Welcome to another edition of ‘These Songs Are Rad’, a monthly look at everything hot and poppin’ in the music scene in South Korea. From indie gems to K-Pop hits, these were my favorite songs of February. Enjoy!
B.I.G – “1.2.3”
I’m not familiar with B.I.G. What I do know is I’m very into “1.2.3.” It’s a standard boyband single, at least relative to everything that’s making the rounds in K-Pop, but something about it draws me in. Perhaps it’s the group’s vocals – I mean, the guys can sing. Whatever it is, they have my attention.
BTS (방탄소년단) – “봄날 (Spring Day)”
The first single out of BTS this year is arguably one of their best pieces of work to date. “Spring Day” is a mellow slow song with just enough of a rhythm to propel it forward. I find myself coming back to it more times than any of the tracks on You Never Walk Alone, though only by a little.
DEAN – “넘어와 (Come Over) (Feat. 백예린)”
This might not be DEAN’s strongest offering, but it’s still damn good ear candy. “Come Over” is a slick R&B single with a sweet and timeless feel to it. DEAN’s voice glides effortlessly through each moment of the song, throwing in delicate ad-libs from time to time that adds to the song’s dreamy landscape.
K.A.R.D – “Don’t Recall”
“Don’t Recall” is a lot like “Oh NaNa” in that it’s a solid dancehall bop. The song’s smoothness coupled with how well the group’s vocals gel together between verses make this single easy to vibe to. Let’s see how long they keep the momentum going.
Lovelyz – “WoW!”
I’m secretly really into songs that have a strong chant element to them (girl groups do this particularly well), and Lovelyz’s “WoW!” has hints of that throughout its lovely three-minute run. Additionally, the MV is so ridiculously charming, with all its cute-ass cut-out figures doing all kinds of cute-ass shit, that it’s truely hard to resist.
NCT DREAM – “마지막 첫사랑 (My First and Last)”
Honestly, I can’t seem to stop jamming out to “My First and Last.” I swear I’ve listened to this song more times than some of the cuts on NCT 127’s Limitless album, which, for the record, I don’t think is particularly memorable. This song, on the other hand, has a lot of fun verses and catchy melodies that work harmoniously and do a very solid job of representing the whole concept of NCT DREAM.
Red Velvet – “Body Talk”
Red Velvet, as bubblegum pop as they can be, deep down inside I know they’re a group that really wants to remain versatile with their music, and I think “Body Talk” pushes the limits of that versatility for them in a good way. Never did I think they’d tap into obscure 80’s power bop territory, but this song totally goes there. And, of course, it slays. Stay tuned for coverage of Red Velvet as they make their way to my hometown for SXSW 2017 next week!
Subin – “동그라미의 꿈 (Circle’s Dream)”
Thank you so much to everyone that steered my attention to Subin’s “Circle’s Dream,” because my god is it good. So good, it’s now one of my favorite songs to come from Korea in years – not just this one. If there’s one big thing that I really love about it, it’s all the classic Feist vibes that it possesses, and I fucking love Feist.
Xin Seha – “Tell Her”
After a fantastic debut a couple years ago, Xin Seha is back. This time, with an EP that is chock-full of even deeper retro vibes than some of his earliest releases. “Tell Her,” for instance, is a chill jam that sounds like it was plucked directly out of the 80’s. It’s hypnotizing, with high replayability.
Zion. T – “노래 (The Song)”
Playful Zion. T is my favorite Zion. T, and the man delivers in the wonderfully spirited and outright hilarious “The Song.” In it, Zion. T channels his craft to pen a song about literally penning a song for his love interest. “The Song” hits listeners over the head with one catchy melody after another, all while hoping to never garner popularity on the radio. Consider that mission a bust, dude.
It’s undoubtedly clear that the boys of BTS are in a league of their own when it comes to music, conceptualization, and artistry in Korean music (not just in K-Pop), and they achieve several levels of greatness in each facet in You Never Walk Alone. The album is emotional, incredibly personal, and one hell of an experience from start to finish.
Filled to the brim with impressive production value, You Never Walk Alone expresses a variety of color, style, and pace to deliver one of the most cohesive extended plays cranked out of K-Pop since, well, BTS’ last album.
For the most part, the charts remained unchanged throughout February. That is until music streaming sites decided to amend their chart systems by banning midnight releases, effectively causing fandoms to burst into flames. Wasn’t that fun?
Here’s what the Top 100 songs in Korea looks like right now.
Just a few songs flew under the radar this month. That, and I was extremely busy, so I probably missed a ton more shit that is worth mentioning here. NEXT TIME.
Boni – “Episode”
Boni is back! I repeat, Boni is back! It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything come out of Boni’s camp, but boy was I excited when she dropped “Episode.” It’s Boni doing what she does best: singing R&B straight from the soul.
From The Airport – “The Jump”
It’s never not a fun time with From The Airport. Their latest album release The Boy Who Jumped is filled with fun and energizing tracks, including “The Jump,” which showcases the band’s strong handle on ooie gooie electro-pop.
Wonder Girls – “그려줘 (Draw Me)”
Release Date: 2/10/17
It’s hard to believe that an iconic group such as the Wonder Girls is over. What’s odd about the whole thing is how quietly they bowed out of the spotlight. We were hoping for at least one last album, but alas, all we have is this relatively mellow swan song that, while not stunning, is still quite beautiful.
And finally, here is a handful of reader-submitted songs that you listened to last month. I’m seeing tons of love for Code Kunst’s new album, which is a great sign. If it hadn’t dropped so late I would have featured it above. No worries, though, because there should be an album review on the way here soon.