Hi guys, so for my first post on the blog i’ll be doing what will be a regular monthly thing. I love listing stuff since always and with my favorite Asian pop songs is no different! so let’s go.
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 🙂
Opening the list, we have the most memorable group revamp on kpop from recent memory, CLC’s sixth single Hobgoblin. Even though it’s been a while now (since i’m writing this list in August), I still remember the shock from the concept difference. Also, how the reactions were mixed. If for one side the group was presenting a new sound with more identity and more elaborated production than before, the other had 4nias still mourning 4minute’s disband and accusing CLC of being “mere copycats” or “recycling some discarded 4minute single”. And even though the discarded single part is probably true, I don’t see them as just clones of their seniors but as the rightful heirs of the unique path the label group left on kpop (hopefully). Hobgoblin may not be the best song from their mini album Crystyle (a very consistent one, having great tunes like Meow Meow, I mean that and Liar) but is the one which encapsulates the best the new image the group wanted to present, bringing a soft-bad-girl-pop track at it’s most visual.
Song: I Wish
Album: I Dream
The first debut on the list is from Cha Yoonji, Baro’s (from B1A4) younger sister and record label fellow, that goes by the pseudonymous I, with the good surprise “I Wish”. The track is a nostalgic tune that feels a lot like a BoA song, from the early 00’s pop music with touches of RnB in a high pitched voice references to the signature female figure dancing energetically with her troupe of male dancers in the background on the MV. It almost feels like a ode to the legendary artist from SM to me. But still, ‘I’ manages to give the track her own youthful touch making me excited for what is yet to come.
Song: I Wait
Album: Every DAY6 January – Single
With a bold project consisting of a monthly release with a MV and a b-side in 2017, Day6 kick-started it in the best way possible. I Wait is a compelling progressive pop rock song, that talks about breaking walls built around love and anguishing hope. The synthesizers in the intro, the whispered vocals, the word game of the bridge, the erupting chorus, the powerful ending. I Wait showcases the best of Day6 with great vocals, emotional deliver and soulful instrumentals. But also something somewhat more rare on (k)pop songs: feeling.
Song: Back 2 U
Artist: NCT 127
Album: NCT #127 LIMITLESS
For unknown reasons, NCT 127 was never a group that really caught my attention, since I find their first mini album pretty consistent as well as their debut songs. But moving on, in January the group released which is for me their best single (together with “Without U”) and a very good mini album. And even though I like Limitless, I chose the throwback-ish pop song Back 2 U. The track gives me intense boy-group-from-the-00’s vibe and is my favorite song from the mini. This one is also a pretty good listening.
Song: Excuse Me
Album: Angel’s Knock
In January the group came back with their first full album and two exciting singles, the also great Bing Bing and Excuse Me. Unfortunately, the girls were still suffering from public dislike since the lack of historical knowledge scandal that interrupted their “Good Luck” promotions in 2016. With that, their consistent comeback didn’t resonated as their previous ones had and a series of advents began to happen to the group (also, their main vocalist, ChoA, disbanded later in the year due to mental health issues). But besides all that, Excuse Me is a great song and the definite highlight of the album, being a different but great addition to AOA’s discography. The song is a mid-tempo dance-pop that evokes the sexy and classy sound the group would normally release but with a pinch of Kylie Minogue.
Song: Yes No Maybe
Album: Yes? No?
The surprise of January for me was Suzy’s solo debut, Yes No Maybe. When it was first announced my expectations were not that high. Since JYPE is really active on maintaining the (profitable) perfect and untouchable image of Suzy, it really made me think it would come a insipid ballad that would sell like water but have absolutely no appeal (cof cof Dream) but, gladly, I was wrong. I never saw Suzy so beautiful (even though she is really so beautiful), in this approachable, cinematic persona coming out of a Wong Kar Wai movie. I love this a lot! Beautiful visuals. Suzy gave me not only a melancholic Hong Kong 90’s vibe but a sweet mini album, containing my favorite track of this whole debut, Pretending to be happy.
Artist: Wednesday Campanella
With the great Superman (already one of my favorite albums of the year), the band released as a promotional single Ikkyu-San. The track was the third and last single from the album after Alladin and Kamehameha The great, both released in 2016. I am a huge fan of Wednesday Campanella’s sound, which is for me a sweet and adventurous take on feel-good electronic music. Ikkyu-San is one of my favorite songs from the album and is presented in a beautiful, colorful MV matching KOM_I’s cheerful voice.
Song: Chase Me
For the second debut and makeover of this list, we have Chase Me from the Dal☆Shabet juniors, Dreamcatcher. Previously known as MINX, the Happy Entertainment group has gone through a major revamp, switching the bubbly pop vibe to a dark pop concept plus the addition of 2 new members. And I’m glad it did. Even though the previous releases still as MINX were not bad, they could not compete with the uniqueness that Chase Me brought to the group specially in the kpop girl group current scenario (since this type of rock-ish approach is more common on j-pop). Chase Me is energetic, witchery, dramatic and have some great choreography, many attributes I love.
Album: Don’t say no
Until the very last minute to write this list, I was still deciding between Bad Love and Moonlight but I ended up choosing the first one to display it out of the mere admiration I have for a well-made slow jam pop song on kpop. By the first listening, the song hit me like a nostalgic song that plays on the throwback playlist in a late afternoon when you’re heading back home and turns the radio on. I love it and I feel like it’s a great addition as a closing song of a mini album that is very fresh and consistent. Bad Love is also a great track that is more than worth a listening as well as the single Don’t Say No.
And at last, the 20 years anniversary comeback from S.E.S., Paradise. The comeback is actually more like a reunion since the group didn’t release anything since 2003 and they existed as a group in activity for only 5 years. Either way, the remaining fans from the group were excited for the celebration and it payed off. Paradise is fun and nostalgic, a new jack swing that brings us more to the sonority when the group was active (97-02) than to the their sound itself. But the highlight of this comeback for me was with no doubt the way the three women were portrayed, how their maturity was converted on something sexy and colorful instead of a typical ballad with sober visuals that are so commonly given to the Korean singers that passed (IKR) their 30’s. Well done SM.