End of 2020 is approaching fast, so let’s cover some of the best tracks from the last 6 months!
June was amazing in terms of music. So many tracks I wanted to highlight. So many tracks I have on repeat. Just so many gems!! If you want to see what else I added to my playlist from June, hop onto our discord and ask!
Sunmi - Pporappippam
One listen in and I’ve already declared Pporappippam as Song of the Year. The one theme I love this year in kpop is the revitalization of retro city pop. While musically nostalgic, Sunmi modernizes the sound with her own musicality. The chorus is pure euphoria with its glittering synths, chugging synth beat, and disco rhythms thrown in. From start to finish, Pporappippam is pure bliss.
TXT - Eternally
The dreamy, fantasy concept of TXT is what draws me to their music. Eternally dramatic switches between thumping electro sections and dreamlike, wispy sections. The MV brings some great visual moments filled with symbolism. It is so interesting when the song switches between its sections, like telling a story. I wholly enjoy both sections as they invoke varying emotional responses.
IU - Into The I-Land
Who would have thought IU would sing the theme song of a survival series. Into the I-Land is a survival show currently on MNET. The song thrives on the atmospheric vocals of IU. Into The I-Land strays from the typical restrained performance style of IU. The rousing pre-chorus culminates in an anthemic chorus strengthened by IU’s passionate vocals. With every listen, the song gets better and a constant source of strength and hope.
Pentagon - Basquiat
Pentagon’s Road to Kingdom track is as dramatic as it gets especially with its cinematic video. Basquiat derives its name from Jean- Michael Basquiat, an American artist that used his poetic voice to speak about racial injustice in America. Bombastic till the last note, Basquiat is an electrically charged rock-dance track. Hui’s vocals are prominent and deliver the anguish and passion needed to pull off such a track. The song provides a hopeful message during these difficult times with conflicts on police brutality and racial injustice in America.
Weeekly - Tag Me (@Me)
Weeekly’s debut was anticipated because some members appeared on MIXNINE. Tag Me follows the trend of upbeat, chirpy songs released by girl groups this year. Usually the cheerleader-esque chants are instant turn-offs, but Tag Me’s energy is what kept me in. There is no room to breathe thanks to its instrumental. It could do without the post-chorus trap breakdown that can be seen everywhere, but the song is just too fun with its Mickey-esque chant and in-your-face energy.
ONF - New World(신세계)
Road to Kingdom has been a boon for great music. This has definitely become my favorite track from ONF. Grandiose from the beginning, New World instantly grabs the listener with its pounding beat and avalanche of synths. The song constantly builds energy at breakneck speed culminating in a gorgeous, cathartic chorus. Dynamic and captivating throughout, the song ends with an electrifying finale of power notes and electric guitar guaranteeing goosebumps.
3YE - YESSIR
Packing a punch, YESSIR is loud and in your face with its brass and marching band percussion. 3YE deliver with charismatic vocals to match such a dramatic instrumentation. The pre-chorus is the standout for me leading us to a strong, yet standard chorus. I would’ve wished for a more iconic hook, which would’ve made it transcendent. Nevertheless, the intensity and instrumentals keep me coming back for more.
Woodz - Love Me Harder
Cho Seung-youn of UNIQ and X1 fame entranced me with the whistle and bass hook that is repeated throughout the song. Woodz vocals really complement the song well with his airy vocal tone. The chorus is especially catchy and is the reason the song drew me in. I can’t get enough of the instrumental, especially the break before the chorus. Confidence oozes from the track and Seungyoun nails it with his delivery.
Hwasa - Maria(마리아)
Hwasa makes her long-awaited return with Maria. I have to admit this song shines best when accompanied with its music video. The imagery in the video is outstanding. But Hwasa is the real reason in elevating an otherwise run-of-the-mill song. Her charisma draws you in and this song screams Hwasa. Hwasa’s deep, sultry tone keeps you engaged. The dance break was the highlight with its Latin influence and I wish that expanded to the verses as well. An enjoyable song that is sold by Hwasa’s magnetism.
Golden Child - One (Lucid Dream)
There have been so many boy groups going darker this year, but Golden Child has nailed it with this release. The instrumental is so captivating that before I knew it, the song was over. I love the texture of the crunchy, electro backbone of the track. I couldn’t stop listening as the song got better as new textures got introduced. Golden Child needs to be praised for their vocals! The rough, thumping beats of the verses, atmospheric pre-chorus, funky guitar beats in the chorus, into the distorted vocals of the bridge and instrumental break, One (Lucid Dream) is a knockout.
