and cute-annoying without crossing it. That leads to a captivating overall effort that’s also interesting beyond just being catchy.
BTS – “The Truth Untold”
While Steve Aoki‘s involvement on the remix of BTS‘s “Mic Drop” got most of the hype, “The Truth Untold” was without a doubt the superior collaborative effort between them. Ironically, it was because there’s isn’t a bunch of EDM noise, but rather just a simple piano serenade at the foundation.
Last year, some got seriously upset that I didn’t love “Spring Day” as much as I was required to or whatever, but “The Truth Untold” is for me what “Spring Day” was to them. No annoying instrumental quirks, just emotion and vulnerability while lamenting about not being able to show your true self to the ones you love.
People can argue over the technical singing ability on display, but thank god they didn’t turn it into some vocal circlejerk. There’s a haunting humanness at the core of it that works best, and it even finishes with a bit of a flurry during the bridge. A rare ballad of this type that appealed to me from the get-go.
GFRIEND – “Flower Garden”
While GFRIEND‘s sound has matured of late, “Flower Garden” is a throwback to the powerful innocence that they started off with, and it definitely could’ve been a single for them in that era. The orchestral instrumentation combined with retro synths creates a propulsive bit of dance-pop that also has this swelling feeling of anticipation throughout, and it even comes with an appropriate guitar solo.
For such a bright effort, “Flower Garden” has a surprisingly dramatic atmosphere to it all that culminates with the non-stop energy of the chorus and its addictive melody. Not a whole lot to complain about here, and I’d argue this was as thrilling as any of their earlier releases that cemented their mainstream success.
GFRIEND – “TIK TIK”
“TIK TIK” was far from one of those seemingly flawless GFRIEND releases, as it starts rather generically and quite frankly I wasn’t far from skipping past it during the opening verse. Thankfully, I stuck around for the chorus to hit because it goes in a surprisingly different direction. The almost off-beat, funky rhythm to the melody combined with the bright vocals work well together to create a surprising earworm. The refrain is addicting and the decision to emphasize “ara” and “molla” was just the cherry on top.
Things improve from there because the elements that follow benefit not only from momentum being carried over from the chorus, but also there’s now the reward of that chorus waiting for the listener at the end of the proverbial rainbow. So while this isn’t one of those B-sides that’s a shoe-in for the year-end list like “Flower Garden”, “TIK TIK” has more than enough appeal to make it worth your while.
(G)I-DLE – “MAZE”
“MAZE” throws everything at the listener right away, hitting them with everything from finger snaps to heavy synths. However, the verses are relatively stripped down with light guitar strums and a repeated drum pattern operating as the foundation.
An element that stood out was the quality segue that represents the versatility of (G)I-DLE well, as “MAZE” transitions from a gentle vocal to edgier rapping after a “maybe it’s a maze” vocal burst that foreshadows the choral refrain to come. The pre-chorus sees snare drums introduced to build the tension until it gets released with a catchy synth drop that powers a dynamic chorus which includes the memorable refrain of “maybe I’m in your maze” (though I love the reversal at the end).
Honestly, “MAZE” sounds like something that would’ve fit right in with 2017’s trends. But while it may be a bit dated on the trendiness front, luckily quality execution never loses its luster.