People tend to pay more attention to the title tracks when the album is dropped. However, there are plenty of hidden gems that are worth listening. To close 2020, MTV has released a list of the best Kpop B-side tracks during the year.
Best Kpop B-side Tracks 2020
23. Top Secret by Weeekly
Included in the rookie girl group’s second mini-album, We Can, Top Secret is just as good as the title track Zig Zag.
“All seven members of the newly minted girl group have serene voices, but Seoun’s sparkling vibrato and Monday’s soft tone are the stars here. Weeekly debuted in June and quickly carved out a space for themselves with their earnest lyrics about youthful passion and growing up.”MTV
22. Smoky by Joohoney
MONSTA X rapper Joohoney has released a mixtape Psyche, and one of the hidden gems is Smoky.
“On Smoky, [Joohoney] describes stumbling through a world obscured by darkness in a slow buildup to an emo-rock chorus that’s perfect for screaming along. ‘I want to go back to my childhood,’ he raps at the end of the second verse, foreshadowing the choir of children who join him for the poignant bridge.”MTV
21. Clover by A.C.E
The fifth track on A.C.E’s 4th mini-album, HZJM: The Butterfly Phantasy, is one of the best Kpop B-side tracks in 2020. Though they have more than one hidden gems, Clover is the best of the best.
“Any of the three B-sides on their EP HJZM: The Butterfly Fantasy are worth highlighting, but “Clover” is perhaps the most unexpected. A.C.E.’s lead singles are usually hard-hitting hype tracks, so the heart-fluttering sweetness of lyrics like ‘I feel like a wave called ‘you’ will hit me’ extends A.C.E.’s ample range.”MTV
20. Open Your Eyes by IZ*ONE
Though the title track of BLOOM*IZ album, Fiesta, captures Kpop fans’ heart, the final track is also worth listening. Open Your Eyes is one of the best Kpop B-side tracks this year.
“It combines the members’ sugary vocals and a killer chorus with influences of the tropical house to achieve a surprising intensity. The title is a fun play on the group’s name (pronounced ‘eyes one’) as well as the formal greeting that the 12 members recite in unison when introducing themselves: ‘Eyes on me! Eyes on us when we become one!’”MTV
19. Like the Hands Held Tight by SF9
Released on January 7, 2020, First Collection album has the most precious hidden gem, Like the Hands Held Tight.
“Listening to SF9’s “Like the Hands Held Tight” brings to mind images of outlaws and galloping horses, sunsets, and bank heists. Acoustic guitar and distorted trumpets accompany the confessions of someone who knows their actions are irredeemable but begs to be loved anyway.”MTV
18. Poppin’ by Baekhyun
As the 5th track on EXO Baekhyun’s Delight, Poppin’ successfully captivates Kpop lovers’ hearts.
“It’s immensely satisfying to listen to the warm, brassy timbre of Baekhyun’s voice as it ricochets up and down. The power-vocalist is a pro at conveying the playful sensuality of “Poppin’” and the delicious single “Candy,” both from his second EP Delight.”MTV
17. Love Me Now by NCT 127
NCT 127’s full-length studio album, Neo Zone, is quite a success. It also has one of the best Kpop B-side tracks, Love Me Now.
“The release of NCT 127’s bombastic “Kick It” was one of 2020’s biggest moments. “Love Me Now” is lighter and sweeter, the sparkling pink-heart emoji to “Kick It”’s black one. The Korean title of the song translates to “Echo,” and the lyrics — ‘My heart keeps ringing it, without a pause / This echo that spreads’ — pair with a call and response of ‘I want you to love me now’ in the chorus.”MTV
16. No Good Reason by EVERGLOW
The title track La Di Da from EVERGLOW’s second mini-album is indeed catching. Yet, No Good Reason is also worth listening.
“Everglow is known for their badass, bruising singles, but they shine just as brightly on a handful of softer B-sides. “No Good Reason” is comforting and surprisingly emotional. The song’s consistent tempo, structure, and composition reflect the compatibility of the couple described in its lyrics.”MTV
15. Luv U by (G)I-DLE
Luv U is the second track on the girl group’s third mini-album, I Trust.
“Sandwiched between singles “Oh My God” and “Lion” are the gloomy “Maybe” and the confessional “Luv U.” The percussive tongue clicks and slick production of “Luv U” are particularly compelling, especially when augmented by flirty choreography that walks the line between sexy and sweet.”MTV
14. Domino by WayV
Awaken the World’s 7th track, Domino, make you the love in your bones.
“Listening to “Domino,” a glistening cut off [WAYV’s] first album Awaken the World, feels like ascending to another plane. After being lulled by the meditative bass and layered vocals, you’re suddenly elevated by the soaring belts and falsettos of Ten, Kun, and XiaoJun. They describe a love that makes their body ache, like the chill of the wind or cold of the rain, until the bitterness seeps inside them and they concede, ‘I can feel it in my bones.’”MTV
13. Wish You Were Here by SuperM
Released on September 25, Super One has a hidden gem as the 4th track, Wish You Were Here.
“SuperM’s first album Super One is chock-full of banging B-sides, from the sexy, euphemistic “Drip” to the tropical “Big Chance.” “Wish You Were Here” is the catchiest of them all, with a bouncy, lilting chorus that you’ll have trouble getting out of your head, as well as lyrics that sound like a postcard you’d write to an ex from a melancholy beach vacation.”MTV
12. Horizon by ATEEZ
The still-young boy group ATEEZ has one of the best Kpop B-side tracks in Treasure Epilogue: Action to Answer mini-album, Horizon.
