K-POP Monthly Roundup: July 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.


For the first time all year, I’m actually pretty satisfied with a month. While July didn’t have any massive throw down the gauntlet moments like in June, It was by far the most consistent month of the year. There were few songs that I actively disliked and I’m pretty sure that I enjoyed most of the months comebacks to at least some degree. Whereas June had some extreme high’s and some disastrous lows, July felt more like a straight line with a few bumps on either side of the spectrum.

Two great things that I loved about July particularly were the re-emergence of both retro and buoyant summer time sounds. It’s been a while since both these trends have been popularised within Kpop and the fact that these sounds have come back into fashion is supremely satisfying for me. Songs like Midnight Romance, Y.O.U Retro Love, Beach Again, Count 1,2 and Say Yes where great summer time bops which also heavily recalled retro sounds to create tracks that felt completely and utterly timeless. It’s no surprise that each of those tracks will get a mention below.

One troubling thing that I continued to see in July was big groups under-performing. Apart from Gfriend who returned with their incredible new mini album, almost every other big name act disappointed to some degree. The most hyped debut of the month, Irene and Seulgi’s Monster was a song that only got less engaging with time. And while I still enjoyed it, ATEEZ’ Inception was far from the groups best work. The same could be said for Kang Daniel’s Waves which had much less staying power than I would have expected.

But while big groups mostly let me down, July continued to prove that some of this years best releases are by those under the radar. 4 of my top 5 singles are by groups that are largely overlooked by fans with my 5th pick being a song that few even know exist. One thing that some eagle eyed readers might notice is the song that took 2nd place. Although I missed the opportunity to talk about it on the blog, it’s one of those tracks that just manages to connect with me in a different way thanks to a great melody and phenomenal vocal performance. And while it was technically released at the tail end of June, I’m counting it as a July release since I only found out about it at the start of the month.

However, I honestly don’t think the strength of albums and b-sides this month were that great. Apart from the aforementioned Gfriend EP and maybe TOO’s ”Running TOOgether”, I wasn’t too infatuated with any other albums this month. In the end I chose to give the third spot to an album that I thought managed to really take its central theme and push it in interesting directions.

With August looking absolutely stacked, I hope we can maintain this kind of consistency and maybe even get that one knockout track that I’ve been waiting for all year. The roster certainly promises it.


Growers

Dongkiz I:KAN – Y.O.U (8 – 8.5)

I already enjoyed this 90’s throwback much more than I should have on release and it has since gone onto have great longevity on my playlist. It’s nice, breezy and the perfect tonic for the more harder edged material going around.

Verivery – Thunder (7.25 – 7.75)

Speaking of harder edged material, we’ve got Thunder. I was unnecessarily harsh on this song on release and while I still think it’s the weakest of Verivery’s singles, it does have a bit more bite than I had initially thought. The lockstep chorus and frantic verses work much better than I had ever imagined and I can actually see this song rising higher over the coming months.

Faders

Kang Daniel (feat. Simon Dominic & Jamie) – Waves (7.75 – 7)

While it is still a decent track, I’ve never had the urge to come back and give this song another listen after its release date. Unfortunately it’s just too forgettable for me. Let’s hope the title track is stronger.

Red Velvet Irene & Seulgi – Monster (8.25 – 7.5)

Another song which I rarely returned to after release, Monster was one of those songs that sounded better on paper than it does in practice. That twisted vocal sample has only grated with time and has come pretty close to ruining much of the track for me. The dark, industrial funk of Naughty has since gone onto become my Irene & Seulgi single of choice.


Singles

Honourable Mentions

April – Now or Never (review)

ATEEZ – Inception (review)

Boyhood – Retro Love

Chungha – Play (ft. Changmo) (review)

Dongkiz I:KAN – Y.O.U (review)

Dreamcatcher – R.o.S.E Blue (review)

EXO-SC – 1 Billion Views (ft. Moon) (review)

GFriend – Apple (review)

Jeong Sewoon – Say Yes (review)

Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi – Naughty 

Soyou – ‘Gotta Go (review)

SSAK3 – Beach Again (review)

VERIVERY – Thunder (review)

Weeekly – Tag Me (@Me) (review)

Yukika – Soul Lady (review)


5. The Midnight Romance – Midnight Romance (Review)


4. SF9 – Summer Breeze (Review)


3. TOO – Count 1,2 (Review)


2. N.Flying – Flower Fantasy


1. 1THE9 – Bad Guy (Review)


TOP 5 B-SIDES

Honourable Mentions

April – Paradise

ATEEZ – Fever / Good Lil Boy

EXO-SC – On Me (Sehun solo)

Gfriend – Tarot Cards / Stairs of the North (Review)

SF9 – Into The Night

TOO – Dancing In The Moonlight

The Midnight Romance – IMYT

Verivery – Skydive

TOP 5

5. Yukika – Shade (review)


4. SF9 – Go High


3. TOO – Step By Step


2. GFRIEND – Room of Mirrors (Review)


1. GFRIEND – Eye of The Storm (Review)


TOP 3 ALBUMS

3. Soul Lady – Yukika

2. Running TOOgether – TOO

1.  回:Song Of The Sirens – GFRIEND (Review)


Overall Month Grade: A-

2 thoughts on “K-POP Monthly Roundup: July 2020

  1. “Let’s hope the title track (Kang Daniel) is better” We apparently did not hope hard enough for Kang….

    Like

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