Though marred with controversy and sadness, the end of October and beginning of November had some long awaited comebacks from some of my favorite artists.
Taeyeon - Spark (불티)
Taeyeon’s latest highly anticipated album, Purpose, did not disappoint. Spark has that Rolling in the Deep vibe that is compelling. The stomping percussion drives the instrumentals and lets Taeyeon’s vocals shine. The highlight of the song was the vocal arrangement during the chorus leading to the clapping post-chorus. The layered vocals along with the instrumentals instantly became ingrained. Taeyeon’s soulful vocals were front and center and she delivered with effortless polish.
(G)I-DLE – Lion
There are times I feel like (G)I-DLE are trying too hard to be edgy, but Lion uses that edginess by providing the fierce energy needed for this song. I love the gradual build of percussive elements leading up to the first chorus. Soyeon was aiming for that tribal feel without using the typical drum samples. The best part is when the instrumental fades out so that the focus is on the upcoming big vocal moment.
Oh My Girl - Guerilla
My favorite from Queendom’s finale, Guerilla is a great sequel after The Fifth Season. Oh My Girl didn’t stray from their wheelhouse by bringing orchestral elements during the exceptional chorus. The song sticks to what Oh My Girl is known for with its aesthetically pleasing and ethereal sound. Props to the girls for demonstrating to the world their vocal abilities in this song and hope Queendom brought in more people to the fandom.
IU - Love Poem
Postponing her latest album release, IU releases a single for her fans. Love Poem is an emotional pop ballad especially with the lyrics. This is slightly different sound for IU with the liveish instrumental and her singing style. The minimal instrumental allows her voice to shine and IU never disappoints.
ARIAZ - Moonlight Aria
The glitch hop sound of Moonlight Aria is what makes this song stand out. The chippy synths from the beginning continue throughout the song lightening the mood. The titular hook is catchy yet subdued without any melody being exactly memorable. As I listened to the song more and more, it grew on me as I became more familiar with the idiosyncrasies. Moonlight Aria is a promising debut for ARIAZ.
We In The Zone - Loveade
Right from the beginning, Loveade sounds like a 2nd gen song. It has this generic, old, catchy kpop song. The melody is reminiscent of the upbeat and pleasant melodies of the past. However, this is what makes the song stand out with all the current releases falling into the trap and EDM genres. I may not be able to recall this song later, but for now it is a refreshing listen this autumn.
Dongkiz - Fever
Dongkiz has established themselves as the rookie group that can deliver that bright, cheerful energy. Fever has a high-tempo disco beat keeping the song bouncy and energetic. The energy is so contagious that it covers for some of the song’s shortcomings. There isn’t much song in terms of singing, but relies on the energy from the instrumental melody. This song just makes you want to dance, what a great follow-up to Blockbuster.
GOT7 - You Calling My Name
Opening with an atmospheric sound, You Calling My Name has GOT7 trying out some funkier elements. The rhythm guitar coupled with brass gives the chorus the umph it needs to keep the song moving forward. The staccato chorus totally caught me off guard the first time; moreover, the second chorus changes it up with a flushed out instrumental, instantly selling me the song.
Yubin - Silent Movie (ft. Yoon Mirae)
Ethereal instrumentals with a retro vibe, Yubin’s Silent Movie is more subdued and chill than her previous releases. Yubin’s deep voice fits perfectly for this vibe especially combined with Yoon Mirae’s voice. The use of muted brass and atmospheric piano lend to the ethereal feel of the track, especially the sax? Oboe? Clarinet? (I can’t tell). This song isn’t most people’s cup of tea, but it definitely hit all the right spots for me.
Stray Kids - Astronaut
A total 180 from the hard-hittin hip hop of Double Knot, Astronaut is generic EDM. The drop can be heard at any EDM festival, but the surprisingly constrained. This prevents the song from providing the total euphoric feeling. The rap parts are what keeps the song from becoming another generic EDM track along with the layered melodic lines leading up to the drop.
Mamamoo - Hip
I must admit, from the first listen, I did not immediately like the song. I was still stuck on their last album Wind Flower which had a different vibe to it with more mid-tempo ballads. Mamamoo has always had this air of coolness around them and Hip plays off of this effortless coolness. It is groovy from the get go with its arrangement and never becomes tiresome. The song does lack the usual power notes or runs from the members, but it isn’t needed as their charisma keeps the listener interested.