3YE – Queen
The entire first half of this song is as near perfect as modern k-pop can get. Heavily recalling everything great about 2NE1’s imperial phase, Queen rides on an incredibly potent electro bounce that’s made even better by the attitude infused delivery of the groups members. The trance influenced hook is also great, but unfortunately, the track resorts to too many diversions from its core structure to really transform into something exceptional. But it’s easily 3YE’s best track yet.
Kim Donghyun (AB6IX) – More
A light, fluffy almost inconsequential track, More was the second track released from AB6IX’s ‘5INALLY’ project. But other than a potent hook, most of the track feels like generic boy group fare, elevated by Donghyun‘s potent and charismatic vocal performance.
ELRIS – Jackpot
Returning after almost a 2 year hiatus, ELRIS have once again graced the stage with a song that’s in strong contention for being their worst. Devoid of almost any engaging melody and delivered with ear splitting aegyo inspired vocals, almost every part of Jackpot grates. There are very little positives that I can salvage from this mess, other than the fact that the accompanying album is alright i guess.
Henry – Thinking Of You
Henry has always been one of the most consistent and unique soloists within the kpop industry, and his new single Thinking of You helps maintain this streak. Coasting along on a relaxing guitar and percussion loop, it’s the touches of soaring violin and potent hook that really elevate this track above most of its peers. It may not be another Trap or Fantastic, but it’s not trying to be. Easily one of Henry’s strongest solo efforts In a long time.
TWICE – Swing
I wasn’t going to review this track initially, but it’s just one of those tracks that’s gotten stronger over time. The only Japanese track here, Swing in an addicting blend of deep house and funk. Though I thought the “swing swing swing” to be slightly grating initially, it’s really grown on me. That’s thanks to an excellent arrangement and standout verses. Though it would not have passed as a strong comeback single, it does enough to work as a digital single to a repackage.
Spectrum – Showtime
A real mixed back of a song, Showtime is at times brilliant and at others just plain boring. I applaud the experimentation, especially with the funky verses and inspired dance break, but the hook just feels a little too lifeless for my tastes. Tethered to a different arrangement and stronger hook, we could have had a real stunner on our hands here.
UNVS – Timeless
The only debut here, the melodic mid-tempo of UNVS’s Timeless has proved to be one of the months biggest growers. Though its arrangement doesn’t do anything new, the hook soars with the kind of emotional pathos that was ever so present during second generation kpop. Apart from this cathartic centrepiece, the track also manages to highlight each members individual vocal timbre, somthing almost essential for a debut track to do. If UNVS continue down this road, then I’ll be keeping an eye out for them.