BLACKPINK - How You Like That
Fervently waiting for BLACKPINK releases is the new norm as YG Entertainment believes scarcity builds hype. The opening notes were so promising with a militaristic electro beat followed by a melodic segment. However, as soon as the chorus started, my excitement instantly turned to disappointment. They were trying to be badass, but the repetitive chants made them sound more like bratty teenagers. The saving grace are the melodic verses. I guess YG Entertainment strategy works because if this was from a lesser company I wouldn’t have bothered, but I’m a BLINK and would listen to anything from them.
Stray Kid’s - Blueprint
Blueprint is a great, fun summer song. I love the brightness of the instrumental with its atmospheric synths and guitar. The hip-hop section is actually fun and not the normal moody rap I am used to. The carefree chorus creates a relaxing vibe giving the song a genuine summer feel. It’s good to hear an upbeat boy group track that is musically pleasing.
Weki Meki - Oopsy
Weki Meki’s discography for me is polarizing. There are some songs I just love (Tiki Taka) or just straight dislike (Dazzle Dazzle). Oopsy lands right in the middle between the two. I love the sass along with funky bass in the instrumental. However, a lot of melody is done is this sing-talking style that makes the verses forgettable. When we do get a nice melodic refrain, we are given a few catchy tunes. Ultimately, Weki Meki delivers a light and entertaining song.
Stray Kid’s - God’s Menu (神메뉴)
Unrelenting from the beginning, God’s Menu throws us into the fire and we are never given a chance to pause. The song was familiar elements from Double Knot with its big, brassy trap beat. Musically, the track felt uninteresting with its familiar beats, Stray Kid’s charisma keeps the song from being generic. This song is one of the songs I have to have the urge to listen to as there aren’t enough melodic elements besides the pre-chorus. However, this song has attitude in spades.
IZ*ONE - Secret Story of the Swan
A banging percussion intro really piqued my interest from the first second. I wish the entire song contained the same energy. The best part is the melodic pre-chorus that leads to a “chorus” of Swan, Swan, Swan. The non-chorus chorus hinders the song from being amazing. However, from the dance breakdown is where the real magic lies with a brass section and the intro percussion. This alone brings me back over and over again.
Seventeen - My My
Although not the single of the album, I prefer My My over their title track Left & Right off their Heng:garæ album. Even though it doesn’t feel like a title track, I love the groovy, laid-back vibe of the track. The song starts off with this catchy synth hook that is paired with an island beat making the song more than a generic tropical song. This song gives me that carefree, adventurous spirit that is perfect for those summer nights. Everything about this song is addicting with its energy, vibe, and especially the chorus.
WJSN - Butterfly
Butterfly immediately throws you on an unrelenting roller coaster of energy from the first listen. I have to give props to Galactika, the producers, for their vocal layering. It really gave this song some anthemic heft. The pre-chorus absolutely builds to an explosion of euphoric energy in the chorus. For some, the unyielding nature of the song may overwhelm the ears, but the song is the perfect energizer.
E’Last - Swear
I must commend E’Last with a memorable debut song. Instead of going for what sounds trendy, Swear takes on an orchestral, symphonic sound. The song is all about the vocals and its arrangement. The contrast between the subdued vocals and grandiose instrumentals seem odd, but I think it works well. The operatic touches make it really interesting, but I do wish the chorus did more. The future looks bright for E’Last!
Chungha - Be Yourself
Don’t be fooled by this Sprite CF, Be Yourself should be on your playlist! Chungha and tropical instrumentals are a match made in heaven. Her vocals fit so well. The synths used in this song are very unique and caught my attention as it wasn’t the typical synth sample. The star of the song has to be the constantly ascending arrangement culminating in a kaleidoscopic finale. As the song goes on the arrangement starts growing ending in an explosion of audio treats keeping you back for more. Time to crack open a Sprite!
A.C.E. - Stand By You (편지를 써)
Stand By You is one of those ballads that I love. It is heartfelt and has some oomph to it. The song builds into a cathartic climax just like those classic rock ballads. It is also my favorite part of the song with the stadium singalong, it may be cheesy but I love these anthemic moments in songs. Warm and soft, this song just has that timeless appeal with its nostalgic sound.