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.
July 2020 Overall Thoughts
For the first time in months, I feel pretty good about where K-pop is at the moment. I may simply be basking in the afterglow of gushing about my favorite all-time songs over the past few weeks, but July really did deliver some great music. I don’t think there were any knock-your-socks-off standouts, but I liked almost everything – at least to some degree.
Unlike the past couple of years, this July offered a ton of new summer-themed comebacks. From SSAK3 to TOO, Jeong Sewoon to SF9, and Yukika to April to Chungha to Dongkiz, my “summer to remember” wish from earlier in the year has pretty much come true. Now, I don’t think any of these songs live up to past classics of the season. But, taken together they formed a very refreshing slate of releases.
Speaking of releases, July had a lot of them. The month was stuffed with new music, and a lot of it shared one commonality: K-pop’s burgeoning retro trend.
Given what’s happening in the global music industry, this trend wasn’t unexpected. But, this July it felt as if a switch had been flipped and “retro” was suddenly in. I think it’s going to take awhile for trap music to fully retreat, but for the first time in 2020 I’m confident that we’re seeing an influx of new sounds. Don’t let me down, K-pop.
In a month with plenty of big-name releases, my top three picks will probably look a little shocking. Unless you follow my twitter account, number three will be particularly baffling. Let’s just say this gawky little song has grown on me, big time. I find it extremely charming.
There are quite a few honorable mentions this month, and I want to spotlight some of them. SF9, Jeong Sewoon, SSAK3 and Yukika just missed my top three, each with songs that I’ve played often and enjoy very much. Dongkiz and VERIVERY’s songs grew on me throughout July, with VERIVERY’s Thunder leaping from a “6” rating all the way up to honorable mention! It’s still not the style I want to hear the group pursue, but the song has a surprising bit of funk once you sit with it awhile.
Though it’s not K-pop, I also want to give special spotlight to Wu Jiacheng’s Wild Island, which may end up becoming my personal 2020 song of summer. And as I begin to write about more J-pop on The Bias List, I’m going to add a expanded section to these round-ups, intended to spotlight my favorite J-pop single of the month. Enjoy!
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.7
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Wu Jiacheng – Wild Island (review)
Arashi – Kite (review)
Deep Squad – Get With You (review)
Kalen Anzai – Bokura wa Tsuyoku Nareru (review)
Sekai No Owari – Umbrella (review)
SixTONES – Navigator (review)
Sky-Hi – Sky’s The Limit (review)
Tomohisa Yamashita – Nights Cold (review)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
Official HIGE DANdism – Laughter (review)
April – Now Or Never (review)
ATEEZ – Inception (review)
Chungha – Play (ft. Changmo (review)
Dongkiz I:KAN – Y.O.U (review)
EXO-SC – 1 Billion Views (ft. Moon) (review)
GFriend – Apple (review)
Great Guys – Run (review)
Jeong Sewoon – Say Yes (review)
Lee Hi – Holo (review)
The Midnight Romance – Midnight Romance (review)
Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi – Naughty (review)
SF9 – Summer Breeze (review)
SSAK3 – Beach Again (review)
Stray Kids – Hello Stranger (review)
VERIVERY – Thunder (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. Boyhood – Retro Love (review)
2. TOO – Count 1, 2 (review)
1. 1THE9 – Bad Guy (review)