1TEAM – ULLAELI KKOLLAELI
A wonderfully fun track that utilised its punchy rock guitar to great effect, ULLAELI KKOLLAELI helped beef up 1TEAM’s rather languid and generic discography. And while it’s use of vocal effects and autotune hinder it from being a total standout, it’s hard to not get won over by its charms eventually
1THE9 – Count
After releasing a complete standout in Bad Guy, 1THE9 bow out with one of those obligatory, pleasant little goodbye songs. It’s nothing revolutionary but I do give them props for not choosing a drippy ballad. It terms of swan songs, it’s up there with some of the more solid ones.
ENOi – W.A.Y
Wow, I’m all for experimentation but this song’s all over the place. The teasers gave me hope of a big, unique single but the final product is much more scattered than I would have liked. I do enjoy the moments where W.A.Y fully takes flight such as the first half of the chorus but these moments are too few to really lift W.A.Y over its more languid and lurching moments. This honestly could have been incredible but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
Hyolyn – 9Lives
Hyolyn’s got one of the most unique and commanding voices within the industry and has proven her strength as a soloist with strong summer singles like See Sea. And while 9Lives is a great showcase for her voice, it feels too much like a Sia or Pink song to really feel impressive in 2020’s musical landscape. But given the fact that these were the artists that dominated during my early exposure to the world of pop music, it’s a sound that I probably enjoy more than most. Still hope the lead single feels more unique than this.
LUCY – Jogging
The fact that Lucy have a violinist amongst their ranks automatically makes them unique within the K-band scene. But to really make a name for themselves, they’re going to need much more notable material than Jogging. Debut Flowering was a step in the right direction but something this lightweight isn’t bound to attract too many new fans.
Saturday – D.B.D.B.DIB
Despite all their financial issues and the fact that Saturday are one of those groups that I really want to succeed, I have to say that D.B.D.B.DIB is pretty terrible. Rather than be a song rich in melody or even an enjoyable backing track it’s more akin to a children’s t.v show soundtrack. This is an approach that lives and dies on it’s catchy appeal and while it has worked before (most notably for Orange Caramel), D.B.D.B.DIB is cloying in the worst way possible. I really wanted to like this given that their past few singles were pretty enjoyable but this just sounds like the girls are on a sugar high with some helium as a pallet cleanser.
Wonho – Losing You
Wonho’s departure form Monsta X will probably go on to be discussed as one of the most unjust moments in Korean entertainment history. But almost a year on from that moment, Wonho has returned with pre-release Losing You for his upcoming album. While a sentimental ballad like this is most likely to win most of his fanbase over it’s one of those songs that rides more on sentimentality than solid song construction. But even so, sentimentality is a strong thing and any song that has the power to evoke emotion wins some points in my book. And boy does Wonho sound great.
Yi Saebom – Tonight
I’m not the biggest fan of Yi Saebom’s voice but with a song as propulsive as Tonight, that matters very little. It’s the kind of retro tinged anthem that I adore and given that it was produced by the same guys who produced RAINZ’ spectacular Open Ur Heart, I was almost predisposed to enjoy it. And while I’ve talked about my love for the resurgence of retro in the kpop landscape, I would love for more of them to take a more bombastic approach like this.