Since their debut in 2014, Halo have been one of k-pop’s most underrated groups. But with their new Japanese single released last month, they’ve delivered just enough singles to qualify for a top ten countdown.
Just like any artist with a relatively slim catalog, when I’m talking about their ten best singles, I’m literally talking about their only ten singles. Because of this, numbers 8-10 are not songs I’d necessarily return to with much frequency. But once we get past the questionable Japanese material, we’re in bright, bubbly k-pop bliss.
10. Jasmin (2017)
For their second Japanese single, Halo retreated to a synth-driven sound more reminiscent of k-pop’s second generation artists. Its melodramatic chorus doesn’t leave much of an impression.
9. Liar (2018)
Tackling a more theatrical sound, Liar works in fits and starts. Its dramatic chorus and acoustic guitar loop hold promise, if only the production didn’t constantly smother them in those overbearing synths.
8. Heaven Heaven (2016)
Halo’s Japanese debut retained their upbeat pop charm, but delved even further into bubblegum. Its chirpy chorus constantly walks the line between addictive and cloying.
7. Here I Am (2017)
With it’s brassy hip-hop beat and rhythmic chorus, Here I Am strayed from the pop sound that had informed most of Halo’s previous work. They pull it off, even if the end product comes off as more generic than their best material. (full review)
6. Surprise (2015)
Fusing Halo’s pop energy to a surging eurodance beat, Surprise’s delightfully simple throwback of a chorus gave the guys their most surging melody yet.
5. While You’re Sleeping (2015)
Maturing their sound while retaining a definitive boy band style, While You’re Sleeping incorporated elements of hip-hop best evidenced by its wonderfully old-school breakdown.
4. Come On Now (2014)
Inspired by the kind of beat-driven dance-pop sound that made EXO’s Growl such a phenomenon, Come On Now shines a spotlight on the group’s fun-loving, personality-driven vibe.
3. Fever (2014)
An addictive debut, fueled by a sunny pop hook and synth-kissed pop stomp. That brief, brassy breakdown is almost enough to compete with the track’s indelible post-chorus sing-along.
2. Feels So Good (2015)
Though it was never given an official music video, Feels So Good’s ebullient, synth-drenched hook and lively choreography made it one of the group’s most memorable moments.
1. Mariya (2016)
Offering a perfectly-realized blast of guitar-fueled power pop, Mariya took all of Halo’s strengths and bottled them into one impossibly energetic package. This is a song that, by all accounts, should have become a summertime staple and set the template for all of the group’s future work. (full review)