2Z (TuZi) – Doctor
A fun little early 2000’s rock throwback, rookie idol rock group 2Z’s sophomore effort Doctor is a vast improvement over their debut. While the energetic verses are enjoyable, it’s that soaring anthemic hook that really gets it over the line. It’s nostalgic in the best way possible, though the rest of the song can’t quite match up.
Bol4 (feat. Baekhyun) – Leo
The first Bol4 song after Jiyoon’s departure, Leo is your standard run of the mill mid-tempo coffee house music that the Korean charts love. And while featuring EXO’s Baekhyun might boost its status on the charts, it doesn’t really change my view on a track that I can only describe as “boring”
Fanatics – V.A.V.I GIRL
Featuring one of the years most bombastic backing tracks, V.A.V.I GIRL had the potential to be a showstopper. It’s one of the first kpop songs in a while thats gone full on bonkers, and that’s something we can never have too little of. And in 2020’s moody climate, it’s actually refreshing. Unfortunately, the shrill, aegyo infused vocal delivery that has plagued too many songs this year has chosen to claim another victim. It brings down a track, which could have been so much stronger.
Rating: 8 /10
IU (feat. Suga) – Eight
This song won’t ever leave the charts will it? A collaboration between arguably Korea’s biggest female soloist and a member of the worlds most popular boy group is something the Korean chats froth over. Thankfully, this collaboration is much more upbeat than what most would expect. It’s nothing revolutionary, but its simple pop arrangement is especially comforting. Will I be listening to this in a few months time? doubt it. But will I be jamming to it now? you bet! If only it was a bit longer.
Rating: 7.75 /10
Moon Jong Up – Headache
After B.A.P’s disbandment in early 2019, most of the members have embarked on solo careers. Most of the time, these have been successful (Yongguk’s self titled album and Youngjae’s Forever Love being particular highlights). Headache isn’t nearly as strong as those works, but is a fun little 90’s inspired pop song. I doubt I’ll ever purposely listen to this song in the future, but I wouldn’t mind if it rolls around in shuffle.
Rating: 7 /10
Natty – Nineteen
After participating in a multitude of idol group survival shows (most notably Sixteen and Idol School), Natty has finally debuted with the upbeat funk of Nineteen. And while there isn’t anything really special about the song, Nineteen‘s incessant groove is more than enough to push it over the finish line. Natty’s unique vocal timbre certainly helps differentiate herself from the multitude of other soloists currently in the industry.
Rating: 8.25 /10
Taeyeon – Happy
While it might not be one of Taeyeon’s most unique or chart busting singles, Happy is a monumental song in the Kpop veterans 13 career. And while the backstory behind the track is as tragic as can be, there isn’t really anything musically to grab onto here. I appreciate the doo-wop influence here, but other than that there isn’t much about Happy that you can’t find in any other song of the same style. This results in an inconsequential track that you could easily play in the background without any distraction. And while that might be enough for some,
Rating: 6.25 /10