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.
September 2020 Overall Thoughts
Back in late winter, my reviews were often besieged with comments stating how I should just stop writing about K-pop because I clearly didn’t like it anymore. My response was always: “like everything, K-pop is cyclical. In a few months, I’ll be raving more often than I’m complaining.” And as predicted, the cycle has changed and we’ve experienced a really solid month of new releases. In fact, this is only the second time on The Bias List that a month has scored an “8” for its cumulative rating. Last time this happened was all the way back in June of 2018.
September was characterized by a steady stream of strong comebacks. But more importantly, it unveiled a few real standouts. The industry’s burgeoning retro trend seems here to stay — at least for the short term — but even the songs that opted for a different sound pulled it off well. We also heard some real left-field choices, which is always a treat when it comes to pop music.
This is all somewhat surprising because September is usually a pretty slow month. This year, the Chuseok holiday happens to fall at the very beginning of October, which means that the industry’s week-long drought of new music is split between the months rather than lodged right in the middle of September. This has resulted in what’s shaping up to be an equally packed October (with a lot of my personal favorites making a comeback!).
My top three songs of September are incredibly strong, with a few awesome honorable mentions (YooA’s Bon Voyage, The Boyz’ The Stealer, SuperM’s One) nipping right at their heels. Some may be surprised by the order of these top three, but I’m pretty confident with my choice. Songs grow or fall throughout the month, and the last chorus of my number one pick has become one of my favorite musical moments of the year.
September also delivered quite a few growers. I continue to underestimate every Treasure single, assuming that I’m not going to eventually fall for its formulaic YG approach. I Love You has really wormed its way into my heart. I’m also pretty high on new group GHOST9, whose great mini album (and amazing, Spielbergian mini-movie!) has made me appreciate title track Think Of Dawn more than I first did.
Comparatively, J-pop didn’t do much for me this month. I picked a top song, but it can’t even compete with many of the honorable mentions from last month.
Month Cumulative Rating: 8.0
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
A.B.C-Z – Game Over!!! (review)
King & Prince – &Love (review)
Kis-My-Ft2 – Endless Summer (review)
Kis-My-Ft2 – Positive Man
Tsubaki Factory – Dansha-ISM
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
Arashi – Whenever You Call (review)
BDC – Shoot The Moon (review)
The Boyz – The Stealer (review)
fromis_9 – Feel Good (Secret Code) (review)
GHOST9 – Think Of Dawn (review)
Mamamoo – Wanna Be Myself (review)
Moonbin & Sanha – Bad Idea (review)
Stray Kids – Back Door (review)
Super Junior-D&E – No Love (review)
SuperM – One (Monster & Infinity) (review)
Treasure – I Love You (review)
UNVS – Sand Castle (review)
VAV – Made For Two (review)
Wonho – Open Mind (review)
Y&W – Thirsty Now (review)
YooA – Bon Voyage (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. A.C.E – Favorite Boys (review)
2. Everglow – La Di Da (review)
1. Taemin – Criminal (review)