And Happy Holidays!
Anyway, K pop for 2016 has come to an end. Anyone debuting now is pretty much for 2017, which means I will be ignoring them…until like New Years Eve.
But with the year coming to an end, there needs to be a moment of reflection. If I had to sum up 2016 for K Pop it would be okay. A B-. That’s not bad, it technically is a B. I just wasn’t fully invested as I could have been. Mostly the year has been an arms race for the new generation. The boygroups are still struggling for a name while groups like Got7 (somewhat), BTS (ESPECIALLY BTS) and EXO still ruled the game. We saw the returns of B.A.P. which did as well as it could have. The biggest male release was Big Bang and even then…a year too late if you asked most.
The ladies of K pop are seemingly doing much better. Mostly this is in the new generations realm, with GFriend, BlackPink, ioi and TWICE having exceptional years while girl groups like Laboum, Oh My Girl and Lovelyz kept the train going with strong releases and careful harvesting of notoriety.
Overall 2016 wasn’t a bad year, just not very exceptional. I think it was the lack of older big name groups. No f(x), no SNSD, one Wonder Girls release that was big, but really could have used a follow up…and from the guys…I don’t care.
Still I liked enough songs to create a list of 20(!). The first post will be available later on today! But for now, here are some songs that didn’t make the list for various reasons.
Big Bang FXXK IT
[I’M IGNORING TAEYANG’S HAIR] Big Bang is a big group so when they came back it felt…well underwhelming. Of course they were successful and people were talking about it. But after the year they had with the multiple MADE releases, to end it with songs that WERE SUPPOSED TO COME OUT LAST YEAR, just makes it feel…YGE fucked up. Still FXXK IT is a testament to a group that shows they earned their title as one of the prominent figures in K pop. The song isn’t uniquely outstanding but feels right if it had been released on time. It’s good listenable and fun. That’s it.
BTS-Blood Sweat and Tears
BTS had arguably one of the most successful years in K pop. That being said…could not tell you how sporadic my indifference to them comes off. Blood Sweat and Tears is not a BAD song. It’s a nice song. I feel like a lot of opinions came off really divisive, while others were really holding on to the western appeal connections…and I mean…true, but the song is nice for the most part. I can’t think of anything about it where I would say no absolutely not! But I found myself moving on to the next topic once it was over. That doesn’t mean I don’t listen to it on occasion, but its rare that I will go listen to it on my own admission.
Far East Movement ft Hyorin and Gill Chang- Umbrella
Hyorin…well this wasn’t her year musically. First Love was an okay album headed by a massively underwhelming single in Paradise. I already drug that song through the coals, so I won’t get into that. Instead let’s talk about Umbrella, which is a sweet mid paced track that doesn’t feel stuffy or boring. The only reason this song is not on the list? Because it is an outside song. Had this been solely Hyorin’s track and not a guest feature, I think this would have placed rather highly on my list.
Suran- Winter Bird
Suran has managed to do something that seems to be far too rare…she managed to make a ballad that wasn’t terrible. While the song has all the fixings of your standard ballad it is the way she approaches the chorus that makes it stand out. There is also a lack of shine that you hear on Korean ballads. It feels raw…I hate saying that because like…it’s pretentious, but this song doesn’t read like a Korean Ballad and that in itself is a win. Of course the song is also lovely and should be celebrated.
Unicorn- Blink Blink
Take Red Velvet’s Happiness and make just a smidget more sense of it, remove Wendy’s big vocal moment…and you got Blink Blink. Not a bad song at all…I actually can’t think of a reason to not include the song…oh wait yes I can…the damn video. I’ve never had a seizure in my life, but that was pretty damn close. I’m using the dance version I didn’t know existed for the very reason to avoid the video. Other than that, the song is nice. I do suggest listening to their ep. It’s actually really good. Unfortunately I don’t see this group lasting long unless they can gain some recognition in 2017. Shame…they had two nice eps.
Mamamoo- You’re The Best
Eh…I can’t really justify why this isn’t on the list…other than the fact that I don’t like Mamamoo (and not in I hate them trick ass heffas kind of way, just that I don’t like them and don’t keep up with them). So there. Last year though they had both Um Ah Oh Yeh and AaH Oop, which I did prefer.
Y’all remember this song? Yeah me neither. It wasn’t a bad song…but like many tracks from that period of the year…not much to call home about. Still a cute song, and a marked improvement from the Nice Body era (that offensive ass video). Hopefully she comes back soon.
Hyo Seong- Find Me
I was just about to post this list…then I remembered this song. A timid electropop dance song that could have been better with some audacity. A year removed from the song and it actually holds well. I just forgot about it. Still as I said the last time, definitely better than Into You but will not beat Good Night Kiss.
Gugudan- Literally any song off of Act.1 (but we will go with Wonderland)
I finally listened to this group maybe last week…yeah…probably would have placed on the list had I paid attention. Their debut EP-Act.1-The Little Mermaid- was actually one of the best albums this year. Sadly I was likely overwhelmed when they debuted, so they slipped under the radar.
And that’s it. There are probably many songs that I just skipped over and didn’t get a chance to listen to or I did, and didn’t care! 2016 wasn’t a spectacular year, but there were definitely more hits than misses in my opinion. Now be ready for the beginning of my top 20 songs of 2016!!!!