2017 in K-POP so far: Risers & Fallers

Risers & FallersLast year, I marked the halfway point of 2016 by looking at some tracks that had either grown better or worse with time. This year, I’m a little late — but better late than never! As with 2016, the vast majority of my reviews still reflect my thoughts about a song, but sometimes it’s impossible to know how a track will hold up in the long run.

And as usual, this is not necessarily a “best of/worst of” list — some of my “risers” are not what I’d call “best of year” material, and some of the “fallers” are still very strong.


Astro – Baby (review)

My love for Astro’s sound automatically garnered them a rating in the high 8’s, but I’d bump ‘Baby’ up just a notch now that its indelible hooks have had time to settle.

Cosmic Girls (WJSN) – Happy (review)

Most Cosmic Girls songs could be considered “risers.” I think there’s just so much going on in ‘Happy’ that it’s hard to process at first. But honestly, this is the song that Twice should have come back with this year.

DAY6 – Hi Hello (review)

I rated ‘Hi Hello’ in the low 7’s, but that was before its gorgeous harmonies truly sunk in. It may be slow and hazy, but it’s the perfect counterpoint to summer’s more boisterous singles.

EXO – Ko Ko Bop (review)

I still don’t think it was the right choice for a title track (there are stronger songs on the full album), but there’s nothing about Ko Ko Bop’s easy groove I dislike.

GFriend – Love Whisper (review)

It took about a week for me to realize that the instrumental bombast I was hoping for could be found in the belt ’em out vocals that run throughout Love Whisper’s winding melody. One of the biggest growers of the summer.

NCT 127 – Cherry Bomb (review)

Just like EXO, NCT 127 should not have led their album campaign with ‘Cherry Bomb.’ It’s still my least favorite title track by them, but the song’s atonal charms eventually won me over.

ONF – On/Off (review)

There’s still time left this summer, but so far ‘On/Off’ (and its accompanying album) have been the sleeper hit of the season. I have high hopes for this group.

Red Velvet – Rookie (review)

Like so many others, ‘Rookie’ steamrolled its way into my memory through sheer repetition and upbeat energy. Initially, it was so irritating. Now I kinda love it.

Seventeen – Don’t Wanna Cry (review)

Seventeen’s sudden shift in sound blunted some of my excitement when I wrote my review of ‘Don’t Wanna Cry.’ Since then, the track has proven its staying power. I’d easily bump it up into the 9’s.

Winner – Really Really (review)

I’ve been worn out on the tropical pop trend for so long now that songs of this genre barely get a fair shake anymore. ‘Really Really’ may not be the genre I want for Winner, but there’s no doubting Really Really’s chart-conquering longevity.




B.I.G – 1.2.3 (review)

One of my top three songs of February. I’m not sure I’d still put it in that place several months later. Its lightweight sense of fun hasn’t demanded as many repeat listens as I would have anticipated.

Hotshot – Jelly (review)

A strong song, for sure, but its dark dance sound didn’t really match with the summer season, which limited its prominence on my playlist.

iKON – B-Day (review)

I think I was so excited to hear something with an actual tempo after weeks of lazy springtime retreads. ‘B-Day’ is still much superior to its counterpart, the ugly ‘Bling Bling,’ but it’s certainly not as good as my review let on.

Laboum – Hwi Hwi (review)

One of my top three songs of April, and still a dynamite burst of pop. Even so, I haven’t given it as many plays as I would have thought throughout the summer.

Mamamoo – Yes I Am (review)

Though ‘Yes I Am’ initially impressed me, something about it’s energy feels a little to pleased with its own cleverness. I haven’t found myself returning to it often. 

Oh My Girl – Coloring Book (review)

I still enjoy this bonkers explosion of a pop song, but have to be in a particular mood to play it.

SF9 – Easy Love (review)

I just can’t get over that horrible filter layered over a few of the lines during the first verse. It honestly comes close to ruining the entire song.

Twice – Signal (review)

Twice’s history for creating durable hits convinced me that ‘Signal’ might share the same longevity. Unfortunately, it hasn’t.

What about you guys? Any 2017 tracks surprise you after you got to know them a bit more closely?


9 thoughts on “2017 in K-POP so far: Risers & Fallers

  1. Your fallers are so similar to mine, Hwi Hwi and 1.2.3. are a ton of fun every time I come back to them, but they oftentimes end up getting buried in the back of my music library

    P.S. I’m surprised you even gave Bling Bling a 7. “Ugly” is a pretty accurate descriptor.


  2. “‘Ko Ko Bop’ may not be the title track I want for EXO, but there’s no doubting Ko Ko Bop’s chart-conquering longevity.”

    (Sorry, just a bit of cheek due to how surprisingly well KKB has been doing on the Korean charts)

    Anyway Cherry Bomb grew on me quite a lot as well, especially after my initial disappointment they didn’t go with something more melodic like 0 Mile subsided. I can now fully enjoy it for the experimental, rap-focused performance piece that it is. The “clap your hands” line is still pretty bad, though.

    Jelly is staying strong as one of my songs of the year so far, I think. There’s just something addicting about it!


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