It’s the end of the year, and cautiously I’ve decided to start an end of the year lists reviewing some pretty nifty music I’ve come across. These lists won’t be in a particular set order since I’m terrible about doing that sort of thing. My brain all of these years later still tends to indicate order of importance, rather then just them being neat and the like.
Without further ado, here’s my top ten picks for KPop in 2018.
INFINITE – Tell Me
Infinite are my personal standards for Kpop. They are the whole package of dance, rap, song, performance and unique concepts. However, it was originally a bit tentative about this release.
It was their first comeback without Hoya, who left the group in 2017. This release was also the first release with infinite as six, and realistically might be the only release with six for awhile. Sunggyu the leader enlisted shortly after releasing one last solo track, and after this comeback. It was a bit of a bittersweet release, at least for an Inspirit like me.
As always, the amount of synchronization in the dance is mesmerizing to watch. There’s nothing too over the top about the lyrics, but the balance is right and Nam Woohyun slayed it. I originally wasn’t feeling Dongwoo’s rap but over the year it’s grown on me. The MV itself is a piece of art, and the final set had me staring for quite some time.
It’ll be a bit of a long wait for OT6 to come back, but for now I’ll just have to jam to this for awhile.
JONGHYUN – Shinin’
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to approuch this release. It’s sensitive for the Kpop community as a whole considering it’s only been a year since Jonghyun has passed. So I’m going to keep this brief and respectful.
It would be a mistake for me to not have included him; Shinin’ is a beautifully curated song. From the visuals, dance, lyrics and delivery Jonghyun really out-did himself with this one. Every bit of production shows his unique touches and I’m honored that it was released and shared with us.
Take care of yourself friends and fans.
Sincerely, rest in peace Jonghyun. Your music lives on.
JUNHO – Winter Sleep
Ah, my men 2PM. Or for the moment at least Junho, who I never realized the breadth of his talents until this release. For shame on me, especially since he’s probably the closest to a ‘bias’ I would ever get in 2PM. Since it’s release in January, I’ve been revisiting this song. It is now winter once again you know.
It’s sleep. It’s a different type of sexy from 2PM’s typical style and for that I’ve thankful. Junho has one of those distinct voices that really helps take a group to another level, but is also very powerful on it’s own. I’m not the biggest fan of the rap portion, but the overall calm demeanor of the song is my type of winter so to speak.
It’s a shame with all the newer groups that this track got overshadowed. At least on my personal lists it’s still close to number one.
GOT7 – Look
Got7 gets passed over a lot since apparently they’re ‘not that good’. Several world tours, a good chunk of music show wins, a solid fanbase and they are crying all the way to the bank in my opinion. ‘Look’ was their first comeback in 2018, and honestly it’s my favorite among them.
I appreciated that they focused a little less on inserting raps, and more on curating a better more cohesive sound. Jackson and Bambam might not have the best line distribution in the song but the song still slaps. The dance is a bit weird, but fun to copy. (Also Bambam will never let the dab die you know.) The hook is absolutely addicting – literally every single time I think of the word ‘Look’ it inevitably pops back into my head. If that’s not a well formulated hook, I don’t know what it is.
As your local, low-key Got7 fan I have no complaints about this release.
C.A.P. – For
Can I say that I never expected C.A.P to absolutely pop off with this? There’s always been a discourse in Kpop/KRap fans that idol rappers aren’t ‘real’ rappers since they’re idols. I’ve never really been part of that but I’ve seen arguments for it. While C.A.P has always been Teen Top’s rapper, seeing him do this was pretty damn surprising.
C.A.P has always been a bit of a odd man out, being one of the first idol rappers to get tattoos, having a more ‘beast’ idol image then the stick-thin images most male idols have. Seeing him play with his expectations in this track was a welcome change of pace from yet another idol rapper dropping yet another mix tape.
I can’t say this track saved Kpop, or anything but it certainly left a mark on me this year. Hence, it rounds out my boy group picks.
The best for last though, of course are my queens. The lovely ladies in Kpop saving us through various genres, dances and lyrics. Can you feel my bias? Absolutely. Let’s head into the second part:
Dreamcatcher – Full Moon
Trying to chose one Dreamcatcher song from this year, was the worst. I genuinely believe every single comeback is better then the last, and ‘Full Moon’ as a digital single to kick off the year was perfect. The line distribution is well done, and the choreography is simply to die for. Dreamcatcher always outdoes themselves but this one still takes the cake for me
I have a big soft spot for Dreamcatcher since they are pretty much the most recent
(minus Honey Popcorn) Kpop girl group I follow. I really follow them since I love the incorporation of alt-idol elements; having a non-standard theme, rock based sound and really focusing on being both vocally stable but having a strong performance on top of it.
Put it simply; I’m a fan of talented girls trying something different in music. I love Dreamcatcher and ‘Full Moon’ is still my top jam of theirs from this year.
Miryo – Can I See You Again
Miryo~ My favorite rapper in the Kpop game. This year she really stepped up and diversified what she’s been doing ,waiting for Mystic to get their head’s out of their ass and give them a comeback as four. Miryo now vlogs, streams on twitch, and has released a good chunk of remixes and covers in between it all.
‘Can I See You Again’ is one of the original songs she’s released this year, and by far; my favorite. The chorus is catchy, and while the video is meme-y and already dated in a sense, it still slaps. I’m still playing this track on repeat, singing the chorus whenever it pops in my head.
I see you Miryo, and I desperately want a full mix tape or another solo album! You’ve come so far since your original solo release!
Kyungri – Blue Moon
My girl Park Kyungri, even with the few Kpop groups I follow these days I still never am on top with solos and such. The Kpop universe exploded briefly with Kyungri’s live performers being all men in heels. I don’t blame them since damn it was a good day to be a MINE that day.
I can’t say that Kyungri, vocally would have been the member I picked for a solo. As of late she is the face of the remaining muses. Star Empire Entertainment is notoriously terrible about producing for their idols and the fact 9Muses didn’t make a comeback at all this year is terrible. They didn’t completely drop the ball with giving Kyungri a solo though.
I love her, I really do but this song isn’t exactly the greatest. It’s the sultry summer bop we all needed at the time but…. It’s not particularly unique or outstanding. She slays all her visuals, and vocally she’s holding her own and that’s enough for me.
I’m not gonna lie; I’m only into Oh!GG for Sunny. The girl got absolutely shafted by her members, by SM and by the public. I’ve also just fallen out of love with GG with 4 of 9 original members having left. When this new unit announced it’s formation, I really felt that SM is just trying to prolong the inevitable; the nation’s girl group is no more.
Which is both a loss, and a blessing. This mature, finally a concept that’s their age finally emerged for them! I was more then pleasantly surprised by this bop. The line distribution still isn’t right but… for once Sunny gets a chorus and a good chunk of lines instead of being pushed to the side.
The dance is on point, if not even a bit on trend at the time. You can feel Hyoyeon’s more then little touch in it, and the other members handle it well. The original Girl’s Generation might be no more, but Oh! GG is certainly going to carve their own space. I can feel it.
My ability to do math is off, and if you’ve been keeping track; there’s only 9 songs listed for this year. As I’ve been pulling out from the Kpop bubble, so I’ve been listening to significantly less this year. It was really hard for me to scrape together nine songs, let alone ten so forgive me?
Hopefully you still found this article interesting and maybe found a new tune or two to give a listen.