Hey, B-I-C-T-H!!!! It’s been a while, huh? I still have an active subscription to this domain, so I really told on my lazyass self to do something about it (even though it takes away time from my Genshin grinding lmao add me, 808193419 – Asia server)
Before we start, I need you to answer the following:
- What is the 411?
- What is everybody been up to?
- What is the hot gossip? TELL ME EVERYTHING.
- What are you guys listening to?
- What’s the cOoL jAmS?!?
Well, I really don’t have anything to add to the conversation on items 1-3 (except that I do it for the tea), so numbers 4 and 5 it is.
I’m just blabbing at this point so let’s proceed. These are some of my favorite tracks as of this posting and if we have tracks in common…then it’s the taste for me!!! Just kidding, you can like whatever you want…I’ll just look upon you with righteous condemnation.
Agaaainn…here are some favorites from this year and I’ve organized them into tiers(?)…I noticed that the kids are so into those recently and we gotta do what we gotta do to conceal the sign of the times. (Something tells me I’m not doing this right but whatevs)
Did It Better
This tier is made of all tea, all shade, all pink lemonade so I’ll leave it to you to figure it out what (or who) I am talking about.
Understood the Summer Class Assignment
Brave Girls | Chi Mat Ba Ram – The first half of K-Pop this year was largely about second winds, and this group was at the forefront of that wonderful albeit brief phase. I wish it was extended a little more because there’s a lot of older groups that deserved another look, but I digress. With this renewed popularity, the girls are keen on securing the summer season moving forward and this track (while it has points for improvement) is a great step forward.
Twice | Alcohol-Free – Ahh, this polarizing bop. I don’t know about you, but this luau-meets-elevator-music-meets-summer alumni homecoming jam may be a little too much of a niche, but it is brilliant. It’s camp! I guess it’s always the JYP-led TWICE tracks that get me (see Signal).
Hyolyn and Dasom | Summer or Summer – In this tier, it’s this song that really, really understood the assignment.That is highly expected because it came from half of the original summer queens aka Sistar. Now this, BB, is how you do it and I know with his arsenal of hitmaking techniques, he can reach this sweet spot for his own summer queens.
“Boy I, Boy I, Boy I know…I know they got the serves” (My pun game has never been stronger, right? Right???)
Purple Kiss | Zombie – With *whispers* Future Nostalgia written all over it, this is a great change of pace for a group who’s still figuring out what works for them. Dula Peep did that!
DKB | All In – Speaking of Brave Brothers, one of his signature (yet infamous) moves is chopping the the BB potato in many different ways. Varied, you may say, but a potato is a potato at the end of the day. And in this one, we can see a little of After School’s Because of You and to a larger degree, Brave Girls’ Deepened (which definitely deserved better, so to speak!!!!). We love him for that!!!
TXT | LO$ER=LO♡ER – Now, this one…lmao!! On paper, this track (and everything connected to it) is incredibly cheesy but what makes it work is how really well they sell it…like really, really, really well. I mean, being a “lover with a dollar sign is a loser” may sound hilarious…but it gets to you. You understand it. You feel it. You believe it. Yes, maybe I am a loser and a lover on top of being a child, a mother, a sinner, and a saint…and I do not feel ashamed!!!! Of course, we love the pop-rock moment that they’re serving here as it gives us peak Big Bang vibes which is clearly where they got the inspiration from (see Loser, Love Song, heck even the titles match!).
PIXY | Addicted – I was recently introduced to PIXY and after a few spins of their tracks, I’m happy to see them following a more Dreamcatcher route…and by that, I mean finding a sound that works for them and sticking to it. So far, the girls are giving me a more sinister vibe a la early VIXX especially with this one which is indeed a breath of fresh air from the others who are well…see the Did It Better tier. I hope they share the same word-of-mouth following that DC got because it would be unfortunate to see them call the curtains (because at the end of the day, they need to sell records) …so y’all better #STANPIXY like I do!!!!
GWSN | Like It Hot – I thought the Girls in the Park got lost when they swerved lanes a bit with last year’s Bazooka but it’s good to see them recover with this track which combines their signature dreamy sound with a little bit of funk here and there. Check out the EP (and their older catalog as well), good stuff. See, this is what I’m talking about second winds earlier, more groups need it!
ONF | Ugly Dance – I gravitate towards girl group music more as I find more variety in there but if there’s a boy group that really snapped this year, it’s ONF. It’s the absolute consistency for me! From kicking the year off with the grandiose Beautiful, Beautiful to the religious experience that is Popping, ONF has been nothing but excellent. It helps that they have MonoTree behind them who are masters in mixing their retro stylings (as they studied under Sweetune) with the current trends that the kids are all about. That fusion is well manifested here.
Dreamcatcher | BEcause – This one really caught me off-guard because of how it was packaged and promoted. For a release under an album called Summer Holiday, I really thought they were gonna be sellouts for once, but it was so clumsy, no, dumb of me to assume this happening for Dreamcatcher. Instead, we got one of their strongest tracks ever and dare I say…their peak.
WOODZ | Feel Like – What I like most about Woodz is him taking space in the dwindling male solo acts category in K-Pop. Taemin can’t do it all alone (esp. now that he’s in the military)! In terms of material, Feel Like is definitely a pog moment for our guy here. Taking inspiration from (at least for me) Fever and a little bit of slick Santana guitars, this concoction is a much-needed mature take that is greatly missing from the game right now.
Sunmi | Tail – People nowadays may associate Sunmi with Gashina and her other recent hits, but it is really in her earlier solo work where I felt she was exceptional…and by that, I mean the JYP solos era. Tail is a callback to those moments and I’m relieved to see that she still has the chops to pull it off. 24Hours will forever be that bitch!
STAYC | ASAP – Black Eyed Pilseung is indeed a miracle in the current K-Pop landscape for they’re the ones that can perfectly cater to both the energetic young ones and the delightful older hags (aka me and others y’all know who you are). ASAP is a proof of that – an earworm that transcends generations, through worlds, worlds, worlds (god, I forgot the haiku I was thinking about when I wrote this, help!).
aespa | Next Level – It’s surprising that a lot of people are still thrown off by Next Lehvul’s structure when this has been done since 2013 (not just by SM groups but a ton of other acts). In fact, y’all should be scratching your heads when the time comes that SM decides to go by the book!
So while all of the song is nothing new (imo), what sets it apart is the lore that is tied the song and well, everything about the group. A song like Next Level perfectly captures the essence of the complex story that is aespa and I hope they continue to move forward with such vision until we all ascend to Kwangya. See y’all there!!!!
And that’s it!!! This is probably a rough draft of my annual list but there’s still two months left, and as always in K-Pop – there’s a ton to explore. What are your favorites this year, lemme know down below (or shoot an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, I have free trial so…) and let’s see!
Here’s a playlist for the full eleganza:
Featured image: ONF – Ugly Dance (Screengrab from YouTube)