KBOPPED Monthly Roundup: January 2021

Due to the relentless release schedule that us K-pop and J-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 K-pop singles and B-sides along with my top 3 J-pop singles. Although my placement for singles will mostly be based on my reviews, there are songs that tend to grow/fade much more than others.


After 4 months of having no Kbopped roundups, the new year has finally compelled me to go and write another one! And new year also means new roundup. This year’s version will be quite different to the one we saw last year and that’s mainly because after writing for just over a year on this blog, I feel like I’ve come to understand my tastes just a little better. And that’s why I don’t think that having an album of a month makes a lot of sense personally. That’s because I feel like a great album really needs time to unveil itself and that can only be done through multiple listens over the course of a long time. And as such, I’ve decided to replace that section of the round up with a J-pop section that will allow me to convey my current favourite J-pop songs of the month on a rolling basis so that come the end of the year, readers will be able to make better guesses on my favourites of the year.

Now enough of that, let’s get to my thoughts on the first month of 2021. And while many usually expect January to be one of the years more quiet or mixed months, this has been probably the strongest January since 2018. I love my top 5 singles and my top 5 B-sides are even better. My top pick wasn’t my highest rated track of the month but it was easily the most impactful, hinging on a dramatic melody that just got better and better with time. And while neither of them made the top 5, I would like to commend the retro one two punch of Youha’s Abittipsy and Yubin’s Perfume for acting as a natural passage of last years retro trend into the new year. But as much as i enjoyed most of the singles this month, the b-sides were the real stars. Golden Child, Dreamcatcher and ONEUS all released stunning projects and my top b-side of the month is my favourite K-pop song in a long time. It’s been a while since a Korean song gave me such an instant head rush but my top pick did that and then some. This was a very solid month and with February heralding the return of industry legends SHINee, personal favourites ONF and incredibly promising rookie group Kingdom, we can only hope it will get better from here.

Japan also had a superb month with stunning singles from the likes of YOASOBI, Spyair, Snowman, Yama and Nogizaka46. My Top 3 are incredibly strong with the top 2 basically picking themselves. They remain my two absolute favourite singles of the year so far and contain massive pop melodies that are almost guaranteed to get you going. And as such, I continue to be impressed by the steady stream of quality that Japan have been pumping out over the past year and I’m so excited to see how this musical renaissance continues to grow over the coming months. And with singles from Sexy Zone, Nissy, SixTONES and more coming out in the next month or so, I’m ever optimistic.


Growers

Cherry Bullet – Love So Sweet (8 – 8.5

With an infectious retro instrumental and hooks that just sneak up on you in the best way possible, Love So Sweet has slowly gone onto become my favourite Cherry Bullet single yet. It’s just so damn catchy and the every constantly engaging instrumental is just the icing on the cake

Golden Child – Burn It (8.5 – 9.25)

Though It didn’t hit me right off the bat, Burn It is an absolute stunner of a comeback from Golden Child. The melody here is just fantastic, perfectly matching the immensity of the soaring vocals and rousing post chorus refrain. And while reggaeton and moombahton aren’t my favourite genres, this is probably the best example of it since BTS’ masterful Blood Sweat and Tears in 2016.

Faders

~ NILL


Singles

Honourable Mentions

(G)-idle – HWAA (review)

AB6IX – Stay Young (review)

Boyhood – Luxury Big House

E’Last – Dangerous

MCND – Crush (review)

U-Know – Need You Right Now / La Rosa (review)

Yubin – Perfume

Youha – Abittipsy


5. U-Know – Thank U (review)

4. ONEUS – No Diggity (review)

3. Cherry Bullet – Love So Sweet (review)

2. Dreamcatcher – Odd Eye (review)

1. Golden Child – Burn It (review)


TOP 5 B-SIDES

Honourable Mentions

AB6IX – Encore (feat. ABNEW)

Bobby – In THE DaRk

Cravity – Dangerous

Dreamcatcher – New Days / 4 Memory

Golden Child – Milky Way / Round n Round

MCND – Louder

ONEUS – Rewind / I.P.U / What U Doing? / Youth / Lion Heart

Victon – Unpredictable


TOP 5

5. Golden Child – Cool Cool

4. Dreamcatcher – Poison Love

3. ONEUS – Incomplete

2. Dreamcatcher – Wind Blows

1. Golden Child – Breathe


J-POP Highlights

Honourable Mentions

Generations – Sunny After The Rain

Misaki Uno – Sweet Hug (review)

Nogizaka46 – Wilderness World / Boku wa Boku o Suki ni Naru (I Like Me)

IMPACTors – Top of The World (review)

Yama – Paralysis

TOP 3

3. YOASOBI – Kaibutsu (Monster) (review)

2. Snowman – Grandeur (review)

1. Spyair – Wadachi (review)

5 thoughts on “KBOPPED Monthly Roundup: January 2021

  1. J-pop was way weaker than K-pop this month for me, there was so *stand out* song and all songs which I did like faded away sooner than I thought it would….

    Anyways, Golden Child getting first place always fills my heart with joy!

    Like

    1. I guess we differ on our J-pop opinion then! I thought this was a great month but I do understand the fact that many tracks didn’t last long with you.

      And Golden Child just dominated this month. The new mini might just be my second favourite project of theirs after Re-Boot. Just fantastic stuff. Especially Breathe!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, 108 ent! Breathe is getting a grip on me, but I still don’t feel it. I may not be able to really feel it since Cinema has just got me berserk on CIX, again.

      Wadachi is impeccable probably my most played song in Japan, although I don’t play it that much.

      Like

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