Since the start of The Bias List in January 2016, I’ve always looked back at my three favorite title tracks by K-pop artists each month. Now, it’s time to look even further into the past, one month at a time. And, yes, the top three rankings count toward The Bias List’s personal artist scorecard!
Which month do you want to see next?
June 2014 Overall Thoughts
Compared to what would come down the line over the next two months, June of 2014 was relatively subdued. However, it’s notable for delivering the official debut of Mamamoo (though the group had already released a handful of pre-debut tracks) and a few other songs that would go on to rule the digital charts for the entire summer.
Other than that, June was a month dominated by the guys. A certain style of hard-hitting dance-pop was in vogue, resulting in a bunch of boy group title tracks that all tread the same general territory. Luckily, they represent a quintessentially ambitious K-pop sound that doesn’t tire easily. In fact, I’d kill to hear this style make a resurgence now.
I urge you to take a listen to as many of these tracks as you can. Do you notice how there’s hardly a hint of tropical or trap or future bass or deep house to be found? How refreshing. Their absence actually forced these songs to push themselves in interesting directions. From orchestral samples to metal guitar to funky synth, there were ideas at play here — not just regurgitations of trends.
As summer was just about to kick off, June offered a few comebacks directly targeting the season. But, it’s strongest moment was also one of its softest. It’s rare for me to feature a ballad at the top on my monthly recaps, but exceptions must be made for certain songs. This is definitely the case here.
AOA – Short Hair (video)
Boyfriend – Obsession (video)
Cross Gene – Amazing ~Bad Lady~ (video)
Crush – Hug Me (ft. Gaeko) (video)
Halo – Fever (video)
History – Psycho (video)
Mamamoo – Mr. Ambiguous (video)
N-Sonic – Pop Beyond (video)
San E & Raina – A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness (video)
Taeyang – 1AM (video)
Toppdogg – Topdog (review)
ZE:A – Breathe (video)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. GOT7 – A
2. Beast – Good Luck
1. Taeyang – Eyes, Nose, Lips
Ah, Eyes Nose Lips. This one is an all time classic for kpop. Everyone and their brother, and their friend, and their cousin’s friend’s cat, sings this one. The video is great too: sing in front a billboard, then set the billboard on fire. (Although the choice of clothes or lack thereof is interesting.)
3. Taeyang Eyes Nose Lips
2. Mamamoo Mr Ambiguous
1. Zea Breathe
Yes, Zea at the top.
Eyes, Nose, Lips is the closest we have to a modern K-pop standard. A true torch song.
I’m digging these flashback posts. Giving the frequency that you’re putting these out, I can’t take time to properly comment in each one, but I had to take time for this post (June, 2014). I’m not sure if I could clearly answer a “Where we’re you on (insert date)?” for every month in the past decade, but June 2014 was an exception. I know exactly where I was with regard to K-pop.
May 2014 had just blessed me with solo efforts from (what was at that time) 2 of my 3 favorite idols. Hyosung (Secret) had released “Good-night Kiss” and Jiyeon (T-ara) had released “1 Minute 1 Second” and “Marionette”. It was like a second Christmas for me. I swooned.. ..I swayed.. ..I surrendered unconditionally. It was LOVE, dammit!
Then June 2014 arrived and my completely contented mood was open to anything. I don’t remember the order that they dropped, but June gave me these new additions to my library:
– Tahiti “Oppa, You’re Mine”: Agent Coulson is right; Tahiti is magical and this song was one of their betters.
– Bob Girls “No Way”: I really, really, really, really liked this song. It completely deflated me to discover that “No Way” was also the answer to “Will we ever get another great song from Bob Girls?”
– Hyomin (T-ara) “Nice Body”: While I was still in fanboi squee mode from Jiyeon, her sister member presented us with a couple of bouncy ditties! (NOT A TYPO, PERV!)
…and then there’s…
– AOA “Short Hair”: I liked AOA from the start. Their “Elvis” debut made me hunka hunka burning love them and their band alter-ego AOA Black dropped the charming “MOYA” to completely tie me to the railroad tracks. I was a fan. After “Get Out”, they started moving into the sexy concept with “Confused” & “Miniskirt” and while each member can easily start my engine with just a glance, it isn’t the direction I’d envisioned for them. It didn’t matter, however, because they had already imprinted on me so I was along for the ride whichever direction they went.
Then they released “Short Hair”. On the producer side of things, I was already very familiar with Brave Brothers and how polarizing his music was for the industry. Personally, I liked his style because he borrows heavily from periods of western music that I loved. Not everything he wrote was a home run, but I never thought he completely struck out. June was a good month for Dong-cheol as he had two songs dropping (“AOA – Short Hair” & “Hyomin – Nice Body”).
“Short Hair” instantly clicked with me. However, “instantly clicked” is actually sort of rare for me. No matter how much I like a group, every new release usually takes a few listens to get cemented as a “fave”. Very few songs enter my top tier during a first listen. Some of the others that have accomplished this are “KARA – Pandora”, “SISTAR – Give It To Me”, “STELLAR – Vibrato” and more recently “Red Velvet – Sappy” and “TWICE – Breakthrough”. There are others, but you get the idea. “Short Hair” is still in my play lists.
So.. ..yeah. June 2014 was a good month for me.