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It’s mid-year listing season, folks. July is suddenly here, which means we’re now officially more than halfway through 2023 — and here we are at a resultWe’ve already put out some lists that highlight our favorite albums and tracks of the year so far.
While there are some great articles currently circulating around the internet rounding up the best K-pop songs of 2023, I decided to take a slightly different route today and highlight a few of the B-sides that have found their way into my country. playlists this year. It’s been an especially great season for the title tracks and singles, I think, but there are definitely some other treasures to be found on albums by acts like TXT, aespa, LE SSERAFIM, and more.
So, without further ado, please enjoy these 10 K-pop B sides, arranged in alphabetical order.
ispa – “thirsty”
Let’s get more R&B-style songs from these girls! aespa is known primarily for its high-energy tracks that incorporate more hard EDM and pop sounds, but this sweet and dreamy B-side from their third mini album is a lot of fun. This song also gave the girls ample opportunity to show off their harmony.
Atiz – outlaw
There’s no denying that “BOUNCY” is the star of ATEEZ’s current comeback cycle, but “Outlaw,” the EP’s closing track, is a sly hit that deserves our attention, too. Honestly, any track on this EP could have been put up as a single with the appropriate music video, but I’m partial to this one.
fromis_9 – “in the mirror”
Listen to “In the Mirror” or many of the other tracks on fromis_9, and you’ll probably be surprised to learn that it’s their debut album. Yes, these girls have released a lot of EPs since their debut in 2018, but… Open my world is the guaranteed full and interesting debut they deserve. This song is dreamy and mobile, and boasts vocal abilities in particular.
I’m not sorry
This soulful EP from IM member Monsta X is honestly a great listen all the way through, and the way he spreads horns throughout the record makes it especially memorable. “Dumb” is a highlight here, but “Not Sorry” conjures up an image of a depressed protagonist walking through the rain before stumbling into a late-night coffee shop to contemplate his life choices. It’s a complete mood setting.
Jimin – “Faceoff”
Something about Jimin’s solo album opening, Face, gives me great Ariana Grande energy, which is one of the biggest compliments I can ever write. I love hearing Jimin in an R&B-backed setting, especially one that’s tortured and melodramatic like this one where he can also tap into his lower register, along with the ethereal falsetto vocals we all know and love. This album dropped back in March, but “Face-off” is still firmly anchored in my On Repeat playlist on Spotify.
Le Seraphim – “Eve, Psyche & The Bluebeard’s Wife”
Your Honor, I love them! The ladies of LE SSERAFIM continue to crush it. Their debut studio album, released in May, contained plenty of gems, but none made it onto TikTok as effectively as “Eve’s Wife, Psyche & The Bluebeard.” Between the “I’m a mess” chant and some perfectly spread choreography, it’s an unforgettable projection into 2023.
P1Harmony – “Love Me For Me”
I told P1Harmony this when I talked to them about this album, but give me some syncopated piano and a good melody and there’s a really strong chance you’ll love the pop song. This album, from the group’s sixth mini album, is so refreshing and fun — the guys at P1Harmony seem to particularly thrive on bright tracks with hip-hop primary tones, and “Love Me for Me” is worth a try if you’re not familiar with the group yet.
SEVENTEEN – “I Don’t Understand But I Love You”
I could have chosen any of the B-sides from the SEVENTEEN collection MLFReally, and “Fire” (from the hip-hop unit) is a very close second here. But the performance unit knocked it out of the park with “I Don’t Understand But I Love You,” and I won’t rest until I see some choreography that conveys all the shout-outs on the track itself.
Stray Kids – “Super Bowl”
I’m not quite sure what makes this song so addictive, but “Super Bowl” is one of the songs from Stray Kids 5 stars which has been repeated in this family. Perhaps some of this track’s appeal is the whispering chorus — and sure, there’s no way this song is about cooking, but that’s just part of the Stray Kids brand at this point.
Tomorrow X Together – “Tinnitus (Wanna Be a Rock)”
While I also love “Happy Fools” featuring TXT’s Coi Leray Chapter Name: TemptationWe have to ditch it for “Buzz (I Wanna Be a Rock)”. It’s such a smooth bossa nova-style bob; Everyone’s voices sound great, and it’s a fun feeling for the band. While the EP was released in January, the song sounds even better here in the summer heat.