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.
August 2019 Overall Thoughts
I was certain that August was an improvement over July, but after adding up all the month’s reviews it ended up with the same cumulative score. Even so, I do think it was slightly stronger, and that’s thanks to a couple of factors.
First, August had a few standout tracks that actually felt like standouts. Second, it was the month of KCON, which always re-ignites my excitement for K-pop. My top three picks of August are all quite good. I would’ve never predicted two of them prior to their release, but 2019 has been all about finding good music in unexpected places. Unfortunately, all three of these tracks were released within a four-day period at the beginning of the month, leaving little excitement for the rest of August.
My other issue with these top three tracks is that they don’t have exciting albums structured around them. One’s a digital single, one’s a repackage track and one’s part of a barely-there single album. It’s been too long since K-pop has given us full or mini albums worth getting excited about. I hate to see the industry move towards digital singles. Without the context a good album gives it, a song loses some of its power.
When it comes to my battalion of favorite “bright” boy groups, August seemed to be cursed. ONF lost one of their most well-known members just after announcing a (presumably still-scheduled) comeback, TXT’s new album was delayed (twice), and new music from Golden Child is as elusive as ever (ten months and counting… now the longest hiatus for any Woollim rookie group). It’s frustrating, because there are a lot of new-gen K-pop acts that I love, but none seem to be releasing much music this year. It makes it hard to enjoy anything else when you’re constantly waiting for the release of some key comebacks, only to be given bad (or no) news over and over again.
So, although August gave us a few key standouts (I really do love my top three), it was the finale of a truly underwhelming summer. To put it into perspective, this June-August has become the first sustained stretch of 7.5-or-lower months since 2016 — and I was much tougher in my ratings back then. I’m not ready to give up on you, 2019, but you better have one hell of a final quarter prepared because things are looking pretty grim right now. And with the Chuseok holiday right around the corner, these next two weeks of releases are going to be unusually barren.
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.5
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
The Boyz – D.D.D (review)
Greyish – Kkili Kkili (review)
IN2IT – Run Away (review)
IZ – Final Kiss (review)
JBJ95 – Spark (review)
Red Velvet – Umpah Umpah (review)
The Rose – Red (review)
Sunmi – Lalalay (review)
UP10TION – Your Gravity (review)
X1 – Flash (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. Weki Meki – Tiki-Taka (99%) (review)
2. Seventeen – Hit (review)
1. TRCNG – Missing (review)