Another month has come to an end and here I am with another ‘Best of’. What October reserved us?
This month was one of pretty good releases (specially comparing with the last one.) Good surprises from acts that were being regular this year so far, reserved spots for acts that haven’t left this list for too long in 2017 (you can guess), very good Japanese pop coming around and the absence of artists I’m a huge fan of but that unfortunately disappointed me with only Ok singles/albums, like HA:TFELT and Epik High.
Let’s find out if your faves did or didn’t make it on my humble list. 🙂
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: Sabishii Nettaigyo
Album: 80s/90s J-Pop Revival
FEMM is back and with a full album of revivals from j-pop songs from the 80’s and 90’s (like the album title suggests in a very explanatory way lol.) But the album itself was a bit of a let down for me. The tracks ended up losing more of it’s original uniqueness than gaining it with the re-takes. Sabishii Nettaigyo is a exception though! The song is a nice revamp from the 80’s classic bop, bringing a more robotic (and mannequin-ish of course) feel to the track that consolidates the contemporary concept in style.
Song: O Sole Mio
Album: Knights Of The Sun
In a surprising choice, SF9, the brother group of AOA, is back with a latin-inspired song. This is so much better than insisting on a derivation like tropical house. O Sole Mio decides to go for a trend that comes and goes in the music world but that in 2017 k-pop is feeling fresh. AOA Jimin’s also released a track with similar inspirations this month but I felt that SF9 was more consistent.
Taemin is back with Move, a track that establishes the signature sound that the artist has been building since his solo debut, a sort of slow dance-pop that fits his style of dancing and singing perfectly. In terms of the single, I still prefer Danger, Press Your Number and Drip Drop, but the consistency is here. I mean, it’s recognizable: I know this song is from Taemin and I know this choreography is his work. I appreciate a artist identity being formed once in a while. Also, I choose this MV version out of the 4 for Sugawara Koharu’s presence, always a powerful one.
Song: Step Up Love (feat. Okamura Yasuyuki)
Album: Step Up Love – Single
This is so nice! Daoko bet on a disco inspired track and hit the jackpot. The pair is so charismatic on the MV, with Daoko being her fashionable robotic avant-garde self and Okamura, which I’m zero familiar with, giving his best eccentric dance moves. Step Up Love was a grateful surprise in the month of October and definitely one of my favorite Japanese tracks of the year so far.
Twice had many releases this year. I personally loved “Knock Knock” contradicting the general internet opinion, did not loved the sticky but not catchy “Signal” and the regular but satisfactory Japanese debut “One More Time”. So I feel that Likey gave us their first truly consistent single of the year (and def Top 3 of their career.) Is a round song, that satisfies in pace, feel and infectiousness. I really like it.
Song: Sweet Crazy love
Artist: Odd Eye Circle
Album: Max & Match
Like I said on my review, Sweet Crazy Love comes as a consolidator of Odd Eye Circle smooth concept more than a explorer but that doesn’t take away how good it is. It’s quality R&B K-pop like has not been made in a while (I mean the unit, since Eclipse has already blessed us some months ago.) The MV is stunning with enigmatic shots of the girls building a visual narrative that pleases the eyes and feeds theory fans all around. Well done, yet again, LOONA.
Song: 13th Month’s Dance
Artist: SVT Performance team
Album: Teen, Age
Seventeen is not a group that grabs my attention often. The last time they did was with “Highlight“, another track from the Performance Unit, the one focused on dance. 13th Month’s Dance is here proving to me that the unit is my favorite act from the whole group so far. The song is a regular future bass that manages to put up nice transitions between the parts as well as the messy chorus, which is my favorite part of the song. But my favorite part of the entire thing is definitely the dance performance, which I believe was the goal after all.
Artist: Odd Eye Circle
Album: Max & Match
For their second appearance here, Uncover is a super vibey Alt-R&B that conveys the melodic vocals of the trio with a atmospheric feel that only enhances their smooth K-pop brand™ even more.
Artist: Young Juvenile Youth
Here we have the electronic music from Young Juvenile Youth. I know House came full force this year and even I, a major fan of the genre, got a saturated, both by the East and West catalog. But when is well made like this one or Slapback, a moody song with a downtempo tone and lazy synths even my saturated ears can’t resist.
I can confidently say that this is my favorite b-side from Twice since some of their first album. Rollin’ is a nice approach to them, a more disco/70’s inspired with synthesizers that emulate some House music here and there. I mean, it’s pretty different for Twice. They 100% invest on bubblegum pop and even though I tend dig most of their singles, the b-sides are not memorable for me. But Rollin’ is! Likey is great and so is this side track.
PS.: Not wanting to sound too bitter or too random but unfortunately already being both, I was hoping something at least similar to this for Epik High’s comeback. Es Tu Vida was also released this last month and it made me think that. Not for the humor or style of song, but for the personality. When I think of them I think about captivating ballads like “Spoiler” or great laid-back hip-hop tracks like “Born Hater“. This album, even with amazing names like Oh Hyuk, IU and Suhyun didn’t inspired me much. Still bitter.