Due to the relentless release schedule that us K-pop fans have to endure, it’s not easy to consume all the content at once. That’s why I thought it would be fun at the end of each month, to look back at my top 5 singles and B-sides along with my top 3 albums. Although my placement for singles will mostly be based on my reviews, there are songs that tend to grow/fade much more than others.
In terms of the sheer number of releases, February was a blockbuster month for K-pop. It seemed as though every single group was coming back, especially in the girl group department. And while this does sound like K-pop nirvana after the barren slate that was January, February was unfortunately a month that provided quantity over quality. Despite the sheer number of releases, many singles felt way to beholden to current trends to really stand out. As a result, the tracks that did stand out on first listen, stood out big time. This also resulted in me over valuing a number of tracks upon first listen, which incentivised me into adding another feature into the end of month roundups. That being a list of tracks that have grown or faded over time (with updated ratings!).
This brings me to my top 5 singles of the months, which were actually harder to pin down than I expected. Though my top 2 picks were pretty much set in stone, the final three were much harder to place. In the end the number three spot went to one of the biggest growers of the month, and the other two places went to two very strong tracks that were easy standouts within the month.
However, February absolutely delivered when it came to albums and b-sides. Some of my favourite songs of the month were actually album tracks, and the overall consistency of records this month was excellent. One name you won’t see appear much in the upper echelons of this roundup however is BTS, who returned with their monumental Map Of The Soul: 7 late this month. Unfortunately, I found their latest project to be a mostly boring affair in comparison to last years pop perfect “Map Of the Soul: Persona”.That’s not to say “7” didn’t have it’s fair share of highlights, which you’ll see down below. But In light of this lack of exciting kpop content, I surprisingly found myself spending more time listening to older Jpop albums such as AAA’s fantastic ‘Buzz Communication’ and a number of AKB48 singles rather than newer kpop singles. But with some of my favourite groups announcing comebacks for the start of March, here’s to hoping that next month will truly re-ignite the 2020’s dwindling flame.
BTS – ON (7.25 – 7.75)
It’s funny what utter ubiquity can do to a song. After hearing this song almost everywhere, and watching the cinematic music video I have to admit that the hook is actually quite strong. Don’t think I can ever get past those lurching verses though.
KARD – Red Moon (5.25 – 7.25)
Though I still don’t think Red Moon is that great of a track, it’s proved to have an unprecedented amount of staying power over the last couple of weeks. I was unfairly harsh on it during its release, but I cant deny that the hook is pretty catchy.
Rocket Punch – Bouncy (8.5 – 9)
The incessant baseline and electrifying build of Rocket Punch’s sophomore effort Bouncy finally won me over. The tracks final minute is phenomenal, providing one of the years most electrifying bridges before bursting into that megawatt disco hook.
Everglow – DUN DUN (9 – 8.5)
Still Everglow’s strongest title track, DUN DUN is still a song that I really enjoy; just not one I feel like I can play whenever I want. This lack of replay potential has caused me to revise the songs previous 9 rating. It’s still strong, just not as strong as I initially thought it to be.
IZ*ONE – Fiesta (8.75 – 8.25)
Overwhelmed with the hype surrounding this comeback, I gave the songs lesser elements the benefit of the doubt upon its release. Unfortunately that post chorus breakdown has just gotten worse over further listens and hurts what is otherwise a rather solid song. Just one that I haven’t seen myself coming back to as much as I thought.
PENTAGON – Dr.베베(Dr. BeBe) (9 – 8)
Though I gave this track a very favourable review up its release, I have barely returned to it since the day it came out. In fact looking back, it wasn’t nearly as strong as I thought it to be. Same for The Boyz Reveal. Guess I was just too mesmerised by the excellent music video to really give Dr.베베(Dr. BeBe) a fair shake.
Crossroads – Gfriend (review)
Dazzle Dazzle – Weki Meki (review)
Dive – iKON (review)
DUN DUN – Everglow (review)
Fiesta – IZ*ONE (review)
Going Crazy – Treasure (review)
ON – BTS (review)
Timeless – UNVS (review)
Thinking of You – Henry (review)
Queen – 3YE (review)
5. So What – Loona (review)
4. Bouncy – Rocket Punch (review)
3. Rose, Scent, Kiss – Lee Daehwi (AB6IX) (review)
2. Scream – Dreamcatcher (review)
1. Labyrinth – Gfriend (review)
TOP 5 B-SIDES
Asteroid – Pentagon
Daydream – IZ*ONE
Destiny – IZ*ONE
Girl friend – Rocket Punch
Here We Are – Gfriend
Inner Child – BTS (V solo) (review)
Moon – BTS (Jin solo) (review)
No Big Deal – ELRIS
Sahara – Dreamcatcher
So Solo – Rocket Punch
Tension – Dreamcatcher
Worship U – Pentagon
5. Black or White – Dreamcatcher
4. Lilac – Rocket Punch
3. We are Bulletproof: the Eternal – BTS (review)
2. Jazz Bar – Dreamcatcher
1. In The Frozen – Dreamcatcher
TOP 3 ALBUMS
3. 回:LABYRINTH – Gfriend
2. Red Punch – Rocket Punch
1. Dystopia: The Tree of Language – Dreamcatcher
Overall Month Grade: A-