In the rapidly evolving world of music, about a gazillion songs from all types of genres are produced daily. The K-pop discipline is no exception. Plenty of songs out there just so happen to share the same name but that doesn’t take away from the creativity or thought that goes into making these tracks stand out with their own musical colour. From veteran groups Big Bang and SNSD to rising stars BTS and NU’EST, OH!Press’ HepHapSwegg and Krusty95 dissect a smashing crop of same name yet different jams.
Big Bang (2012)
Big Bang and EXO are two of the top male groups in K-pop so it’s no surprise they’d release highly enjoyable title tracks dually named ‘Monster’. The two songs wield compelling instrumentals that manage to maintain impact on the listener till the very last second. From the jagged nose chains and lip rings right to the darkly intense eye contact, both EXO and BB have their beast like visuals down pat within their respective MV’s. There is a difference between the lyrics as far as the songs’ messages go. Big Bang claim in their tragic lyrics that they aren’t monsters despite their wicked and twisted behavior. EXO, on the other hand, openly admit to the fact that they are indeed diabolical monsters and will continue to act as such until they score the girl of their desire. Which do I prefer? Well, I’m able to listen to both monstrous tracks entirely without interruption so I’ll chalk this one up as a draw.
These gems by the long reigning Big Bang and all-kill dominators EXO are both monster tracks in their own right. The former has a more mellow sound compared to the latter, which is a fast-paced EDM number. Vocal wise, EXO’s “Monster” is full of high notes and climaxes compared to Big Bang’s slick and simple dynamics. Both MV’s are in relatively dark settings but are vastly different. So, depending if you prefer a soft or badass monster, these two jams will do more than fulfill your needs. My pick would be Big Bang by a fingernail.
2. Baby Baby
These two ‘Baby Baby’ tracks may carry the same name but they couldn’t be any more different from each other. SNSD’s version has a bubbly-sweet, innocent essence while the versatile boys of WINNER exude a more smooth and soulful vibe. SNSD’s lyrics weave out a blanket of fluttering emotions that comes along with having a first love. WINNER, in contrast, express their grueling loneliness and desperately long for the company of a woman no matter the circumstance. Although I am a Sone, I much prefer the slower, emotional tone of WINNER’s ‘Baby Baby’ in favor of anything else.
Baby is one of those words that feature regularly in pop songs, especially K-pop. These two tracks by SNSD and WINNER are double the babies, double the love. The girl group version is raw, sweet and perfect for young teens compared to the charismatic, sway-worthy boy version. These babies also differ in the vocal department as the former has cute vocals (except for Taeyeon’s high note) and the latter is more chilled. SNSD’s MV is very nostalgic with all the behind the scene action from the girls’ early days. WINNER’s is more captivating with an actual storyline and perfect visuals. Overall, I prefer WINNER’s “Baby Baby”.
Now, there a probably a billion K-pop and non-Kpop songs sprinkled throughout the masses with the title ‘Hello’. SHINee and NU’EST only contribute to the mix, for the better of course! SHINee’s ‘Hello’ is a cheerful and buoyant track about mustering up enough courage to confess to a crush. NU’EST gives us something a bit different in their version with a gloomier message of abandonment within a broken relationship. When it comes to which I prefer, I usually tend to gravitate more towards somber, meaningful lyrics so I’m rolling with NU’EST. Hits me right in the feels.
“Hello” is another common song name even beyond K-pop, but the above songs are the two of the best. SHINee continued their younger boyfriend image from debut with this adorable track. NU’EST also adopts a similar, medium-tempo tune to their seniors. While SHINee’s “Hello” is plain cute, NU’EST takes a more tender, R’n’B approach. Both songs are quite interesting vocally, where they both flirt with their skills instead of staying in a narrow range. It is a difficult decision, but I have to give NU’EST’s “Hello” the slight edge.
4. Without U
Infinite H (2013)
2PM jerks heart strings with their version of ‘Without U’ which deals with staying ironclad strong after a nasty breakup. As the chorus states: “I’ll be okay without you.” In comparison, the charismatic rap duo, Hoya and Dongwoo have lyrics that touch base more or so about the emptiness one may feel after a breakup. Infinite H’s ‘Without U’ hones a tasteful R&B feel thanks to the astounding smooth vocals of Zion.T. I love both tracks and listen to them regularly. I can’t say I can choose between the two when it comes to preference so I’ll call it a draw.
Boy groups collide once again with 2PM and Infinite H’s “Without U”. The only similarity between these two gems is probably the title. 2PM’s version is an angst-filled dance track compared to Infinite H’s swag and dab-worthy number. They both have a catchy tune, with the former featuring more vocals compared to the latter; a supreme rap track. 2PM’s MV is set in pouring rain while Infinite H’s is a glamorous hip-hop MV. My pick is 2PM even though I am quite fond of Infinite H’s music.
These two hard-hitting ‘Fire’ tracks are from two popular, fan favorite K-pop groups. BTS’s ‘Fire’ pops out from the jump with a pulsing EDM beat that you can’t help but rock to. 2Ne1’s beat is just as bumping, fitting enough for a club. 2NE1 praises the greatness of partying in their track while BTS emphasises more on the freedoms of youth and how it’s never too late to let loose. I enjoy BTS fire but it took me a few listens to really enjoy it’s overwhelming break down for all it’s worth. With that said, I’m going with 2NE1’s ‘Fire’–A debut classic, in my book.
2NE1 released “Fire” while they were in their prime whereas BTS’ version was just released a few months ago. The former falls into the girl crush genre and is vastly different to the hard-hitting latter. Both are similar in terms of the fast pace and difficult choreography. Also, the songs are not vocal-centric as they both rely on the electronic instrumentals. MV-wise, there is a lot of colour in 2NE1’s contrary to the generic, dark boy group MV that BTS went with. Overall, I give my tip to BTS.