With the burgeoning growth of K-pop in its current state, many newer fans are unaware of many of the genres past classics. That’s why every week I will be taking a look back at some of K-pop’s most exciting and iconic tracks that were released before the conception of this blog to shed some light on this now bygone time.
I know I’ve mentioned this many times already on this blog but I genuinely think that the disbandment of X1 is right up there with some of K-pop’s biggest missed opportunities. Despite all the vote rigging I genuinely think it was the strongest and most consistent Produce lineup ever. Each member was insanely talented and the group seemed perfectly balanced between visuals, dancers, vocalists and rappers. They were destined to be a super group and the fact that their 5 years was cut short to just over 5 months was incredibly disappointing. So in commemoration of what would be their 1 year debut anniversary, I thought I would look back on their initial and only foray into the K-pop landscape. The incredible Flash.
For me, one of the most important aspects of a great song is its opening few seconds. Sure, there are some really strong songs that take a while to get going but the best songs grab you almost immediately. And Flash is one of those songs. Its verses are pure pop magic and the gorgeous opening collage of sparkly synths and whistle led hook are enough to immediately immerse the listener. From here on the track effortlessly introduces Yohan’s silky smooth vocals before Wooseok transitions us into a more funk laced Hagyul led verse. I remember how much this simple little transition blew me away on first listen. It managed to expertly shift from a heavily melancholic atmosphere into something that pulsed with an invigorating dance floor drive.
And while this is all solid stuff, Flash then moves onto its crowning moment. It’s brilliant anthemic pre-chorus. It’s a moment that easily stands up there as one of 2019’s most instantly engaging musical moments and acts as the tracks most resonant attribute. The vocals are layered to create a near otherworldly atmosphere and the supporting instrumental just absolutely soars. It just continues to build and build and really gives hope for an epic payoff. Which is where Flash hits its first and only real roadblock. Unfortunately, this is the one moment where Flash stumbles into a rather basic centrepiece. While I actually really enjoy the electronic breakdown we get here, I can’t help but wonder how transcendent Flash could have been had it been given a more melodic hook. It would have really shot it into the stratosphere and would have easily catapulted the song into my top 10 of 2019. But honestly if you want to go with an instrumental breakdown for a chorus, you could do much much worse.
Regardless of this minor setback, Flash roars back with its second verse which shows that you don’t have to drop into half time just because it’s trendy. Sure the tempo slows down a little for Minhee’s verse but that fantastic funk beat comes roaring back in seconds later and then we’re treated with a fantastic rap break, supported not momentum killing trap beats but some exhilarating electronics. I love how despite its rather underwhelming hook, Flash is a song that knows how to build and maintain momentum and while I would have loved to see much more material coming out of this group, I’m glad they left us with this absolute banger of a single. Fly High X1. Fly High.
Final Rating: 9/10