With COVID-19 pandemic throwing things for a loop a bit, a sense of normalcy has returned. Working from home and social distancing as the new norm, Neomuhae can get back on track. Even with all that’s been going on, Kpop has been a great stress reliever and I’m eager to share some music that might just cheer you up during this stressful time.
Red Velvet - Psycho
ReVe Festival series comes to its conclusion with the release of Psycho. In this track, the girls return to the mellow r&b sound reminiscent of Bad Boy. The girl’s vocals shine brightly especially the falsetto during the pre-chorus. Although the song isn’t as unpredictable as their previous releases, I enjoyed the streamlined and anthemic quality of Psycho. The “hey now, we’ll be okay” finale portrays the mood so well – adamantly hopeful, with a little bit of self-assurance trying to convince oneself.
CL - +DONE161201+
Welcome CL back to the phonographic landscape with her latest album In The Name Of Love. Each track has been time stamped with Done as December 16, 2016. From the beginning, CL voice oozes charisma and smugness. You can feel the confrontational energy from the music as her thoughts come pouring out. The repetitive and catchy chorus makes the song easy-listening.
Park Jihoon - 360
I really enjoy the dreamy, synth-driven style of 360. A staccato-like electronic instrumental creates a pulsating mid-tempo song. Jihoon’s processed dreamy, breathy vocals lend well to the song. The subduedness of vocals and instrumentals create a great atmosphere, but never really explodes into anything bigger.
Monsta X - Middle Of The Night
Monsta X has some of the best English releases by a K-pop act. Middle Of The Night begins with a catchy electronic beat paired with atmospheric synths creating a simple, but not dull instrumental. The shimmering synths during the chorus give the song a retro feel which is very contemporary in the US. A perfect song to drive to at night while deep in thought.
Stray Kids - Levanter (바람)
Levanter almost sounds like the typical slow-burn, but forgettable boy group sound. However, there are a couple of things that save the song. Starting from the pre-chorus is where the song gets interesting. The melody slowly becomes anthemic until the explosive chorus, filled with rock guitar. A perfect bookend to their 2019 trilogy.
BoA - Starry Night (ft. Crush)
BoA brings her upbeat sound to her latest mini album. Starry Night, which is also the name of the album, is a perfect for the coffee shop vibe. A pleasant track that fits into BoA’s fondness for singer-songwriter r&b. The song is all about the sentimental vibe rather than dynamic instrumentals. Both vocals blend well with each other with their husky timbres.
Shin WonHo - Invasion
Invasion starts with a slapping, addictive funk-disco beat. The groovy instrumental will have you nodding along. The smooth vocals are captivating and really add to the song. Kpop needs more disco and this song nailed it. The bass line just slaps.
Holland - Loved You Better
This is the first Holland song I’ve listened to and it did not disappoint. I immediately gravitated toward this song with its acoustic opening. Holland’s voice is comforting and warm as he sings about his experiences with bullying and mental-health struggles and eventual self-declaration of loving oneself. Instrumentally, Loved You Better fits my musical taste. The soundscape is dreamy and atmospheric with the combination of the vocals and synths.
Baek Yerin - Popo (How deep is our love?)
Baek Yerin’s first full-length album is a collection of dreamy songs perfect on those quiet, cold mornings. Popo is a cute, wistful song about love. Baek Yerin’s vocals are mesmerizing from the opening moments of the song. The instrumental has some slight jazzy elements creating an atmosphere perfect for that coffee shop vibe.