K-pop often gets pegged as a manufactured medium, leading certain music aficionados to sidestep the genre as a whole. While there’s some truth to that assessment, the South Korean music industry is littered with hidden gems aside from the most popular singles.
The thing about K-pop is that it’s a multimedia operation where the visuals are just as important as the sound. The sensory overload of promoting on music shows -- which place extra emphasis on the choreography, cinematography and fashion -- is part of what makes K-pop so addictive. But we decided to look at the deep cuts that are, for the most part, divorced from the visuals.
We tried to limit each chosen artist to one track, but there’s one girl group that had so many excellent deep cuts, we couldn’t choose just one. (Hint: their name rhymes with shmeff hex).
We decided to give our definition of “deep cuts” some breathing room by allowing fan favorites into the mix. Non-singles weren’t necessarily disqualified if they were promoted on Korean music shows, so we judged a song’s level of exposure on a case-by-case basis. For example, we decided that BTS’s original “MIC Drop” couldn’t make the cut because their heavily promoted remix with Steve Aoki and Desiigner rendered it too well-known. (Not to worry, ARMYs. Your faves still made the list.)
You may not agree with our methodology, but we’re sure we’ll turn you onto the best deep cuts in K-pop this decade.
*'딥 컷츠': 사운드보다 비쥬얼을 중시하는 것으로 알려진 케이팝의 이면을 소개하기 위해, 인기있는 싱글 외에 숨겨진 보석같은 곡들을 소개한 글. 극소수를 제외하고는 한 아티스트당 한 곡으로 제한을 둔 비평가들의 셀렉션.
37. 씨엔블루 - '아이의 노래' (Can't Stop, 2014)
2014년 싱글 'Can't Stop'은 씨엔블루가 접근성 높고 듣기 좋은 락팝을 주조할 수 있는 밴드라는 점을 돋보이게 했는데, 미니앨범 수록곡인 '아이의 노래' 역시 부정할 수 없이 뛰어난 트랙이었다. (캔스탑과) 동등한 수준의 접근성과 함께, 기분을 업시키는 무드와 멜로디가 가장 빼어난 콜드플레이의 곡들을 떠오르게 한다.