Apologies for such a long break in between, but I will catch up! These songs have helped me through rough times even if it’s almost been a full year! Nevertheless, here are some of my favorites from August 2020!
BTS – Dynamite
BTS’s first English-language single and it’s joyfully infectious! The song has taken over airwaves in the states and deservedly so. Dynamite is a great and fun disco-pop song, definitely a crowd pleaser. At first, I was apprehensive as most English tracks have cringey lyrics or the pronunciation makes it difficult to comprehend. However, BTS knocked it out of the park. Dynamite is one of the best pop music has to offer.
ITZY – Not Shy
ITZY adds to their attitude-filled discography with Not Shy. However, this is my least favorite of all their singles. The song is missing the explosive energy of their previous releases. There are still parts that make this an enjoyable listen. My favorite part has to be the bridge where Lia was able to shine. The song was also filled with various catchy hooks, but that is also its downfall as it sounds like snippets of various songs. I just wish the production was more fuller and tighter like their previous releases.
Taemin – 2 Kids
2 Kids is the type of song I immediately gravitate to. The use of soft electronic instrumentation creates this evocative atmosphere that I love. It’s the type of song you listen to and drown out the world. Taemin sounds amazing with his sentimental, airy vocals. Even though the song isn’t as epic as his previous songs, 2 Kids is about the raw, emotional side of Taemin and him expressing himself as an artist.
(G)I-DLE – DUMDi DUMDi (덤디덤디)
(G)I-DLE first summer track really grew on me. DUMDi DUMDi was a very polarizing release for those around me. I was one of the few to have the song on repeat. The song is very bright and energetic, perfect for the summer season. I personally love the instrumental even though it is all over the place at times. The song switches between segments constantly and that may be a turn off for some. The African drums and influences were a unique aspect that made the song stand out. Miyeon’s chorus is the standout vocal section and was the most memorable part, but it does sound whiny the more I listen. Overall, I love the intensiveness of the percussion and the energy grows on you.
A-REAL – Wake Me Up
Debuting the same day as Dynamite, this song has been lost to time (not even on Spotify). The song just gets better and better as it goes on. Opening with a compelling beat, the song is lively and jovial. The song feels chaotic at times, but isn’t overbearing. The percussion is what makes this song shine. It becomes deeper and more complex as we enter the chorus. The finale is the best part with its hypnotic feel, thanks to the psytrance-like instrumental. Totally unexpected, but it works so well.
ATEEZ – THANXX
THANXX, from start to finish, is unapologetically ATEEZ. No other group can replicate their sound and the song showcases their individuality well. What makes it unapologetically ATEEZ, is the swagger and energy of the song. THANXX is similar to last year’s Wonderland, but isn’t as bombastic. The song still ramps up a powerful chorus with its militaristic chant and power note. Perfect song that is right up ATEEZ’s wheelhouse.
Dreamcatcher – BOCA
Continuing their signature sound, BOCA joins Dreamcatcher’s discography as their newest entry. BOCA is a solid edition to their sound with its guitar-fueled energy. Although I wanted the energy to be more electrifying, the song has its moments. The electric guitars and tempo help with this, but I wish the chorus had more melody to it. The vocals were excellent as always, especially with Siyeon’s high note. The song isn’t better than Scream, but it’s still a good track.
ONEUS – To Be Or Not To Be
The bombastic nature of this track makes it stand out. I love how the opening verse opens up with its moody yet funky instrumental. The propulsive pre-chorus sets the stage for a solid chorus, but then the second verse comes. The second half of the song feels out of place with its aggressiveness. Thankfully, the climax delivers a more intense final chorus. The song would have been a great showstopper if that second verse didn’t stop the momentum. Nevertheless, the song has a lot of great moments.
Jenyer – Bad (ft. Kimmuseum)
Jenyer is Jeon Jiyoon of 4minute. From the opening note, the song gives off an atmospheric mood that I love. The synth textures are unique giving off an almost drowsy feel. Kimmuseum was a welcoming treat, with his vocal tone giving off a nice contrast to Jenyer. In the final section, the song transitions to a more exciting dance track. Bad is just the beginning for Jenyer. I can’t wait to see what else she can bring.
