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Top Three K-Pop Songs of February 2019

Monthly Round-UpAt the end of each month, I look back at my three favorite title tracks by K-pop artists. I take my own ratings into account, but there’s a bit of wiggle room as certain songs tend to grow or fade.


February 2019 Overall Thoughts

We’re deep in the winter doldrums, and that’s exactly what February’s K-pop releases felt like to me.

Last year, February was incredibly sparse due to the Olympics and the Lunar New Year. However, it felt more like a “quality over quantity” situation. This year, things were relatively quiet as well, but without many standouts. In fact, it’s two months into 2019 and I don’t think I’ve yet heard a track that’ll be part of my top ten singles list at the end of the year. That’s a bit concerning, but not too surprising given the season we’re in. However, it’s worth noting that each of the past three years has spawned at least one strong contender by now (last year had three!).

Why do I keep complaining about these things? At this point, it comes down to one word: impact. Few songs this year have had the kind of impact I’m looking for. There have been plenty of solid tracks, but none has grabbed me right on first listen and demanded my attention. Too many recent K-pop releases feel as if they’re simply treading water — regurgitating trends rather than throwing caution to the wind and trying something different. I hope that artists are just saving their best material for later in the year. This didn’t really happen in 2018, but more often than not things start to pick up during spring and summer.

2019’s big story so far has been debuts. We’ve had so many new artists release music already this year, and most of it has been strong. Two of my top three picks last month were debuts, and another joined their rank this February. Rounding out my top three are tracks by two acts who are no stranger to these monthly posts. I’m not over-the-moon thrilled with either of them, but in a weak month they were easy standouts.

As we move into March, I can‘t help but realize that I haven’t raved — like, really raved — about a title track in over four months. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s a case of my taste not lining up with what’s currently popular, or if K-pop has really just been that sub-par. But, one thing’s for sure: I want to rave. I’m dying to rave!

Month Cumulative Rating: 7.6

(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)


J-Pop Worth Your Time

Boyfriend – Stay The Way You Are (review)

Nissy – Addicted (review)

Honorable Mentions

Dreamcatcher – Piri (review)

Hong Joochan – A Song For Me (review)

Hwasa – Twit (review)

Infinite – Clock (review)

The Pink Lady – God Girl (review)

Taemin – Want (review)


TOP THREE SONGS

3. TST – Wake Up (review)

2. ITZY – Dalla Dalla (review)

1. ONF – We Must Love (review)



Top Three K-Pop Songs Of January 2019

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of December 2018

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of November 2018

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of October 2018

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of September 2018

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of August 2018

2016-2018 Archive Here

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19 thoughts on “Top Three K-Pop Songs of February 2019

  1. I’ll say it… I actually liked “Butterfly”. To me it’s like the sonic follow-up to “Egoist,” in that atmosphere and production heavily outshine the song itself. But overall, this month really was kind of dry. Dreamcatcher, Seven O’Clock and TST had songs, but like you I’m not sure if I would truly rave about any of them.

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    • Off topic, but I’ve been curious about your take on ITZY. I feel like, based on what I know about your musical taste, their song would strike more strongly with you than with me. But I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed it, especially since it’s not the type of song I usually go for and has seemed to split opinion online.

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      • Surprisingly, Itzy’s song faded a bit for me, and I thought I was going to end up loving it a lot more. The chorus is actually quite strong, but the arrangement has a few too many detours for my taste. The opening synth loop is also cool, but then the verses rely on it very heavily – and then there’s the trap breakdown in the second verse, the post-chorus chant bit, AND the “keep your chin up” break during the bridge! There’s so much happening that I think a more straightforward approach would have helped. Maybe if the second chorus-bridge-last chorus had been totally streamlined – cutting the chant in the bridge and the breakdown in the last fifteen seconds or so – I would have liked things a lot more. Then and again, I had similar issues with songs like NCT 127’s Cherry Bomb and ended up looking past them. The chorus in “Dalla Dalla” is a very solid hook, so I might keep on coming back. I also think ITZY themselves gave a great debut performance, so I’m definitely excited to see where things go next.

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  2. You had FOUR picks last month. 😉

    Anyway, I do feel you. I guess there hasn’t been a world-beating track on the level of “What Is Love?” or “Love Bomb” yet but I’m biased for Dreamcatcher so I’m over the moon about “Piri.” Otherwise, yeah, our top picks are more or less the same.

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    • To be clear: I love Piri very much. It’s one of my favorite Dreamcatcher tracks, period, and my frontrunner for this year so far. I am aware that a lot of my enjoyment is due to my personal biases which happen to line up with Dreamcatcher’s style of music (well, that’s why I’m a fan to begin with) and idk how much of it translates to actual general public enjoyment haha, unlike say “What Is Love” which I find many people share my enthusiasm for. Anyway, that’s it. *flies away*

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    • I did have four picks, but it wasn’t that they were so outstanding that I had to pick four. It was that they were so closely matched that I couldn’t decide between them.

