2019 is going by so damn fast, didn’t you notice? It feels like it was just a month ago when I published the 2018 Favorite K-Pop Releases article and here we are doing the 2019 installment of the same kind. Though in my personal opinion, the past six months had been pretty dry and boring, there are still a few songs who managed to captivate my tastes and entice my attention. Subjective to my personal opinion, here is The SLY Choice for favorite K-Pop Releases from the 1st half of 2019!
First up on the list are the beautiful girls of Apink! The six-membered girl group has been known for their bright and innocent concept ever since their debut on 2012, however, they decided to add a bucket of spice this time around. “%%” (read as eung eung) is an upbeat pop track that is a typical song to hear at parties and clubs. It has a very catchy groove that can make you dance upon hearing its melody.
Verivery Ring Ring Ring & From Now
Definitely my favorite rookie of this year, Verivery! They are the newest boy group of the company who created VIXX and Gugudan (they exist), Jellyfish Entertainment. One thing I absolutely love about this rookie boy group is that the genre of their music is new jack swing, a genre rarely heard in K-Pop music.
Their debut song “Ring Ring Ring” is a breath of fresh air for its bright and funky music. As the group’s first release, it was able to show the members’ talents, good looks, and charms. Not long after, the group made its first comeback with “From Now”. It is another new jack swing song, but with more emphasis on its powerful beats and dance.
It really makes me sad to see CLC thriving among international fans, but not in the Korean public. In my opinion, they are one of the girl groups whose title tracks are all good. Following the amazing “Black Dress”, CLC delivered once again with “No”. “No” is a powerful dance track which highlights the members’ mature side and sexy charms.
ITZY Dalla Dalla
Many had been skeptical, but JYP Entertainment’s newest girl group, ITZY, proved that they have a chance to rise up to the top. The group’s debut song “Dalla Dalla” boasts of a sassy and confident sound. The lyrics of the song is about being different, unlike others, subsequently meaning that ITZY is not like any other group out there.
Jang Dongwoo News & Party Girl
While INFINITE is practically on hiatus following leader Kim Sungkyu’s military enlistment, the remaining members made sure to keep their fans properly fed. The group’s main rapper and dancer, Jang Dongwoo, embarked on his own journey as he had his solo debut with double title tracks: “News” and “Party Girl”.
“News” showcases Dongwoo’s naturally sexy voice and aura while “Party Girl” is more of a dance song to be enjoyed at fun meetings. The two title tracks exuded different feels, but Dongwoo proved his versatility as an artist by doing amazing in both.
Everglow Bon Bon Chocolat
Gaining immense popularity is Yuehua’s new girl group, Everglow, which made a successful debut with “Bon Bon Chocolat”. The group consists of three members who had been previously seen in Mnet survival shows. Member Onda previously joined Idol School while Sihyun and Yiren was a trainee at Produce 48. “Bon Bon Chocolat” gained positive reviews for its experimental yet effective approach in music as well as the talents demonstrated by the Everglow members.
I can never satisfy all my thoughts about this track in words. “Violeta” is just a very amazing song! After the success of “La Vie En Rose”, IZ*ONE once again did not disappoint with their quality music. The entire song and music video is very regal and classy, complemented by IZ*ONE’s angelic visuals and amazing voices. Music like this makes me look forward to the future songs of the group.
Just like Apink, another group that transitioned into a more mature concept is the current nation’s girl group, Twice! They may have changed concepts, but they definitely did not lose their magical touch in creating catchy music via upbeat pop single “Fancy”.
Nam Woohyun Hold On Me
No doubt my favorite male solo song of the year! As mentioned, INFINITE is on hiatus after Sungkyu’s military enlistment which is soon followed by Dongwoo’s and Sungyeol’s. With very little time before his very own enlistment, Woohyun had his second comeback with a new album. Unlike his first two title songs, Woohyun experimented with a sultry dance track this time around. What made “Hold On Me” so amazing is that the dance is challenging, yet Woohyun still manages to deliver his stable powerful vocals.
Before embarking to their third (yes, third) world tour, GOT7 dropped their new album with carrier single “Eclipse”. “Eclipse” is a song which is jointly produced by GOT7’s leader JB and JYP, the Park Jinyoung himself. The song, as compared to the group’s previous releases, is more on an angsty and dark note. The concept is quite ambiguous and vague but the music truly did not disappoint. Good music is good music regardless of genre and concept, and this is proof of it.
Lovelyz When We Were Us (Beautiful Days)
A pinch of melancholy from “Destiny”, added with a few ethereal vibes from “Lost & Found” and an ounce of upbeat sound from “Ah-choo”. What do you get? The musical masterpiece that is “When We Were Us (Beautiful Days)” or “Beautiful Days” for short. Everything about this song is truly magical and words aren’t enough to explain why. “Beautiful Days” serves as evidence that Lovelyz is no longer just a group, but a genre itself. It pains me to see such an amazing song underperforming on the charts, when its quality is over the top.
To be quite honest, at first, I thought “FUN!” was a disappointment after the bop that is “Love Bomb”. While I still think it did not surpass “Love Bomb”, I found myself enjoying “FUN!” soon afterwards. Just like its name suggests, the song is very fun and when you are looking for something to brighten up your day, this is the medication you need.
VIXX differs from other ‘sexy’ boy groups because they do not require skin exposure, crotch grabs, hip thrusts, and suggestive clothing to showcase their sex appeal. But what if they do? The answer is a truly sinful experience. Leo proved that true via his solo comeback song “Romanticism”. Since OH!Press is a child-friendly site, I will not elaborate further, but know that everything about “Romanticism” is fantastic.
CHUNGHA SNAPPED! If Woohyun’s “Hold On Me” is my favorite male solo of the year, I highly doubt anyone will top Chungha’s “Snapping” as my favorite female solo. It just shows how Chungha really got the ultimate success more than any other IOI member with her extraordinary dancing skills, visuals, vocals, and stage presence.
While I still believe that the 2019 K-Pop industry, as compared to the past years, has been very boring and dry, these are some releases that made me try to think otherwise. With less than six months remaining, let’s see if 2019 will convince me that it is not boring but fun, and not dry but prolific.