So, February’s list is here! The month was marked by upbeat girl groups releases and hidden jams (underground or not). Enjoy!
ps.: the limit is 2 songs by artist.
ps. 2: b-sides are included.
ps. 3: these are my opinions! but feel free to interact and post yours on the comment section 🙂
Song: Knock Knock
Album: TWICEcoaster : LANE 2
Starting of the list is Twice’s fourth single Knock Knock. Twice is one of those groups that people love to hate. Many find their success highly overrated and that they shouldn’t stand where they are right now (becoming the most influential girl group in Asia of this generation), while their large fanbase find the group’s talent and charms enough for their ever growing reputation and fame. Either way you choose to think, you can’t deny the bubblegum replay factor their singles have. The uncompromising and fun sound they always deliver together with the cheerful choreography and charisma of the group is no different in Knock Knock and it got me sold at the first listening.
Song: A Girl Like Me
Album: Act.2 Narcissus
After a quite forgettable debut, the girls from Gugudan came back with a renewed sound. A Girl Like Me is a upbeat track with a 60s spy vibe that features a colorful MV contemplating the charms and visuals of the group in a more sophisticated way. The song sounds very appropriate for the group’s voices, concept and age giving a refreshing take on youthful girl group songs for this month.
Song: My First and Last
Artist: NCT Dream
Album: The First
With a uptempo and vibrant track, NCT Dream finally released a single I truly enjoyed. My First and Last sounds young and in combination with their teen voices, the final product is a classic pop song that talks about first love’s. Also, the complex breathtaking choreography is another highlight of this comeback which you guys can check in the performance version above.
Song: Don’t Recall
Album: K.A.R.D Project Vol. 2 – Don’t Recall
After being surprisingly well received by the general public with their debut single Oh NaNa, K.A.R.D is back with another tropical house. But, even though the style has been overused anywhere including kpop and the own group (if you followed their next releases), when the track came up, something almost unique came out of it in a ocean of songs circulating in the same zone. Don’t Recall is the definite Tropical House of kpop, because it goes further. The dramatics of all four interpretations, the dialogue formed through the song, the powerful instrumental culminating in the devastating chorus and ending makes Don’t Recall K.A.R.D’s true trump.
I’m a sucker for some of Zion.T’s previous releases when he was still in Amoeba’s Culture. But after he migrated to YG’s Black Label, I truly thought we wouldn’t be hearing from him for the next couple of years. Fortunately, I was wrong, and the singer released the mini “OO” in February this year. The single The Song is great with a beautiful visual MV too. But here in this list, I’ll give place to the jazzy Comedian. The track is like a classic late Zion.T release, a RnB with smooth vocals. In a scenario with so many KRnB singers releasing and debuting on a weekly basis, Zion.T keeps standing out as one of the most genuine and unique for me. I love the whole vibe of the track and it’s definitely my favorite from the album, which is full of gems BTW. Tracks like Cinema, a easy listening Brazilian-fusion track and Wishes, a simplistic ballad make “OO” already one of the highlight albums of the first half of the year.
Song: I Don’t Wanna Love You
Artist: June One Kim x Krystal
Album: I Don’t Wanna Love You
F(x)’s Krystal paired up with June One Kim from the k-indie band Glen Check in the release I Don’t Wanna Love You. The track is a subtle PR&B with a very nice production, a great fusion between the instrumental and Krystal’s so little displayed out of F(x)’s releases but very much welcomed voice. But the highlight goes to the superb Art-Video that follows the song, showing Krystal in a very poetic and interpretative way with beautiful shots and frames.
Song: Spring Day
Album: You Never Walk Alone
In February, the ascendant boy group came with the pop ballad, Spring Day. After their last comeback in 2016 with the moonbaton BS&T, I was already expecting a more “emotional” release since the group has been intercalating between these two styles for a while now. Spring Day is a song that dialogues directly with the fans of the group, speaking about their doubts, trajectories and bond as a team. The song stays in the same key only reaching a more explosive moment by the end but the entire track feels like a intimate talk that establishes a intense connection between the listener and the interlocutor.
Album: R U READY?
Lovelyz made a comeback with a full album and the cute title track WoW!. The group, that for me figures on the elite of aegyo productions, once again delivered a upbeat and yet sophisticated track of the saturated concept, proving their place on the top. Lovelyz always manages to come with a 80’s inspired song that merges different elements and fits the group concept in a unique way among others and I always appreciate that. I feel like the group has yet to have their hit to win the hearts of the general public and charts but until that, they already have a spot in my *heart*. Also they provided one of the best bossa-nova inspired tracks of the year in kpop, the sugary My Little Lover.
Song: No City For Love
Album: No City For Love
Yeseo is a very talented singer-songwriter self-composed and produced act from the underground Korean music scenario that caught my attention with Bud last year and now with her new release, No City For Love. A groovy tune that really gives a urban and edgy vibe paired with the atmospheric vocals from the singer.
Song: Body Talk
Artist: Red Velvet
When Red Velvet made a comeback with Rookie back in February, I stood with the people that liked the song at the first listening. But for some reason, I didn’t really pay much attention to the mini album even though I’m a huge fan of the group, I just stuck with their others albums on my playlist. Around April, I decided to give a “second” listen to the album and I found the hidden gem that is Body Talk and the reason why i put it instead of Rookie. Even though I find Rookie fun and a great listen, Body Talk is one of their best b-sides to this date and one of the best side tracks of kpop in a whole imo. The song is the perfect “Velvet” side, a smooth synth-infused tune that gives me chills in the first seconds of song. Even though the mini album may not have much to offer, this side-track it’s glorious on it’s on, enthralling and powerful.