      On the whole, though, I definitely thought that January was stronger than February — and by a pretty wide margin.

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      • Yeah, I know, I was just being cheeky pointing it out. 😋

        Anyway, I can’t really agree that January was stronger, let alone by a wide margin, but my opinion is colored by me not loving some of the more popular songs of January, specifically Gotta Go, %%, and Ya. February has nothing I feel as much antipathy for, I do even kinda like Bird.

        As for top picks, the best things from January were Verivery’s debut (which I love as much as you do), a very flawed but very catchy WJSN comeback, and Seventeen. (And Dreamcatcher’s anniversary song, but I’m biased.) Things I feel were at least as good in February: Dreamcatcher, Itzy, TST, ONF, Infinite, probably Monsta X, maybe even Loona despite my many complaints about the track (this might be the WJSN of the month, where I don’t know if I love the whole song but there’s that one moment that makes everything worth it).

        In either case, here’s hoping for a stronger March. Waiting for fromis_9 and/or Twice to announce something.

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  3. Hmm I definitely agree that there hasn’t been a lot of amazing releases yet, but there are a couple songs which have stuck out to me… %% and PIRI, most notably. That being said, I’ve mostly been enjoying some K-R&B and ballad singers throughout January and February, perhaps because they suit the season. As the year moves on I have high expectations for great things!

    On to your favourite songs, I am starting to get the sense that we have quite different taste in music! I really wasn’t a massive fan of either ONF or TSTs songs, and while DALLA DALLA was okay at first, it grew old for me pretty quickly. ITZY’s other track (WANT IT?) was better, but also very repetitive and got old quickly. Overall I was quite underwhelmed by their debut.

    My top 3 songs were:

    1. The Night of Seokyo- Dancing in the Moon (ft. Dawon)
    2. HwaSa- TWIT
    3. TAEMIN- Artistic Groove (although if we’re sticking strictly to title tracks, then WANT would also take this spot)

    Have you heard of the Night of Seokyo? They’re fairly unknown but I love their music and Dawon’s voice is gorgeous (they feature her a lot). I hope you had a great February apart from being somewhat disappointed in the music 🙂

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    • Yeah, we’ve definitely got different tastes. I’m happy that you still follow this site despite that! Though I guess sometimes it’s more fun to read the thoughts of those who disagree.

      Hwasa’s song has grown on me a lot, and I like Taemin’s mini album but wish he’d return to the sound of his Ace and Press It eras.

      As for The Night Of Seokyo, I love the synths but I’m not a fan of Dawon’s vocal style. I’ve just never liked that kind of breathy — almost dreamy/sleepy — tone. Isn’t it weird how people can have such opposite opinions when it comes to something like this?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s definitely really interesting to read people who have different opinions to yourself. It helps me consolidate what I think too, which is useful for writing my own reviews/ posts (because you’re super fast at reviewing things). It’s really interesting that people can have such different opinions about the same voice.

        Whilst TAEMINs earlier solo stuff isn’t bad, I think this style really suits his voice and dancing style 😊

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  4. I’m finding that 2019 as a whole is very solid, but not yet a standout. There are a good number of songs from this year that have made it to my main playlist. I have had some disappointments, of course (Piri is proof that my dislike of empty or partially empty choruses transcends groups, and there are plenty of songs I enjoy but I feel have little replayability), but in general these two months have been solid, with the rookies being especially impressive. We’ve got a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

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    • I hope so! I feel like my whole K-pop story over the past few months has been “lots of solid songs, but nothing that’s knocked me out.” I feel like you really need those kind of knockouts to spark excitement around everything else.

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    • While I actually love Piri (I was an emo kid so the chorus pretty much raised all the hairs on my body), I feel you so much about empty choruses. It’s a trend I dislike with few exceptions (I love Piri, but this kinda dampened my enjoyment of their B-sides Trap and Diamond; maybe Seventeen’s Home is the only other exception). It’s a trend whose appeal baffles me, like, why would you neuter the high point of a pop song. It’s been done so much it no longer feels innovative.

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      • Yes, exactly! And empty choruses can work when done well (see No Air, Very Nice, and Home, among others). In case it wasn’t super clear, Dreamcatcher is my absolute favorite girl group. I just can’t get Piri to click with me. Even my least favorite title tracks by Twice call my name every once in a while, but I have absolutely no desire to listen to Piri at all. I’m glad you enjoy it, though! Hopefully the trend passes with time.

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