Feature

Top Three K-Pop Songs of April 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.


April 2019 Overall Thoughts

After a March that included some of my favorite songs of the year so far, April was supremely underwhelming.

For too many weeks, the K-pop release schedule was stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of seasonal mid-tempos and dreary ballads, punctured every so often by a big-name release that scared away all the competition. Without many notable comebacks to talk about, April felt way too empty.

This is traditionally the month packed with Spring-focused, coffeehouse fare, and that was definitely the case this year. It feels like we’re starting to get way too many placeholder singles — digital releases that come and go without promotion. More often than not, they’re ballads, and all they’re really doing is diluting an artist’s discography. Honestly, I’d rather an agency put all their resources toward the best comebacks that they can, rather than deliver “special” singles that don’t go anywhere.

Luckily, some of April’s aforementioned big releases actually delivered. I’m starting to notice a trend of more upbeat and energetic boy group tracks, and I really hope this continues to grow as we get closer to summer. I also want to mention JYP Entertainment, who has absolutely dominated the year so far. As far as I’m concerned, they haven’t made a single misstep yet.

Meanwhile, SM continues to squander their roster, wasting four months without a notable Korean release from any of their groups. In all the years I’ve been following K-pop, 2019 has felt like SM’s most uneventful, unexciting year — at least so far. They’re clearly in a transitional era, but they need to make some big moves before others pass them by. As far as YG goes… they’re a mess. But, they’re always a mess.

The act that took my number one spot for April hasn’t topped my monthly charts since 2016. I’m delighted (and honestly surprised) to see them back. I’m equally surprised by my second place pick, but definitely not in a bad way. My third place will be no surprise to long-time followers of The Bias List, though I imagine many casual readers may take one look at them and respond with a resounding: “who?”

Month Cumulative Rating: 7.5

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


J-Pop Worth Your Time

Astro – Hanasake Mirai (review)

Kis-My-Ft2 – Hug & Walk (review hopefully coming soon)

Honorable Mentions

The Boyz – Bloom Bloom (review)

Great Guys – Dang! (review)

IZ*ONE – Violeta (review)

Minhyun (Nu’est) – Universe (review)

NewKidd – Tu Eres (review)

TXT – Cat & Dog (review)

VERIVERY – From Now (review)


TOP THREE SONGS

3. Target – Beautiful (review)

2. Twice – Fancy (review)

1. BTS – Boy With Luv (ft. Halsey) (review)


Top Three K-Pop Songs Of March 2019

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

2016-2019 Archive Here

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15 thoughts on “Top Three K-Pop Songs of April 2019

  1. So BTS won you over in the end. I’m glad! Boy With Luv kind of flew over my head this month in the sense that I have nothing bad to say but no desire to listen to it, either, so here’s hoping it sticks around and I fall in love with it soon. Knowing BTS, it certainly could happen!

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    • Boy With Luv was my undisputed number one of the month (though it wasn’t a very strong month, to be honest) and my favorite BTS title track since at least early 2017. Funny enough, it was written by much of the same team who composed my number one track of last month… TXT’s Crown. I hope Big Hit sticks with these writers.

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  2. I can’t help but feel that this year has been kind of slow? I guess I just haven’t been as invested, I don’t know. I think my top 3 might… be the SAME THREE SONGS AS YOURS??!!!! That’s never happened. Granted I would say BTS is third, Twice is second, and Target is first, unless I forgot a song. Honestly, both BTS and Twice weren’t instant hits, but “Boy With Luv” is nice and refreshing enough that I can forgive it for not being the lost HYYH track I’ve been waiting for since 2015. As with all Twice, I was humming “Fancy” after a couple of days (should I have even doubted??). And I don’t really have anything but good things to say about Target. Sure it’s Sweetune mid-tempo pop #197294 but we don’t actually get that very often in 2019, so I’m all over the rich vocals and counterpoint melody in the chorus. Is it basically Golden Child’s “Lady” and 100%’s “Sketch U” in a blender? Yeah, but there’s enough Knock Knock style descending harmony to make it pop.

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    • Yay, we matched! It was bound to happen some day.

      I agree that this year has been slow so far. Not necessarily horrible, but definitely lacking impact. I’m liking the way that some trends seem to be going, but some of my favorite K-pop agencies seem to have fallen asleep at the wheel. Where is SM? Woollim?

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      • Honestly, where are my Oh My Girl and Lovelyz comebacks? @SME, where are the not-ballads?? I feel like the trends of this year have predictably (and finally) steered away from the seemingly never-ending tropical house barrage, but that hasn’t necessarily resulted in many extremely engaging songs. In theory I should be all for the “Momoland Bboom Bboom” sound, but I can’t get over the fact that Shinsadong Tiger also graced us with T-ara’s discography, which in the end rather be listening to. I like the idea of deliberate 2010 retreads, but it’s no good if they don’t live up to the excellent songwriting of the originals. That said, the great songs of this year have been absolutely great. It’s just that I can count them on one hand.

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        • Completely agree. I suspect our “absolutely great” list may differ slightly, but I too can count them on one hand. I’ve been especially stingy with my 9+ ratings this year (both in title tracks and b-sides), and there’s definitely a reason for that.

          I feel like I’ve said this for the past few years, but at the risk of sounding repetitive I really think that 2019 is a transitional year. Not only do we have a veritable army of new groups debuting, but the musical trends seem to be in flux, battling it out for prominence. Once this all sorts itself out, I hope we’ll be in a stronger space.

          But yeah, there’s absolutely no excuse for the months-long SM ballad-fest. At least you’re getting your Oh My Girl comeback next week! I’m still waiting for my Golden Child one (and no, Spring Again doesn’t count…)

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  3. Haha Boy With Luv has been the best BTS title track since the start of Love Yourself era (Spring Day has a special place in my heart, and tbh their 2016 title tracks were just incredible, but LY wasn’t great as far as title tracks go) and I really liked FANCY as well. I usually like slower “coffee-house” music, but I was very underwhelmed this month. Some really great albums from HEIZE and SURAN, but otherwise a lot of the ballads were very sort of typical, I’ve-heard-this-before affairs.

    And what is SM doing? Really…

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  4. Not a bad list, given the month’s material to work with. I mean, I only bought 10 kpop songs last month total, and 4 of those were the N.Flying mini album.

    I would add to the following honorable mentions:

    Minhyun “Universe” – pleasant midtempo edm, but with an interesting chunky bass sound, and the vocal is well done too.

    N.Flying “Flowerwork” – I really appreciate it when N.Flying get more experimental and indie garage band like. This one – well done reggae beat kpop. It should have been the lead single. They have showcased their talent in how to arrange a song here. Speaking of which, everyone should see N.Flying Queen medley. Every garage band on the planet has covered queen, N.Flying actually do it well all the way around (esp vocals) with creative arrangements. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii_fg9WLM2E

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    • Further evidence of N.Flying arranging abilities:

      The entire medley stays with the same bpm and the BTS whistle loop in the back, and then effortlessly drops and changes the beat with each song.

      I mean, Likey in reggae beat! Sure!

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  5. Pingback: Top Three K-Pop Songs of May 2019 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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