K-POP Monthly Roundup: March 2020

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.


When in comes to March 2020, it wouldn’t be a far reach to say that the number and quality of kpop releases was not on most of our minds. The unprecedented global impact of the Covid-19 virus has all but put a standstill on our daily activities, requiring immediate global action. And while academic institutions (including mine) have moved online, and social distancing the norm, there’s no knowing how long this global pandemic will continue to impact our lives.

This sense of isolation has extended to K-pop industry, with many releases either being delayed or postponed to April. This left March a near bare slate, with a number of uninspiring and scattershot releases. Compared to the full blown assault that was February, the number of tracks that made my roundup for March is incredibly slight. This especially extends to my picks for my favourite album tracks of the month, for which there were few. Not only were there a lack of good album tracks, but a lack of albums in general. Other than a few notable big name releases by ITZY and NCT 127, most groups and artists opted for singles rather than a fully formed project. That’s why other than my top picks, I doubt either of the two albums or 4 album tracks that made my list would be present in a stronger month.

But when March was good, it was really good. My top 5 singles are all incredibly strong and have each improved with age. My favourite song of the month wasn’t my highest rated, but it was the one with the most timeless and well constructed melody. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but it has dominated my listening history over the last few weeks.

Speaking of dominating my listening history, I’ve been diving head first into the massive world that is Japan’s Johnny’s conglomerate. While I’ve always loved Jpop, the incredibly conservative world of Johnny’s has opened my eyes to a world of music I didn’t even know existed. Not only have I found some of my favourite tracks of all time through this, but I’ve been completely smitten by groups like NEWS and KAT-TUN, who’s incredible discographies feel as though they’ve been pretty much tailored made to match my tastes. The song that kicked off this immensely rewarding venture was NEWS’s sensational EMMA, a song that I urge all you to give a listen to. It’s a hard world to infiltrate, but one that’s incredibly fulfilling for those of us who love a-bit of unrestrained musical bombast. In fact, there might be a post about this soon!


Growers

Oneus – A song written easily ( 8.5 – 9)

While i did give A song written easily a favourable review upon release, the song has only gotten better with time. My initial dissapointment with the hook has now blossomed into pure joy, as further listens have shone light on the dynamic melody and great song construction.

Faders

~Nill


Singles

Honourable Mentions

J.us.T – Eyedi (review)

Hold – Winner (review)

Home – Yezi (review)

Magnolia – TOO (review)

On Track – Stray Kids (review)

TOP 5

5. Howling – Victon (review)

4. Kick It – NCT 127 (review)

3. ARIA – Craxy (review)

2. Wannabe – ITZY (review)

  1. A Song Written Easily – ONEUS (review)

TOP 5 B-SIDES

Honourable Mentions:

Don’t fear now – TOO

Elevator (127F) – NCT 127

Jealous Kang Daniel

Nobody Like You – ITZY (review)

5. Take it slow – TOO

4. Hide and Seek – ONEUS

3. Ting Ting Ting – ITZY (review)

2. Skyline – Kim Sejeong

1. THAT’s A NO NO – ITZY (review)


TOP 3 ALBUMS

3. NCT #127 Neo Zone – NCT 127

2. Reason for being: Benevolence – TOO

1. IT’z ME – ITZY


Overall Month Grade: B-

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