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)
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of August 2020
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of July 2020
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of June 2020
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of May 2020
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of April 2020
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of March 2020
Still really loving “La Di Da”. It’s my favorite EVERGLOW title track. Paired with my favorite B-side from them (“Untouchable”) this makes “-77.82X-78.29” my fave EP/album from EVERGLOW.
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Nick I am surprised to see that you think September is a slow month. because Step was just outside of your Top 10. Paradise was 10th. Crooked , Catch Me and Rising Sun are all in your Top 5.
I agree with your Top 3 but our orders are different.
3. Everglow – La Di Da – This is synthwave at its best! I absolutely love this song , It’s fast – paced and that synth breakdown is my favorite moment in the whole song!
2. Taemin – Criminal – It’s an awesome comeback to me! Taemin makes a comeback with the dark and funky criminal and an even bigger surprise to me was that instrumental! The ending is perfect.
1. A.C.E – Goblin – I love a good massive showstopper and A.C.E’s Goblin is that showstopper for sure. It’s a mix of all kinds of awesome! Upping the theatricality to make an awesome incantation and hook. It’s 2020’s Miroh! and We normally don’t see Mirohs do we.
Prediction for October , Top 3:
3. TXT or Seventeen (Bighit don’t let me down!)
2. NCT 2020 (either one of the two tracks)
1. Golden Child (Judging from the teasers , they’re already getting a spot on the Top )
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What an incredibly strong Top 3!
I liked a lot of songs this month, and liked+ a few more, but in the end
1) ACE Goblin
because its play count >>> everything else. The finger on the replay button does not lie when it comes to what I must have really really liked.
Honorable mention to Gaho “Wish” for OST of the month.
Also honorable mention to Seven O’clock “Hey There” which technically came out late August, and was never reviewed here, but is actually hey pretty good. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ant-0jFyOxA
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This September was crazy! So many hits and hits caused the month to go by in a flash. Just looking at the honourable mentions got me in my feels. It was so nice to see so many acts at their best. And event the acts which underperformed (Treasure) had songs which I really ended up liking!
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Criminal really feels like the correct #1, it’s Taemin at his peak.
I would probably have La Di Da > Favorite Boys but not a strong third placer.
I really wish I liked Taemin’s music more, but 1) I’m inherently biased against soloists 2) as usual, this feels a little too slick for my liking 3) I can’t help but hear Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” in that one. So while I do like the song enough, I’m just not nearly enthusiastic about it as I am about the other two, or the rest of the people seem to be.
I guess I’d throw in CLC’s Helicopter as my 3rd. I liked Helicopter a bit but it’s only grown on me.
Part is my bias for CLC, but that bridge with everyone just going “ooh” is so powerful.
Might be my lone favorite musical moment this month, and there were plenty of good ones.
3. CLC – Helicopter
2. A.C.E – Goblin (Favorite Boys)
1. Everglow – La Di Da
Should mention Mamamoo’s “Wanna Be Myself” as a really strong 4th placer, and my favorite Mamamoo single since Decalcomanie.
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exactly the same here!
This was the A.C.E’s month for me and not even my ultimate Taemin could top the perfection that is Goblin.
Overall, this month was pretty much PHENOMENAL when compared to the rest of 2020. Here’s to hoping that this trend continues and we’ll be blessed with many great comebacks in the coming months.
My September top 3 are the same but in a different order.
3)La Di Da- Everglow
1)Favorite Boys- A.C.E
Admittedly neither Criminal nor La Di Da amazed me upon first listen but my love for both has skyrocketed since. Clearly, I must have had water in my ear or something the first time because they are both solid gold. Overall, the top three are so good you could place them in any order and still have a winning set, but A.C.E wins my first pick. A.C.E delivered the firing on all cylinder’s showstopper I knew they could, and I have adored every thrilling second of their comeback.
September has easily been the best month yet, I think even my least favorite release this month still managed to grow on me at least a little bit.
October looks primed to be at least equally amazing, if not better. As a massive NCT fan, the sheer prospect of what NCT 2020 could bring is downright exhilarating. And the Golden Child teasers…the teasers, if its half as good as it already seems like it might be it would still be five times better than 98% of the songs released this year. Please, oh please kpop gods make it so!
A.C.E wins for me, nothing has come close to it recently.
But I loved VAV more and more with each listen and has become my number 2 of the month.
The sheer amount of quality this month >
So many of us are seriously stanning ACE this month!
I just watched this from the DKDK guys, and it is very helpful to understand the “goblin” cultural background for the song. It made me appreciate the song even more.
10/10 for putting ACE up in your Top 3! I’ve listened to the others and LA DI DA by Everglow was on constant repeat for me (watching the MV is an experience). I appreciated Criminal since it’s Taemin, but it didn’t catch me as much as the other 2.
Just made the mistake of checking June 2018’s list for reference — back to my early ONF phase, I suppose! I’d JUST broken free of that 😉
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