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.
October 2019 Overall Thoughts
Well, friends, we have finally climbed out of the murk! October was like a K-pop dam bursting after months of trickles. It was packed. It was exciting. It was not quite perfect, but at least it felt like things were moving again.
Unfortunately, some of this movement was not the kind us K-pop fans like to see. This was an alarming month for certain boy groups, with members of The Boyz, Stray Kids and Monsta X all leaving their respective groups within days of each other. These are all acts that are either at the top of their game or quickly getting there, so to have all of this news break in such quick succession felt overwhelming and ominous. And then, of course, there was the incredibly tragic passing of f(x)’s Sulli earlier in the month. K-pop was hurting this October. Idols are too, and that’s a hard thing to reconcile with the flashy, fun performances they supply on the regular.
Speaking of flashy performances… there were a lot of them this month. In contrast to September, my honorable mentions list is absolutely stuffed. So many of these tracks could have taken a “top three” spot in many of the year’s weaker months, making the competition very tough. My top two picks are nearly tied. They kept moving back and forth between the number one and two spots, but I ended up giving the edge to the track that felt more ambitious.
My number three pick will likely surprise most readers. It’s the definition of a grower. I liked it the first time I heard it, but it had unexpected staying power throughout the month, pulling me back with its insistent supply of hooks. Following very closely behind are SuperM’s Jopping and Youngjae’s Forever Love, both of which I adore in all of their over-the-top, bombastic glory.
Perhaps even more exciting than October’s slate of singles was the return of the K-pop full-length album. Up to this point, 2019 was surprisingly short on substantive albums, but this month delivered so much material. Unless I’m counting wrong, there were at least eight full albums released by idol groups/artists in October (nine if you add TVXQ’s Japanese work). Some of my favorite songs this month emerged as b-sides and album tracks, bolstering my playlist and proving the importance of releases that go beyond one or two tracks.
2019 is starting to wrap up, and it feels like when I look back at the year with a more macro lens than these monthly round-ups tend to offer, I’m going to realize that it’s been stronger than I felt it was in the moment — at least musically. We’ll see what November has in store for us, and then it’s on to the annual end-of-year countdowns!
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.7
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
J-Pop (and C-Pop) Worth Your Time
Hey! Say! JUMP – The Beast & The Rose
Sexy Zone – Child / Honey Honey
TVXQ – Hot Sauce (review)
Twice – Fake & True (review)
WayV (NCT) – Moonwalk (review)
Jung Daehyun (B.A.P) – Aight (review)
Lim Hyunsik (BTOB) – Dear Love (review)
Limesoda – Wave (review)
Monsta X – Follow (review)
Nu’est – Love Me (review)
ONF – Why (review)
Stray Kids – Double Knot (review)
SuperM – Jopping (review)
Taeyeon – Spark (review)
Youngjae (B.A.P) – Forever Love (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. AB6IX – Blind For Love (review)
2. TXT – Run Away (review)
1. ATEEZ – Wonderland (review)