ONF – Sukhumvit Swimming (스쿰빗스위밍)
Sukhumvit Swimming is an enjoyable track with tropical and trap influences. The song has a very laid back beat and has some interesting synths. From the first listen, I can tell the track was crafted to appeal to the widest audience as possible. The track isn’t a total standout, but it is still enjoyable. The vocal blends are amazing as always and the production quality is top notch. The song is definitely a grower and is an enjoyable, groovy track.
SoRi – Initial S (이니셜 S)
With the title of Initial S, I was not disappointed with the references to the anime, Initial D. The retro synths fit perfectly with the current 80’s trend. I’m a total sucker for those synth loops that never go out of style. Initial S constantly pulls you forward with its instrumental. Sori’s vocals complement the instrumental quite well. Her lower register along with her sensual tone built the tension quite nicely. It’s quite sad that this was her last song, but what a great song to end her career on.
Treasure – Boy
YG’s latest boy group, Treasure has been highly anticipated since their appearance on YG Treasure Box. We will be hearing much of these boys later as they put out some standout tracks. Boy starts really strong and grabs the listener quickly. However, the song slowly becomes more structureless. The first verse is filled with catchy melodies and a nice thumping beat. Then the hip-hop section comes in, taking out all the energy and momentum. The debut is still strong, but I hope YG gives them something more fresh and unique instead of sticking with the trends of other boy groups.
Brave Girls – We Ride
Brave Girls grace us with their presence briefly with new music before disappearing for years. We Ride continues with the retro wave with a foray into city pop. Although not as good as Sunmi’s Pporappippam, Brave Girls still deliver the sparkling,twinkling vibe of the genre. The song is pleasant and pulses along breezily. I love the synth string accents that add to the chill atmosphere where you just can’t help but nod along. Just as the title states, perfect for an easygoing drive.
SuperM – 100
I respect SuperM for not sticking to what’s popular in the West. I love the continued bombasticness in this track. It really does feel, the producers grabbed various parts and put them together. Usually this ends up with a messy sound, I actually enjoy 100 thanks to the charisma of the members. It is very hip-hop focused, the vocalist had great moments especially Baekhyun. I can’t wait to see this song performed live!
SuperM – Tiger Inside
Tiger Inside sounds very similar to the most recent release from SM. It isn’t as bombastic as 100 or Jopping, the song still fits within their discography. The instrumental forgoes their usual use of heavy EDM for a more edgy, trendy sound. It is melodically better than 100, but it doesn’t carry the same energy. Once again, the members excelled with great vocals and rapping.
J.Y. Park x Sunmi – When We Disco
Who better than J.Y. Park to take advantage of the current retro trend. The song is just fun with its synth-heavy disco beat. Sunmi and JYP are the perfect pair to deliver the silliness needed for this track. They effortlessly nail the melody and give the song a fresh yet nostalgic feel to it. When We Disco is filled with those great twinkling synths that harken back to the 80s. There does seem to be something missing during the chorus as at times it feels empty and not exciting. Nevertheless, still a great, nostalgic song.
Kim Sejeong – Whale
Whale is the type of song most people will forget. For me, there is something about the wistfulness combined with an uplifting melody that gets me, similar to Eunji’s AWay. This song belongs in the adult-contemporary with its optimistic appeal. Sejeong’s vocals are crisp and really shine. When needed, she delivers the high notes to keep the track interesting. This adult-contemporary track is a pleasant listen, but some may feel it is just background music. With Gugudan’s disbandment, I hope Sejeong shines brighter than ever.
Yi Saebom – Tonight (오늘 밤)
Another retro throwback, this time from a more indie artist. This will probably be a polarizing track depending on your feelings for this era of music. Also, her voice isn’t for everyone. I enjoy the energy and the feel of the song. It reminds me so much of Flashdance, with such a propulsive chorus. Yi Saebom brings the perfect energy for such a huge chorus and is the reason why I was bobbing along the whole time.