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6 K-pop B-Sides that Broke the Internet (2021)

From BTS to Lisa and Itzy, here are six artists that dominated social media trends this year with their music

Oysmita Majumder Dec 15, 2021
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In many ways, 2021 has been a monumental year in the K-pop industry for B-side tracks. While usually underappreciated compared to lead singles, this year saw a vast majority of them go viral and occasionally even surpass the album’s title tracks in terms of popularity and chart rankings. 

In no particular order, here’s our list of six K-pop B-sides that broke the Internet upon release.

“Fever” (ENHYPEN)

The follow-up single to the septet’s title track “Drunk-Dazed” from their EP Border: Carnival,“Fever” is a sensual R&B song, a bold and uncommon choice for a rookie group in the industry. Lyrically, the track follows a push-pull structure and speaks of a forbidden, fatal attraction. The music video showcases cinematography centered around the group’s otherworldly storyline, and has the members donning regal, period ensembles, complemented by shimmering makeup to add a quintessential hint of mystery to the song’s overall mood.
The suave choreography featured in “Fever” went on to become a major hit on Tiktok, as trends emerged on the track’s ‘point dance’ and gave ENHYPEN their first taste of mainstream international recognition.

“Shoot!” (ITZY)

Included as a B-side to ITZY’s recent chart-breaking ‘GUESS WHO?’ album, “Shoot!” is a Latin trap song that features an addictive, groovy instrumental. The lyrics showcase a more confident, feminine and love-struck side of the teen pop group.
In the months following its April’21 release, the track went viral on social media despite not having any special promotions or an official music/performance video. “Shoot!” has continued to stay one of the most sought-after tracks for creating transition and compilation edits on Tiktok and Instagram Reels long after its release.

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“Gone” (ROSÉ)

“Gone” is a single recorded by BLACKPINK’s Rosé, for her debut album R. It is a soft, indie rock ballad that summarizes the aftermath of a relationship gone sour and the tragic loneliness that often ensues. The heart-wrenching music video is filmed in an old, ornately embellished house, where the scenes swing between the past and the present. As happy, carefree shots of Rosé smelling flowers, sipping red wine and dining with her lover are replaced by evocative, paradoxical shots of flaming flowers, spilled wine and the singer-songwriter dejectedly dining alone at a table meant for two — evidently unable to move on from the trauma of the failed relationship.
Earlier this year, a delicate dance routine choreographed to the teaser audio of Rosé’s “Gone” blew up on Tiktok and Instagram Reels, helping amplify the mass recognition and acclaim received by R and its lead single “On The Ground.”

“Anti-Romantic” (TOMORROW X TOGETHER)

“Anti-Romantic” is listed as the opening track on TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s latest album The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE. The vocally-rich ballad, however, can also be categorized as an R&B track, furthering TXT’s artistic versatility. The song, highly reminiscent of the Gen Z thoughtscape, perpetuates a strong desire to be loved, shielded under a superficial, hollow exterior of apathy towards love or romantic emotions. “Anti-Romantic” has no official music or performance video, but the quintet performed a live, stripped-back version of the song on their comeback stage on Mnet, garnering high praise for their clear vocals and lack of any intrusive, overpowering instrumentals to mechanically enhance the track.
“Anti-Romantic” was a massive success on Tiktok and has been used well over 1,00,000 times by fans and non-fans alike for sharing dance covers and fan edits.

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“Money” (LISA)

The second single from BLACKPINK member Lisa’s solo debut album Lalisa, “Money” is a groovy, swaggering hip-hop track where the Thai rapper (rightfully) boasts about earning and spending her “dollar bills” in abundance. The song’s official performance video mixes power-packed choreography with elaborate, astutely curated set designs, varying from abandoned streets with neon billboards flashing “Money is a terrible master, but an excellent servant,” to warehouses with all-white LED backdrops.
Besides the track’s standalone audio, its catchy hook choreography, along with an exceptionally viral “meme version” clip – trended on Tiktok and Instagram Reels in the form of dance covers, transformation edits and most notably, edits to the hit Netflix series Squid Game.

“Permission To Dance” (BTS)

This lively number was part of the CD release to BTS’s preceding summer anthem “Butter” and is the band’s third all-English single. The vocal dance-pop track gives listeners an optimistic glimpse into a highly exhilarating, post-pandemic world. The playful, light-hearted music video displays scenes of BTS dancing in different settings while incorporating extensive sign-language choreography into the routine, and features actors from different races, sexes and age-groups to promote the track’s core messages of unity and inclusivity.
“Permission To Dance” keeps it simple yet thoughtful, and its catchy ‘sign-language dance’ was popular across Tiktok, Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts as a social media trend titled the ‘Permission To Dance Challenge.’ Due to its easy and simplistic nature, the challenge saw participation from masses of cybernauts: K-pop enthusiasts, the general public and other celebrities as well.

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