At 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.
March 2019 Overall Thoughts
After a slow start to 2019, March finally seemed to kick things into gear. This excitement came in spurts, with most of my favorite releases lumped together at the beginning and end of the month. March is long — and there were definitely low, boring stretches — but the past few weeks have been packed with releases.
My top three was incredibly competitive. Sunmi and Gikwang were firmly in there until this last week, and will still probably find a home in my year-end countdown. I also want to give a nod to DreamNote’s Hakuna Matata, which has grown on me a lot (despite my initial rating of “7” for longevity). I’m obsessed with its unabashed 80’s-ness and its absolutely ridiculous English-language lyrics. It also has one of the year’s best transitions from chorus 1 to verse 2. This specific structural point has become a real issue for me lately. It seems to be the go-to moment for an energy-killing trap breakdown, and I’m ready for this songwriting trend to die.
Though March was relatively strong when it came to title tracks, it lacked exciting pop albums. I rarely review them in full, but I’m a huge listener of full and mini albums. I’m also kind of OCD about itunes’ star ratings. Using this system, most K-pop albums have enough standout tracks to average a four star rating from me. This month, the vast majority only averaged three — even if they were led by a killer title track. TXT’s Dream Chapter: Star was the big exception. I loved it all the way through and have returned to it often.
On another note, I’m wondering what is going on over at SM Entertainment. We’re now a quarter of the way through 2019 and there hasn’t been a single Korean comeback from one of the agency’s groups. The SHINee solos have been nice, but other than that SM has mostly delivered ballads and mid-tempos from soloists. I’m not sure what they’re planning, but this kind of SM group drought hasn’t happened for over a decade. It feels like they’re wasting time and talent.
Fortunately, other agencies are picking up the slack. My top three this month is very strong, and my number one is also my favorite song of the year so far. With all the great rookie groups we’ve had debut already, I’m looking forward to a lot of good follow-ups throughout the spring and summer. Hopefully, this new generation will begin to solidify their identities and help steer K-pop trends in more interesting directions as their fore-bearers continue to enlist and/or disband.
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.8
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
DIA – WOOWA (review)
DreamNote – Hakuna Matata (review)
Hong Jin Young – Love Tonight (review)
Hot Place – TMI (review)
Jang Dongwoo – Party Girl (review)
Jeong Sewoon – Feeling (ft. Penomeco) (review)
Jus2 – Focus On Me (review)
Key – I Wanna Be (ft. Soyeon) (review)
Lee Gikwang – Don’t Close Your Eyes (DCYE) (ft. Kid Milli) (review)
Park Bom – Spring (ft. Sandara Park) (review)
Park Jihoon – L.O.V.E (review)
R.Tee x Anda – What You Waiting For (review)
Sunmi – Noir (review)
Vav – Thrilla Killa (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. Pentagon – Sha La La (review)
2. Stray Kids – Miroh (review)
1. TXT – Crown (review)
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of February 2019
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
Ah, so TXT wins this round! I can’t believe Crown was just this month. Miroh is proving to have TONS of staying power for me. I’m listening to the song at least a few times a day, and I haven’t gotten sick of it, even though songs usually start to lose their spark with me if I listen to them even half this frequently. Chronosaurus and Boxer (surprisingly, given its chorus! The rest is just too good) are also sticking around in my most played Spotify tracks for a while.
No album tracks from TXT have quite gelled with me yet, but you can’t deny that their debut is a refreshing burst of bubblegum pop fit for Spring. Crown is a great song, just one that I’ve found myself listening to a bit less. That’s another testament to Stray Kids’ use of endless energy and unconventional structuring—I can’t believe I love it as much as I do!—but for when I’m craving something more in the vein of simple fun, I alternate between Crown and Verivery’s Ring Ring Ring. All in all, I’d say trends are pointing to a solid year of music!
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If the rest of the year draws upon the sounds found in my top three songs, I’ll be very happy. Miroh was a close second, but you know how much of a soft spot I have for bright boy group songs! Crown has only grown more addictive for me the longer it’s been around. Miroh and Sha La La haven’t had as much time to grow, but I love them both. In hindsight, I probably underrated Pentagon’s track in my review.
i was honestly SO surprised to see that shalala overtook all those other songs for you this month– i’m glad you liked it in the end! it’s been looping in my head nonstop for the past few days
Yeah, I was definitely a little nitpicky when I first wrote about it. I think the review itself reads more negatively than the rating I gave it (which I’d bump up to an easy ‘9’ now).
Honestly, sometimes songs released in the middle of the week get the shaft. I’m usually more tired (and sometimes cranky!) from work. I’ve gotta be more aware of that…
Anyways, all’s well that ends well. I’m kind of obsessed with the song, now!
Yay ! So happy to hear that. Sha La La IS an extremely well-written/well-arranged song.
It may seemingly sound like any other boy group’s song, but it has something that other boy groups don’t have. Spectacular vocals, crazy falsettos, laid-back yet aggressive raps. And the drum-machine, the guitar riffs. I don’t know why but the song makes me feel so happy and positive. Lols.
i definitely agree!
I was surprised Miroh wasn’t first place after you gave it a 10 in your review but I guess Crown is more or your style of song. I’m curious, have you checked Stray Kids new mini album yet? What did you think of it?
It was a neck-and-neck race. We’ll see how it all plays out in the end, but when it came down to it I had to give Crown the edge for more melodic complexity. I adore both songs, though!
I’ve come around to Stray Kids’ album after being very disappointed at first. It’s much more hip-hop driven than I expected, without much in the way of melody. And it kind of feels like a fake-out when nothing else on the album sounds remotely like Miroh.
But like I said, more listens have improved its standing. I still think that ‘I am NOT’ is their best mini, but this probably ranks second for me.
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Haha looks like we had very different experiences this month. Of your top 3, I quite like CROWN, but am not a major fan of the other two. Jus2’s FOCUS ON ME, Suran’s Don’t Hang Up and KEY’S I Wanna Be were my top 3 title tracks this month:)
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