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.
Well, this one’s abit late isn’t it.
The past week was one of the most stressful, heavy handed weeks I’ve had all year. Uni came roaring in at full force with multiple tests and assignments all at once. But not to worry, I’ve come away from this hell of a week more or less unscathed and am finally giving my thoughts on the last month.
Looking back at August, it was much stronger than I had thought. I think it was actually a pretty good idea to let these songs rest for a while before ranking them as many sounded much stronger after some time away. Namely, ONEUS’ To Be Or Not To Be, which is easily one of the years biggest growers. I had initially presented doubts regarding its fragmented approach but it’s since gone onto have an unprecedented amount of staying power. In fact, it’s probably my favourite ONEUS single since Valkyrie. Other notable growers include Brave Girls’ city pop inspired We Ride and Wonho’s searing ballad Losing You, a song improved in context of the accompanying album.
Once again, fans of certain big name groups will be disappointed. August saw the return of two of Korea’s biggest pop groups and neither really lived up to the task. And while one group did make it to the honourable mentions, the song has more or less faded from memory since its release. It’s solid but mostly unremarkable. The same could be said for most of the honourable mentions, both in the singles and b-sides categories. But I must say, I’m pretty happy about my top 5’s.
My favourite single of the month was actually a July song but its full music video truly unveiled it as a single in August. My second pick is a fantastic collaboration that feels every bit as campy as the combination suggests. My third and fourth picks are both very edgy comebacks that managed to convey their respective motives through very strong and invigorating soundscapes. My fifth and final pick will probably be the most controversial as it’s one that was very divisive on release. I’m adore it but many will go as far as to say it’s the worst song of the year.
When it comes to b-sides and albums, August was a hell of alot weaker than July. Sure it had some really strong material (my top pick is the perfect example of that) but it lacked overall consistency. Cravity continue to release top class albums but for some reason continue the trend of choosing the weakest track as the single. And despite my qualms with MCND’s musical output, they definitely released a standout b-side with their latest album.
Normally this is where I would wrap up and speak about my hopes for the next month but considering that we’re already halfway through September, I guess there really isn’t any point? Especially since we’ve got some absolute stunners over the past few weeks. But that’s for next month’s roundup.
*Also, the formatting for the blog has decided to completely mess up overnight. You’ll notice that the text on almost all other posts is abnormally large. It’s a problem I’ve been trying to fix but I’m pretty sure it’s just WordPress being WordPress.
Brave Girls – We Ride (7.75 – 8.25)
City pop will always be my weakness so it was no surprise that I would fall for We Ride‘s charms eventually. It’s still quite slight but it’s managed to find a nice little place on my more laid back playlists.
ONEUS – To Be Or Not To Be (8 – 8.5)
A song I was way too harsh on upon its release, TBNTB‘s weightless hook and equally potent post chorus are some of the years most invigorating musical arrangements. It’s a track that lends itself perfectly to repeat listens. I can easily see this rise more over time. But damn does that trap breakdown still suck.
Wonho – Losing You (7.5 – 8.25)
A gorgeous ballad that I heavily undervalued on my first few listens, Losing You is one of those tracks that really thrives on its sentimental roots. I’ve read in many places that it’s reminiscent of X-Japan’s works and I honestly couldn’t agree more. It’s really only been enhanced thanks to its inclusion in Wonho’s very strong debut album
Dreamcatcher – Boca (9 – 8.75)
Now I still really enjoy Boca but I just haven’t come back to it as much as I thought I would. It’s a great followup to Scream but I don’t really think it lived up to the 9 rating I gave it.
1Team – ULLAELI KKOLLAELI (review)
Brave Girls – We Ride (review)
BTS – Dynamite (review)
ITZY – Not Shy (review)
Jenyer – Bad (ft. Kimmuseum)
Oh My Girl – Rocket Ride (Korean Version)
ONF – Sukhumvit Swimming (review)
Sori – Initial S
Taemin – 2Kids (review)
Treasure – BOY (review)
Wonho – Losing You (review)
Yi Saebom – Tonight (review)
5. SuperM – 100 (review)
4. ONEUS – To Be Or Not To Be (review)
3. Dreamcatcher – Boca (review)
2. J.Y. Park x Sunmi – When We Disco (review)
1. ATEEZ – THANXX (review)
TOP 5 B-SIDES
Cravity – Ohh Ahh / Hot Air Balloon
ITZY – Surf
ONEUS – Dead Or Alive
ONF – Geppeto
Rocket Punch – Summer Punch!
5. MCND – Bumpin’
4. Cravity – Realize
3. Oneus – Airplane
2. Cravity – Believer
1. Dreamcatcher – Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind (review)
TOP 3 ALBUMS
3. ONEUS – LIVED
2. Dreamcatcher – Dystopia: Love Myself
1. Cravity – Hideout: The New Day We Step Into – Season 2