I always write up a Top 50 songs list in December, but for the first time I thought it would be fun to take a mid-year survey of the k-pop landscape as well. As of this moment, these five songs are what I would consider the strongest releases of 2016.
This year has actually been very solid so far, despite my top three groups (Infinite, B1A4 & Shinee) yet to come back. In fact, my top five is almost exclusively rookie (or close to rookie) groups, which says something about the quality of this upcoming generation of idols. It’s also overwhelmingly upbeat pop, which would surprise no one who knows my taste in music. I’m putting them in alphabetical order to avoid ranking them. That’ll come in December.
What are your top five?
First, some honorable mentions:
(my lists count Dec. 2015 as well)
BTS – Fire (full review)
Lovelyz – For You (full review)
Snuper – Platonic Love (full review)
VIXX – Dynamite (full review)
TOP 5 SINGLES
Astro – Hide & Seek
An unbelievably fun debut from a group that’s slowly working their way up my bias list. K-Pop needs this kind of bright energy and addictive melody. (full review)
EXO – Lucky One
Though many have favored the harder-edged Monster, I will always be loyal to EXO’s big pop sound. My favorite single release by a major group this year. (full review)
GFriend – Rough
Over the months, it’s become my favorite GFriend song, as well as my favorite girl group release of 2016 so far. They’re on an unstoppable roll. (full review)
NCT U – Without You
The year’s best anthem, and criminally underrated. I like their hip-hop influenced sound too, but I really hope the group revisits this sense of melodic grandeur again. (full review)
Seventeen – Very Nice
Sneaking in at the last minute, I’m not even sure that Very Nice has displayed its full potential and longevity yet. Such a big song. (full review)