Still stuck in the past, we get to May 2020. Feeling the height of cabin fever, May had so many great, uplifting songs full of energy to get me through those times. Enjoy, I’m so close to finding my way back to the present!
IU - Eight (ft. Suga)
A mega collaboration, Eight is a pop rock track that shot straight to the top of the charts. The chorus is my favorite part with the instrumental and strong percussion constantly building energy giving the song a sense of epicness. Suga’s part is brief with a pleasant rap that didn’t divert the energy, but did feel unneeded. IU never disappoints with her vocal performance and her voice really suits this style. Eight is like a self-help book giving off a comforting and enveloping hug. The sense of optimism given off by the song is much needed at the moment.
Raiden x Chanyeol - Yours (feat. Lee Hi & Changmo)
Another super collaboration, this time featuring DJ Raiden and EXO’s Chanyeol. From the beginning, the listener is wandering around aimlessly with Chanyeol and Lee Hi’s vocals over a soft piano instrumental. Suddenly 1:10 into the song, a beautiful chorus comes in and the song never looks back. The chorus is an immediate hit with multiple layers of melodic lines on top of a sprightly instrumental. Changmo comes in with a soft rap and continues to build upon the energy. Yours is a shimmering and aesthetically pleasing listen.
KEEMBO - Scandalous
KEEMBO is a duo made from former Spica members. Boa and Bohyung really need more attention. Scandalous is a bright pop rock song with an effortless hook. The combination of acoustic guitar, strings, and electronic sounds make an amazing instrumental. Boa and Bohyung show off their incredible vocal skills and their voices mesh so well. The best part is the sing-a-long hook which is used sparingly, but really explodes in the final chorus.
ONEWE - End Of Spring (나의 계절 봄은 끝났다)
Compared to their previous tracks, End Of Spring is the closest to a rock track giving some much needed energy to their sound. However, they recently released the rock version of End Of Spring and I hope they use that sound more. The song is a fusion of rock and EDM with a repeated synth loop that gives off an Avicii vibe. My favorite part is when Yonghoon gets to show off his vocal talent right before the drop.
REDSQUARE - Color Full
So many girl groups debuted this month! Color Full is one of the most addictive and unique tracks to have come from a new group. Barring the opening chant of colors, the song is delightful. The thumping instrumental along with funk-filled synths elevate the song. I enjoyed the chorus the most with its vocal layering. The song is catchy as hell as long as you forget about the opening sequence.
Ryu Sujeong - Tiger Eyes
Lovelyz comeback when? Until then, we have Ryu Sujeong’s solo debut. Sujeong’s huskier tone is a huge contrast to the bright sound of Lovelyz. Tiger Eyes is Suejeong’s chance to shine. Driven more by attitude than melody as the mood is more important. Sujeong really sells the mood with her performance and charisma, but the song falls flat with its repetitive nature. A throbbing, hypnotic instrumental has a satisfying groove to it, but the song never builds to a satisfying climax. Alluring, butt ultimately leaving you unsatisfied.
Secret Number - Who Dis?
Who Dis? sounds like a blast from the past with its brass heavy instrumental. It isn’t mind-blowing, but the pulsating percussion with its brass loops really sells the girl-crush vibe. The chorus is the most interesting by amping up said instrumental with new brass samples. The rapping is really the highlight of the song as it gives the song much needed attitude beyond just a generic song. The group does have good vocalists as seen in the pre-chorus, but if the chorus had a stronger belter, the song would’ve been even better.
DAY6 - Zombie
I have to admit I rated the recent Day6 releases quite low. They all have grown on me and are great listens. Zombie is no different. In my initial listen, I thought the song was too one-dimensional and repetitive. However, I have grown to love this mellow rock song. The melody is repetitive, but it really is a text painting of the song. They nailed the feeling of going through life mindlessly without a sense of direction. It might not be their usual energy, but Day6 nailed the song emotionally with their restrained performance.
Natty - Nineteen
Natty finally gets to debut after being eliminated in Sixteen and Idol School. I believe Natty has all the skills to be a successful soloist with endless charisma. If Nineteen is any indication, trendy dance songs are perfect for her. The song is breezy and refreshing with its light tone and containing some well-placed funk. The pre-chorus is the highlight with a rhythmic change and a melody that is in between hip-hop and a melody. Hopefully, this is a start on a promising solo career.
Monsta X - Fantasia
If you like Monsta X’s sound, you will enjoy Fantasia. Following right were Follow left off, Fantasia brings that same percussive energy that Follow had. Bringing the same attitude, but ultimately not the same catchy melody. Fantasia’s instrumental is really the highlight of the song compared to its melody. A bombastic instrumental with some swaggy hip-hop elements indicative of Monsta X’s sound, in the end, leaves me with mixed feelings about the song.
Taeyeon - Happy
Taeyeon has been through a lot and deserves all the happiness coming her way. Happy isn’t the typical song where Taeyeon shows her vocal prowess. Instead, it is restrained with a simple performance. I quite enjoy this as the melody flows easily creating a heartwarming and wholesome song. The doo-wop influenced instrumental adds to the bright spirit of the track making you want to smile.
Minzy - Lovely
Minzy’s first work since going independent. A mid-tempo pop ballad, Lovely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The song’s angelic qualities is what draws me to the song. Minzy’s vocals are as lovely as ever. The use of airy backing vocals and acoustic guitar is something you’d find from an indie artist, but appeals to me. The chorus may bother some people, but the sentimentality is what gravitates me toward the song.
Agust D - Daechwita
Not my usual cup of tea, Daechwita’s sheer aggressiveness and attitude drew me in. I love the in-your-face instrumentals with the use of traditional Korean music as the backbone providing a unique rhythmic arrangement. The hook hits hard and is unrelenting. I just wish some of that energy was there in the verses, where I felt some repetitiveness at times. Daechwita’s energy is much needed during these times.
Woo!ah! - Woo!ah!
A new group from a small energy, Woo!ah!’s self-titled release is full of potential. I must say that the song does feel like a cluttered mess with weird mixing. The bass-heavy instrumental laid a great foundation for the song. The underwater vocals are a weird choice for a chorus that has so much potential. It really does feel that the producers tried to throw as many samples as possible to make it work. The bridge really did help give that final chorus some heft. I hope to see another release as I see some potential
NCT 127 - Punch
Continuing their hip-hop sound, NCT 127’s latest track has some great moments. This will be another polarizing track as there are lots going on during the song. Instrumentally, the electro backbone is sonically refreshing. The song gives off a Tron-like vibe with its electronic tendencies. The build to the final section is highly satisfying giving the song an anthemic finale.
Fanatics - V.A.V.I. Girl
A bright song, V.A.V.I. Girl is addictive thanks largely to its instrumental. The electric guitar and bright synths really give the song a kick. Also very vocally satisfying, as it was on thankfully not at the level of chirpy cheerleaders. The song does feel like budget ITZY, but that may be too harsh as the song is a great pick-me-up with its relentless giddiness. It could do without the trap breakdown, but I’ll take this over the generic, moody releases any day.
Lucy - Flowering
I just had to give a mention to Lucy because the band has a violinist. Also, I love kpop bands evident in my love for Day6, The Rose, and IZ. I love how the song really leans on the violin heavily giving the band a unique sound. The song captures the essence of the word “uplifting” effortlessly. Everything about the song is like a beautiful anime OST. Discovering Flowering is why I love discovering new music, I would have never stumbled upon Lucy if it wasn’t for that.