The Year in K-POP so far: Risers & Fallers

Risers & FallersReviews of any sort represent a snapshot in time. I’d like to think that what I write about a song the day after its release ends up being what I think about it in the long term, and more often than not that’s the case. But certain songs have a way of creeping up on you the more familiar you become with them. Others have the opposite effect. Now that the year is almost half over, I thought it was a great time to spotlight some of the tracks that have defied initial perceptions.

To be clear, this is not necessarily a “best of/worst of” list — some of my “risers” are not what I’d call “best of year” material, but at least one of my “fallers” is!


April – Tinkerbell (review)

I’d easily bump this into the 8’s, and that’s largely due to the now-epic egg-shaped Sawori that’s quickly become one of my favorite wtf k-pop moments.

Astro – Hide & Seek (review)

I think I was still hesitant about the more child-like aspects of this song when I first reviewed it, but it’s gone on to become one of my favorite (and most played) tracks of the year. Really looking forward to their comeback.

B.A.P – Feel So Good (review)

Feel So Good is taken from one of 2016’s strongest, most upbeat albums, and benefits from that. But it’s also proved to get better with age.

Block B – Toy (review)

Like a lot of Block B tracks, Toy is a total grower. I think I was put off a bit that it wasn’t the uptempo party track I wanted, which caused me to be a little stingy with the rating.

BTS – Fire (review)

I actually rated Save Me higher because I could appreciate the artistry of it. Fire, on the other hand, is an awesome, straightforward rush of energy, and has only improved since I first reviewed it.

GFriend – Rough (review)

I had built my hopes so high coming in to this, which caused me to nitpick. But it has slowly become my favorite GFriend song.

GOT7 – Fly (review)

Still one of my least-favorite GOT7 title tracks, but I think I was overly hard on it. Ditto to Red Velvet’s One Of These Nights.

Laboum – Journey To Atlantis (review)

There were so many songs of this genre coming out at once that Laboum suffered from overkill. Now that the super-poppy girl crush sound has slowed a bit, I can appreciate Atlantis more.

NCT U – Without You (review)

My initial review was already a rave, but I should have raved even more because this is without a doubt one of my favorite songs of the year. I hate that I don’t see more people talking about it.

Seventeen – Pretty U (review)

I suspected this would have staying power, and I was right. I gave it an 8.75 in April. I’d easily bump that into the 9’s now, especially when paired with its irresistibly joyful choreography.

Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance (review)

I still think it could have been more, but I’ve slowly been won over and it deserves to be bumped up a notch or two.

Twice – Cheer Up (review)

It’s funny what ridiculous popularity and ubiquity will do for a song. I already liked it, but I think I’ve kind of fallen under its spell, along with the whole of Korea.



Berry Good – Angel (review)

I’m still very impressed with this dynamic track, but it hasn’t had quite the staying power I’d expected.

Hyoseung – Find Me (review)

It’s a fine song, but faded for me very quickly. It definitely benefited from being a big dance track released at a time when I was really craving one.

JYP – Fire / Still Alive (review 1/2)

After an over-serious March, I was pumped for the goofiness these two tracks supplied. They’re both a lot of fun, but kind of came and went without much longevity.

Lovelyz – Destiny (review)

I think my love for Lovelyz convinced me that this was better than it is. After a number of listens, it just hasn’t sunk in the way their other material did.

Rainbow – Whoo (review)

In the ballad heavy winter season, Whoo was a breath of fresh air. Still like it… just don’t listen to it very much.

Taemin – Press Your Number (review)

I hesitated to include this, since it’s still one of my favorite songs of the year so far, but as of now I think it stands as my highest rated k-pop title track of 2016. And though I continue to love it (and its accompanying album), I’d probably place a few other songs above it. 

Teen Top – Warning Sign (review)

Perfectly serviceable, but I often completely forget it exists.

What about you guys? Any 2016 tracks surprise you after you got to know them a bit more closely?


5 thoughts on “The Year in K-POP so far: Risers & Fallers

    • Can’t say I’ve given that track much love since my review, but I’m glad that you like it! They’re in need of a comeback soon, I think!


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