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 2020 Overall Thoughts
After a fantastic September, October was another strong month. And, it was also a packed one. Most of the highlights were squeezed into the beginning and end of the month, which resulted in a somewhat lopsided release slate. But by and large, October gave us more treats than tricks.
“Lopsided” has been a trend in 2020. At this rate, I feel like my year-end countdown will be heavily weighted toward June-November releases, which is actually pretty unusual for me. Musically, synthpop continued to dominate the month, which plays right into my taste. I’m hoping that K-pop will eventually move on from straight-up 80’s pastiches and incorporate the sounds in more daring ways, but for now I’m very much on board the retro train.
My top three of the month are super strong, with an obvious number one and a razor thin margin between numbers two and three (they were basically tied). And, there was actually quite a bit of competition for these slots. Great releases from TXT, BLACKPINK and The Midnight Romance are likely to appear in my year-end list. Some might even place quite high. There were also a couple not-quite-title-tracks (GHOST9, NCT U, ATEEZ… maybe Cravity) that will be relegated to the b-sides list even though they appear on this round-up.
October was also a strong month for debuts. Boy groups DRIPPIN and P1Harmony both impressed me, and the rebranded Blackswan and solo debut of Lee Suhyun were also definite highlights (particularly the latter). Albums were strong, too. TXT and DRIPPIN released fantastic minis. Twice delivered a solid full album and NCT’s ambitious 23-member project had its highlights as well.
What’s most notable about this month’s round-up is the absence of one group: B1A4. They are among my absolute favorite K-pop acts, but their new single and album kind of fizzled for me. That’s a shame, but at least it’s nice to have them back.
Looking forward, there are a few things that get me excited about November. We’ve got the long-awaited debut of SM’s new girl group, the conclusion to Taemin’s Never Gonna Dance Again series, big name comebacks (BTS, GFriend, Kim Junsu) and a couple of potentially-exciting debuts (ENHYPEN, StayC, BAE173).
And… maybe even a comeback from Sungkyu? Woollim, are you listening?
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.9
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Nu’est – Drive (review)
Stray Kids – All In (review)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
Fantastics – High Fever (review)
ATEEZ – The Black Cat Nero (review)
BLACKPINK – Lovesick Girls (review)
Blackswan – Tonight (review)
Cravity – Ohh Ahh (review)
Dawn – Dawndididawn (ft. Jessi) (review)
GHOST9 – Reborn (review)
JBJ95 – Jasmin (review)
Lee Suhyun – Alien (review)
LOONA – Why Not? (review)
The Midnight Romance – Nightmare (review)
P1Harmony – Siren (review)
Seventeen – Home;Run (review)
TXT – Blue Hour (review)
Weki Meki – Cool (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. DRIPPIN – Nostalgia (review)
2. Twice – I Can’t Stop Me (review)
1. Golden Child – Pump It Up (review)