Golden Child have built a pretty consistent run of singles, with maybe two or three duds… But honestly many of these singles stand proudly as songs I’m willing to loop in my Spotify playlist. It’s even more impressive when both ends of the ‘bright-dark spectrum’, as I like to call it, are filled with great songs. After making this list, I’ve learned two things: it’s fun and absolutely torturous (literally me after I was done). It will be interesting to look back at my rankings after (hopefully) a few more releases!
For simplicity sake, I won’t be including b-sides of the Game Changer album (i.e. Poppin) even though they got MVs. I also won’t be including any performance videos or alternate renditions of their past tracks (i.e. Road to Kingdom version of Wannabe).
Alright, without further ado. Letsgetit!
16. RATA-TAT-TAT (2022)
The purple rat Pokemon song is… not last place? That’s illegal.
Ok, all kidding aside. I know this song is nowhere near the group’s best works by a long shot. But they still salvage this predictable noisy formula with a corny hook to follow. It’s a guilty pleasure at best. And at worst, it’s an unnecessary source of anger I may need to tackle my assignments head-on (exaggerated).
15. A WOO!! (2022)
An all bark but-surprisingly-has-some-bite track. It may not stand out much from the boisterious pack but the EDM beats and funky energy are simple yet executed adequately to make this cheesy song worth a listen.
14. DDARA (2021)
Men in suits ain’t no novelty. But the song is! While the instrumental may lack layers of BLSSD’s productional touches to make DDARA a true standout, Golden Child compensates it with the power of their diverse vocals. The final chorus’ acapella is an absolute treat.
13. Ra Pam Pam (2021)
An interesting song with mixed responses from the community. It doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessor built of similar themes and musical terrain, but it’s still a fine entry to the group’s discography. The dirty percussions pulsing the members’ delivery forward were easily the song’s best asset. Even at times where it threatens to fall flat, it’s the approach which values Golden Child’s skills that makes Ra Pam Pam engaging enough to bop your head along to.
12. Wannabe (2019)
Doing a complete reboot after a year of inactivity? Of course that’s worrisome. Especially if the artist succumbed to the angst trend, a trend that often sacrifices melodies and longevity. And yet, the twists of synths and hip-hop beats swerving between elegance and chaos were enough to make a song like Wannabe distinct. It’s a decent start to the BLSSD’s ‘dark’ trilogy that only improves from here on out.
11. Without You (2020)
Initially a song I disliked since its release for being ‘too empty’, this will be the same reason that gives Without You incredible staying power. The hypnotic push-and-pull of electronic beats and atmospheric synths were beautifully utilised to create an ethereal ambience. It’s a slow burn that has only gotten more addicting over time.
10. Pump It Up (2020)
A return-to-form of the group’s bubbly rookie years with the group’s maturated experience, both literally and musically. It’s a playground filled with quirky vocal layering, funky rhythm, and bursts of brass to make an unapologetic fun ride… well… Fun!
9. DamDaDi (2017)
Once you (mis)hear the chorus, it’s over. You’re down bad for the “damn daddy” line. Or “dumb daddy”. Whatever! It’s great. Golden Child’s debut is an instant home run that tugs your ears immediately with its infectious hooks and unbridled energy. DamDaDi is the first to showcase the group’s colourful personalities, and certaintly not the last we’ll see their skills fully realised in many great songs to come.
8. Replay (2022)
After joining wolf packs and F1 racers that got some fans worried, Replay steers Golden Child back on track with an explosive display of gritty guitars and electronics. The production is bold from start to finish that further amplifies the members’ dynamic performances. That, and the frenzied rush peaking at the many dramatic moments, makes this song worth replaying.
7. Let Me (2018)
Golden Child are great at selling the idea of what joy is without the music being too cloying, and Let Me is no exception. The boy bands’ pop-rock anthem is a formula that cannot fail. But with an ebullient titular chant that makes the final chorus’ percussive stomps and ad-libs thrilling, it’s hard to deny the urge of looping this feel-good anthem.
6. Breathe (2021)
Despite being placed 6th here, Breathe is still a victory lap for the group. The melodies is tightly intertwined in the song’s rhythmic funk without it becoming too suffocating. And when the high notes soar sky-high along with the instrumentation? Loved it. Golden Child’s matured vocals truly define Breathe as exceptional rather than being another normal bright song.
5. It’s U (2018)
Ah, classic pop melodies. Right from the get-go, propulsive synths and harmonious vocal layering pulls you right in with its infectious hooks. I argue that every section here are easy contenders for best earworms. Despite how the production never stops its galloping beat, it’s thanks to Sweetune’s magic that makes It’s U a special kind of sugar rush. And it’s the kind that never gets old.
4. Burn It (2021)
Burn It doesn’t tell a typical tragedy with a bitter end like most narratives would suggest. Instead, after the slow-burn verses, the ascending choruses and bridge evoke a sense of hope. It’s a majestic build with a huge pay-off. The emotive backbone of reggaeton beats and hushed whistles driving the explosive vocals forward easily makes Burn It as one of the group’s most compelling performances to date.
3. Genie (2018)
Golden Child concocts the perfect balance of pop, EDM, and tropical elements to gift us pure bliss of joy. In retrospect, Genie is proof of how a robust structure can do wonders without unnecessary breaks in energy for the fear of being stagnant (i.e. the trap-rap verse curse). The formula is simple, yet it never shies away from injecting subtle stabs of EDM or vocal power to fuel the mellow soundscape. Its incredible pacing rewards listeners with a well-deserved dance break that further elevates the overall magical experience.
2. LADY (2018)
Sentiment is one thing. Perhaps it’s delivered in a ballad. Or maybe do some “oohing” to fill the void. But that emotive prompt shouldn’t tie the music down and be just that: a sentimental piece. With the harmonious blend of synths and pianos, Golden Child proves that a smartly crafted melody is just as important as tugging our heartstrings. There’s room for the guys to breathe in, which what makes the set-up for the choruses even more impactful. LADY is the perfect exhibition of sentimental pop and Golden Child’s newfound maturity.
1. ONE (Lucid Dream) (2020)
My brain (and unfinished draft) stores a plethora of thoughts on why ONE (Lucid Dream) is perfect in what it does. I’ll save those for another day. Many people praise this single for its unique execution. It cumulates Golden Child’s strengths and contextualise them in trippy vocal effects, bass, and strings. But I think the song has achieved much more than that. Not only does ONE (Lucid Dream) boast some of the most fascinating compositions in recent memory, but it subverts the dark-angst narrative boy groups were tirelessly doing back in 2020. BLSSD had a clear vision: create a haunting experience that’s worth listening to over and over.
And it works. It really works.
Header Image Source: Images from Woollim Entertainment. Collage done by Haruko