K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2018

For a variety of reasons (not all of them k-pop related), I don’t think too many people are going to miss 2017. But as we turn the calendar to 2018, I’m filled with a sense of optimism for what the new year might bring us.

With this in mind, here are the top ten things I’d like to see happen in 2018. Some are probably more realistic than others (as we saw with the results of last year’s resolutions), but that’s the beauty of a list like this! Be sure to leave your own ideas in the comments.

1. No. More. Disbandments.

First things first, we’ve got to stop the bleeding when it comes to k-pop’s established groups. 2017 was a brutal year for disbandments and roster changes, and felt like a total changing of the guard. I’m all for new groups rising to prominence, but there’s a place for acts with more history behind them too.

2. A Return to a More Powerful Vocal Performance Style

As k-pop has embraced attitude-driven trends like tropical house, future bass and hip-hop, I’ve noticed that the way songs are delivered has changed. Listening to some of SM Entertainment’s older material, their vocalists used to simply attack a melody, casting off a constant barrage of dramatic power notes without a second thought. Much of this had to do with the influence of producer Yoo Young-Jin (who desperately needs a resurgence), but I think this theatrical, over-the-top performance style has also just gone out of fashion. I need it to return, because it’s one of the things that first enthralled me about k-pop.

3. An Easing Up on the Moodiness (Boy Groups)

If I have one complaint about boy groups in general, it’s that many have become overly moody. Call it the BTS effect, I guess. Sure, there are many lighthearted acts as well, but there rarely seems to be much of a middle ground between the two. I know that long, brooding gazes at the camera appeal to much of k-pop’s teen audience, but sometimes the self-seriousness negatively affects the music, casting a murky shadow over what could otherwise be a big pop chorus. In 2018, I’d like to see an extra injection of fun.

4. An Easing Up on the Cutesiness (Girl Groups)

With girl groups, my issue is the exact opposite. I’m all for a cutesy concept, but not when everyone is doing it. The light, saccharine nature of this style really limits what a group can do, and I miss the musical maturity of acts like 2NE1, Miss A and Wonder Girls. A little more moderation would be welcome in 2018.

5. A New Wave of Weird K-Pop Ambition

Second generation k-pop was decidedly weird, but in recent years it seems like some of that oddball charm has softened in favor of a more international push. This has resulted in tremendous success, but I don’t want to see k-pop acts simply copying what’s popular about American or European acts. The industry is much more interesting than that, and it’s time to harness that creativity again.

6. A Surge of Rock-Influenced Production

If tropical house and EDM were the buzzwords this year, I’d love to see more rock elements brought in for 2018. This isn’t to say that I want idol groups to start picking up guitars, but I’d love a return to the SM Performance Style that incorporated elements of metal into its slick dance-pop sound. This could be especially dynamic for NCT, who still need that one big, breakout song.

7. A Solid Foundation for 2017’s Most Promising Rookies

Golden Child and ONF, I’m talking about you. These two groups have all the potential to break out, and I hope it happens for them. Ditto for A.C.E and Dreamcatcher, who have both developed very passionate (if niche) fan bases. And I hope 2018 goes well for LOONA, who have been part of this year’s most ambitious roll out. It will be interesting to see what happens upon full debut.

8. Peace for SHINee

Whatever SHINee decides to do with their tenth anniversary, I hope they’re happy. The loss of Jonghyun has been an incredible blow to the entire industry, but I can’t imagine what it must feel like to the remaining four members. No group has had it harder in 2017. Selfishly, I hope they stick together and pull an incredible comeback out of this tragedy, but most of all I wish them the opportunity to reconcile what’s happened and find peace.

9. Big Hits from Infinite and TVXQ

These two groups have been away for awhile, and both are scheduled to make comebacks toward the beginning of the year (Infinite’s is just a week away!). They’re also two of my ultimate favorite acts, and I’m rooting for monster returns that reestablish their k-pop dominance.

10. Justice for Snuper

It goes without saying, I’ve been a huge booster of Snuper this year. And while their sales have risen with each comeback, they still deserve more attention than they’re getting. But even if they don’t find incredible commercial success in 2018, I just hope they keep releasing music with Sweetune as their producer. It really has been a match made in heaven these past few years.

Now it’s your turn! What are your K-Pop Resolutions for 2018?


14 thoughts on “K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2018

      • Well, it really was, and I think it will continue to be “the sound”. Cuz’ hypy tracks with which young’uns can dance and jump to tend to be streamed, downloaded, played most everywhere, and that equals money- which is kind of the point of music these days; and if it aint broke


  1. TBH I want nothing more than an f(x)’s comeback with full scale promotion, but after what SM did to SNSD’s it’s probably better to keep my expectation low. I have no doubts over the music quality though. Say what you want about SM but that company’s got one hell of an A&R department


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  3. I definitely agree here! My favorite K-Pop year all-time is 2015, and that is when it had most interesting and full-scale comebacks (ex. 4 Walls, Dumb Dumb, Crazy, FTISLAND’s first true rock comeback, etc.) I would love to see more rock-influenced, old-fashioned, and less trendy comebacks. Also, the talk-rapping needs to go.. it always sounds so…bad.

    Personally, since this year is SHINHWA’s 20th anniversary, I would love to see a powerful comeback– like Brand New or Perfect Man. It’s kinda old-fashioned, sure, but I’m sure they will slay if they do that 🙂


    • 2015 was a pretty solid year! As for Shinhwa, I need them to come back with something dynamite. I didn’t like their last album at all, but when they’re good, they’re pretty much unstoppable.


  4. “Justice for Snuper” me too! 🙂
    As for INFINITE, I do love them since their very beginning but the teasers they dropped for ‘Tell Me’ didn’t seem to promise anything remarkable: the synth is a 6-months-old tropical blend, the chorus is the usual not-a-chorus of the whole EDM production of the last 2 years, the choreography is poor and they look like they don’t have any inspiration toward it.
    I hope I’m wrong because I’ve been waiting a year and half for their comeback, but it’s like what happened in 2017 definitely broke the doll. Moreover, there’s just 1 track produced by Sweetune in “Top Seed” and it’s not the title track… Is this the beginning of the end?


    • I think “the beginning of the end” might be a bit dramatic. There are ten other songs on the album, after all… and a likely repackage.
      But, I can’t say I’m thrilled about the teasers they’ve released so far. In fact, I’m really worried that Tell Me is going to play into all the 2017 trends I hated the most. I hope I’m wrong, but my expectations have definitely been tempered.


      • Sure, I agree: “the beginning of the end” is storytelling… 🙂 But Infinite has never been an EDM concept, and tropical ballads are not in its DNA: what we saw as a preview of Tell Me simply doesn’t match a piece with what we loved in Infinite.
        The suspect is Woollim couldn’t wait any longer to build up this comeback after all that happened during the hiatus, and this is what they were able to put together – in how much time? 1 month? 2 weeks? 3 days? – with what they already had.
        Of course it’s too early to be disappointed, but I guess they’re yet a bit out of the competition for KPop “Top Seeds” of 2018.


        • I can’t dispute anything you’re saying. I really hoped the group would throw down the gauntlet for this long-awaited return, delivering something dramatic that re-establishes their core sound. From what we’ve heard so far, Tell Me does not feel like that song. And if it truly is stuck in the trends of last spring (when it was originally supposed to be released), I think Woollim is shooting themselves in the foot by not opting for something more in keeping with the group’s talents.

          But, I don’t want to play judge, jury and executioner just yet. We haven’t even heard the song. We’ll see…


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