Underrated Bops From The Contestants Of “Queendom 2” That Deserve The Royal Treatment
In the recent premiere of Mnet’s “Queendom 2,” the contestants take the first few episodes of the reality TV series to introduce themselves with their representative songs, which most K-pop fans are no doubt familiar with. From former SISTAR vocalist Hyolyn to the recently resurgent Brave Girls and to the freshly debuted Kep1er, this season of the hit reality competition is shaping up to be its most iconic yet. Before we explore new sides of our six contestants through the season, here are some of their underrated tracks to check out!
Since the disbandment of SISTAR in 2017, vocalist Hyolyn has wasted no time striking it out on her own, releasing a string of bangers like “Dally,” “SEE SEA,” and the recent “Layin’ Low.” Hidden among these hits, however, is the rhythmic, sensual single “Spell,” which the K-pop icon unveiled back in 2020 for the OST of the movie “Swag” starring TEEN TOP’s Niel. Every bit as alluring as its title suggests, this song is one of the most criminally underrated amongst the idol’s solo releases!
The raw, emotional quality of Hyolyn’s voice shines through in her intimate 2019 digital single “youknowbetter,” which explores the sense of emptiness and loneliness after putting your all into a relationship. While it isn’t hard-hitting like some of Hyolyn’s other singles, “youknowbetter” cuts deep with its vulnerable lyrics expressed through subtle changes in her timbre in this heartfelt number.
Before Brave Girls’ viral success with “Rollin’,” there was the iconic “High Heels.” Released in 2016, this vibrant summer single was far ahead of its time and is among one of the girl group’s greatest. In addition to its cheeky, confident lyrics, its accompanying music video is also full of sassy wit. What’s not to love?
In last year’s “Summer Queen” mini album, the quartet took their retro sound to the next level with the groovy, 80s-inspired disco number “FEVER.” “Boys, girls, let’s get down,” Brave Girls urge, inviting listeners to escape the monotonous drag of daily life for a night.
While former GFRIEND members Eunha, SinB, and Umji have only released one mini album as VIVIZ, the trio is already steadily building their repertoire of sound. Among these is the spellbinding “Tweet Tweet,” a whimsical, alluring B-side off their debut release “Beam of Prism.”
“Here We Are” (GFRIEND)
Outside of VIVIZ’s still-growing discography, we expand our horizons to include the hidden gem in previous GFRIEND releases. A cut from the iconic girl group’s 2020 mini album “回:LABYRINTH,” the moving “Here We Are” is one that tugs on your heartstrings, especially knowing the act’s eventual fate. “Here we are, in a place where we were most beautiful / Here we are, in a place where all our seasons are,” they sing, inspiring tears in even the most casual of fans.
The otherworldly “Pantomime” might just be one of WJSN’s best B-sides of all time. With its uniquely off-kilter instrumental and dreamy vocals in the chorus, this charming track is one of the most well-loved among fans of the group, though casual listeners may not be too familiar with it.
“I woke up like this, and everyone says I’m pretty,” sings the girl group on this cheekily confident retro-tinged number. A standout track from WJSN’s first studio album “Happy Moment,” the adorably quirky “Babyface” is ridiculously catchy and will have you singing along “I’m a, I’m a babyface,” in no time.
With a fanbase as ardent as LOONA’s, it’s difficult to really call any of their tracks underrated. Nevertheless, the passionate “열기” (“yeolgi“) is a stunning B-side off of the beloved girl group’s debut mini album “[+ +].” Combining low-key elements of tropical house and moombahton, it swells and builds to a euphoric drop in its chorus, complete with brassy horns that just work.
While LOONA is known for their powerful, upbeat title tracks, the girls tone things down in this heartfelt ballad dedicated to their fans. “Even when the long darkness comes / I will rise, dazzling bright / To shine on you, and only you,” they sing delicately, showing their rare, tender side.
Like VIVIZ, this promising rookie act has only released one mini album, so we have yet to see their full potential. Despite their divisive debut track “WA DA DA,” Kep1er offers up the hypnotizing “MVSK” as an alternative if “WA DA DA” isn’t your cup of tea. This B-side also allows the members to shine more equally, showing us all the colors of Kep1er.
“See The Light”
Remixed in their “Queendom 2” opening show, “See The Light” acts as an introduction to the world of Kep1er, helping set the scene for all that is to come from the new girl group.
“Love You Like Crazy” – Taeyeon
With a host as iconic as Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, who could resist throwing in one of her songs too? A cut from her second studio album “Purpose,” the intense, obsessive “Love You Like Crazy” perfectly encapsulates the spiralling feeling of falling in love, all while Taeyeon flexes her impressive vocal chops.
“Where are you?” – CLC
A beautiful, low-key single from Kep1er leader Choi Yu Jin’s original group, “Where are you?” is tinged with longing and nostalgia. Its ethereal, 90s-inspired sound is a departure from the act’s more well-known, high-octane title tracks. Still, this laidback number remains one of CLC’s most charming releases.
Don’t miss “Queendom 2”:
What are some of your personal favorite tracks by the contestants of “Queendom 2”? Let us know down below in the comments!
Gladys Yeo is a longtime K-entertainment fan and university student majoring in Media and Asian Studies. Outside of school and writing, she can be found listening to K-pop girl groups, attempting cool new pole tricks, watching anime, or trying (and failing) to control her two pet corgis. Feel free to hit her up on Instagram to chat about dramas, music, and life!