“[“Horizon”] has an unusual structure — mostly a mix of refrains, pre-, and post-choruses — and is imbued with the kind of expansive emotion and focused intensity that defines Ateez’s nascent career. ‘Somewhere between the sea and the sky / Now you gonna take me there,’ ATEEZ demands before the chorus explodes with all the chaos and distortion of a black hole. The last 50 seconds are especially exhilarating, a climactic resolution to a song that encapsulates why ATEEZ is hailed as a leader of K-pop’s fourth generation.”MTV
11. Intro: Walk the Line by ENHYPEN
Debuting this year, ENHYPEN builds a quite big fandom who loves their music. One of the hidden gems in their debut album is Intro: Walk the Line.
“Australian member Jake narrates the first chapter of ENHYPEN’s story, describing their new destiny of ‘carving sunrise’ between chants of ‘walk the line.’ That ‘line’ may refer to the horizon, or the liminal space between day and night, a nod to the group’s vampiric concept. The lush, nostalgic production ends in a shimmering siren song that definitely deserves a full track of its own.”MTV
Top 10 Best Kpop B-Side Tracks
10. Ghosting by TXT
““Ghosting” begins with a whisper. ‘You disappeared / Like a faint ghost,’ murmur Soobin and Hueningkai before the song envelops you in a whirlwind of electric guitar, crisp drums, and twinkling synths as if to drown out all other thoughts. The lyrics detail the tediousness of drifting apart from a friend and watching them move on. As you get ghosted, you become a ghost of yourself, ‘ask[ing] in the empty void / What am I to you?’”MTV
9. Labyrinth by GFRIEND
“Picking between GFRIEND’s fan-favorite B-sides “Labyrinth” and the epic “Here We Are” is no easy task, but the funky thrills of the former make it harder to resist. There are similarities between “Labyrinth” and the group’s 2017 hit and K-pop classic “Fingertip” — a talkative electric guitar, ever-present drums, and layered synths — which is evidence that their sound has matured without losing its identity.”MTV
8. LMM by Hwasa
“‘Why are you trying so hard? You’re already beautiful,’ [Hwasa] asks herself on the dancey title track [“Maria”]. That same introspection is present on the solemn ballad “LMM,” which stands for “Lost My Mind.” The lyrics, written by Hwasa, are sparse and deliberate. ‘Do you wanna get some more? / Do you wanna go somewhere?’ she asks wearily, her voice dancing with violins and piano.”MTV
7. Any by Stray Kids
“The song’s metallic highs are a natural progression of producing trio 3RACHA’s skilled hand in AutoTune and voice effects, while the play on words (the English title sounds like the Korean word for “no”) highlights their aptitude for bilingual lyricism. The song describes a state of chronic indecisiveness and dissatisfaction, but the production makes it clear that Stray Kids know exactly what they want.”MTV
6. Afraid by Day6
“In 2020, pop-rock band Day6 reached into their chests, pulled out their guts, and laid them bare in their music. On “Zombie,” the lead single off their album The Book of Us: The Demon, they describe the daze many of us have found ourselves in this year. On “Afraid,” they struggle to fight off demons and fear reaching out for help, worried their dark thoughts may dim the light of the people they love. ‘I’m so afraid that you’ll become like me,’ they admit. ‘I can’t let go or hold on to you / What should I do?’”MTV
5. UGH! By BTS
“RM, Suga, and J-Hope growl in repulsion releasing their disgust at critics who are too swept up in anger to consider the long-term effects of their outbursts. An opening gunshot seems to signal the beginning of a race, but it takes on a new meaning by the end of the track as J-Hope cautions, ‘I can rage, but if there were to be damage done / To others’ lives, I don’t like [it]… Someone’s rage becomes someone’s life.’”MTV
4. Accident by WOODZ
“On the self-produced Equal, Woodz’s immense musicality is on glorious display. “Accident” stands out for its pop-tinged take on the kind of nocturnal ruminations and soaring falsetto you’d hear from Dean or The Weeknd. At first, Woodz is forgiving of a former lover, telling them, ‘It’s an accident, not your fault,’ but after a stratospheric climax, the blame shifts. ‘It’s not an accident, it’s your fault,’ he croons. ‘You know.’”MTV
3. Like This by STAYC
“An innocent intro of tweeting birds drops, without warning, into an addictive combination of driving hi-hats and floating staccato synths. The song feels like it belongs in 2010 in the best way, and the alternating sweetness of Sieun and Isa’s vocals with the deeper tones of rappers J and Sumin are a highlight.”MTV
2. Clockwork by Taemin
“The song opens with reflective chords reminiscent of one of the greatest finales in musical theatre, Sondheim’s “Being Alive,” and ends with a similarly emotional release. Taemin wails in frustration as the plodding piano and ticking second-hand loom like ever-present spectres of time, marching onward and slowly falling away.”MTV
1. Start Over by BoA
“BoA’s tangy, raspy-edged timbre is a compelling match for the song’s pleading urgency and breathless declarations of ‘You’re gonna love me, let me start over.’ The emotional and musical range between this track and Better’s breakup B-side “Cut Me Off,” on which she deadpans ‘If we stick together, we’ll get tired / So cut me off / You can do it,’ proves that BoA’s still at the top of her game. As if there was ever any doubt.”MTV
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