Looking back at this feature from 2019, it seems like I identified quite a few risers and few fallers last year. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for 2020. Most title tracks — even the ones I loved — just haven’t enjoyed the same staying power. I’m not quite sure why this is. Maybe it has something to do with the market being over-saturated. Comebacks are so frequent now that new songs tend to quickly push out old songs. Or, maybe it’s just a reflection of which genre influences K-pop is drawing from at this moment.
Either way, I’ve got less risers this year, each with more modest gains. And, none has bloomed into the kind of highlight that might find its way into the top tier of my eventual end-of-year list. My “fallers” list is about the same as last year, with a couple of real unfortunate drops from groups I like quite a bit.
Below, you’ll find eleven tracks, each with a newly-evolved rating to go along with its climb or descent. Make sure to leave your own “risers” and “fallers” in the comments section!
Bang Yedam – WAYO (review)
Old Rating: 8 –> New Rating: 8.5
YG ballads have a long history of being slow growers for me, and WAYO has been no different. Though I don’t often seek it out, each time it plays I realize how much I like it.
CRAXY – Aria (review)
Old Rating: 8.75 –> New Rating: 9
A 0.25 increase in rating may seem like small stuff, but the difference between an “8” and a “9” is everything for me. This is still one of my favorite debuts of the year.
MCND – Ice Age (review)
Old Rating: 7.5 –> New Rating: 8.5
Ice Age is probably my biggest riser from the first half of 2020, and much of that has to do with the energy of its performance. Admittedly, I haven’t listened to it much during the past two months, but there was a time when it was on heavy rotation.
Moon Jongup – Headache (review)
Old Rating: 7.25 –> New Rating: 8.25
I must have been in a bad mood when I reviewed this (it happens…) because Headache’s bright, funk-inspired sound is practically tailored to me. I don’t know what I was thinking rating it so low. I’m gonna blame it on Yunhway’s irritating rap, which I still don’t like.
ONEWE – End Of Spring (review)
Old Rating: 8.25 –> New Rating: 8.75
I think I found End of Spring too simplistic at first, but the power of Yonghoon’s vocal ended up giving the track greater staying power than I’d expected. Plus, it’s just nice to hear something this upbeat from a boy group.
Stray Kids – God’s Menu (review)
Old Rating: 8 –> New Rating: 8.5
I will continue to complain that there were much better singles to be mined from Stray Kids’ album, but God’s Menu’s weird novelty has grown on me since its release — even if just a little bit.
(G)I-DLE – Oh My God (review)
Old Rating: 7 –> New Rating: 5.5
I didn’t like Oh My God much when it was released, but it’s gone on to be one of my least favorite tracks of the year. I find its chorus obnoxious and unlistenable. Honestly, I fast forward through it whenever it’s performed on a music show.
The Boyz – Reveal (review)
Old Rating: 7.25 –> New Rating: 6.75
I regret scoring Pentagon’s Dr. BeBe lower than this when both songs were released, because Reveal is infinitely more generic. I find almost everything about it irritating, making it by far the worst single The Boyz have released.
Dongkiz – All I Need Is You (review)
Old Rating: 8.75 –> New Rating: 8.25
I still like this song quite a bit, but I don’t know that I’d include it in the top three songs of January. However, January wasn’t a very strong month so it’s not like there was much else to choose from!
Super Junior – 2YA2YAO! (review)
Old Rating: 8.25 –> New Rating: 7.5
Yeah… this didn’t end up working as well for me as I initially thought it did. I have a great fondness for Super Junior, but they need to stay far away from trap-influenced hip-hop.
TXT – Can’t You See Me? (review)
Old Rating: 7.75 –> New Rating: 7
TXT have easily been my biggest disappointment of 2020, with Can’t You See Me leading the pack. I gave it the benefit of the doubt at first, but I find this song clunky, cloying and not something I want to listen to — especially from a group I love so much.
What about you? Any 2020 tracks surprise you after you got to know them a bit more closely?