A K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Depending on how you look at it, IVE’s “quality over quantity” releases have either been brilliant or frustrating. Fewer songs have kept their burgeoning discography consistently strong, but there just isn’t a lot of music to listen to. When they finally get to release a full album, it’ll feel like a dam bursting.
IVE’s latest single album is another all-killer affair. After Like gets better with each listen, while b-side My Satisfaction offers a peek at an edgier side to the group. So far, they’ve been smart to play things down the middle – not too girl crush, not too cutesy. Their stylish sound is filling a hole in the market and they’ve been rewarded for standing out. My Satisfaction is a bit closer to something a group like BLACKPINK might record, but its industrial beat still feels quite fresh and unique. It’s ferocious in energy, but vocal-centric and experimental in its production choices.
IVE sound incredible on track, lacing each moment with charisma and drive. Even the taunting, chant-like hooks feel more fully-realized than most of their peers. And though the song doesn’t always follow expected structures, it’s smart to anchor itself with a few repeating instrumental features. The rhythm is downright aggressive at times, pummeling the listener with intensity. I love how the vocal melody of the chorus cuts this tension by forcefully interjecting itself between grooves. The arrangement gets even more crazy during My Satisfaction’s climax, ending the track on a theatrical note that heightens the key and finishes with a flurry of percussive piano.