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K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2021

After taking a look back at 2020’s resolutions, it’s time to tackle 2021. At this point, I’m just happy that we’re turning the page on this awful year, so it feels a little presumptuous to ask for anything specific in 2021.

But, this is a long-time Bias List tradition, so I present my ten most fervent wishes for the coming year. Above all else, I hope that everyone is safe and happy and fueled by incredible music.


1. A return to live, in-person events

This one’s kind of obvious, and if I was just stating resolutions in general, it would be for this pandemic to end, people to be healthy and anxiety to lower.

But given that this is a K-pop resolution, I’ll focus on what will happen after we can get the pandemic under control. I hope that 2021 sees idol groups able to perform in-person again. I hope weekly music shows will have an audience once more (and maybe even take more advantage of their “live audience” appeal). And although I’ll be a little surprised if it happens, I will be absolutely delighted if KCON can be held at the end of the summer. I really missed my annual pilgrimage this year.


2. A continuation of 2020’s “retro” trend

I’m loving K-pop’s current retro trend, and I hope it sticks around as long as past trends have. With my luck, it’ll be the one sound that fizzles out early. I certainly hope not, because I think there’s so much more to explore. These influences haven’t even made it into many boy group tracks yet, and they really need to. I’d be okay if 2021 is the year of retro synth-pop.


3. A calming-down of K-pop “stans”

There’s a real toxicity within certain circles of K-pop fandom, and it seemed to get worse this year. Or maybe, this was the year where I experienced more of it due to The Bias List’s rise in prominence. I’m pretty sick of the negativity and the downright meanness of some K-pop fans, and it’s actually soured my opinion of entire fandoms. I hate that that’s happened, and I hope we can all be a little more empathetic in the new year.

And while we’re at it, can I just wave my magic wand and prevent any K-pop related topic from trending on Twitter? I miss the days when K-pop was rarely mentioned in “stan twitter” circles. Seeing all these lame K-pop hashtags trend day in and day out cheapens the whole experience, in my opinion.


4. An influx of interesting new voices in K-pop production

As many of K-pop’s past mega-producers seem to be fading from the industry (looking at you, Sweetune…), I hope that a new generation of interesting voices springs up. Compared to years past, there are way more individual composers involved in K-pop. And, that’s a good thing. But, it’s hard to find those distinct creators that stand out and have a style all their own.

I hope that 2021 gives us some new mega-producers – the kind who instantly get me excited just by seeing their name on the credits of a track.


5. A rebound for 2019’s most-promising rookies

2019’s slate of rookie groups was quite strong, and they all had at least one 2020 track that stood out. But even so, the output from groups like TXT, ITZY, VERIVERY, AB6IX, ONEUS, and even ATEEZ (though they’re a late-2018 debut) felt much more hit-or-miss to me this year. I think I set expectations too high, but I hope that all these groups have a major creative rebound in 2020 and play to the strengths that made them such a force in the first place.


6. Girl groups: stop trying to be ITZY

During the first half of 2020, it seemed like every girl group was trying to replicate ITZY’s immense 2019 success with a girl crush sound. This resulted in so many acts blending into one another. And despite all the effort, nobody harnessed this style as well as Dalla Dalla or Icy.

As I often advise, groups are so much better off finding their own sound and sticking to it, rather than chasing someone else’s success.


7. Boy groups: ditch the dark colors and have some fun

This is pretty much a holdover from last year, but it needs to be said once more. Too many boy group comebacks still try too hard to be moody or deep, when they’d be better off throwing caution to the wind and just having a good time. I’m not saying they should all be prancing around in overalls doing aegyo, but I’d welcome a slick, propulsive sci-fi dance track without layers of lore and badass posturing.


8. Picking the best song as a title track (maybe a return to double title tracks?)

More often these days, it feels like b-sides are stronger than the actual title track. Idol group title tracks have become somewhat cookie-cutter, and it often seems like, instead of promoting the strongest song, agencies choose to promote one that illustrates a specific concept or choreo. I think this is the opposite of what pop music should do. I’d rather see agencies pick the best song and build the concept/choreo around that. But if they must have their lore, maybe more groups should promote double title tracks? That way you get the best of both worlds.


9. A more cohesive energy within K-pop title tracks

This has been a longtime gripe of mine, and continued in 2020. K-pop has developed a fascination with constant seesawing of energy and structure within its title tracks. Whether that’s in the form of a breakdown (usually after the first chorus) or a long, mopey verse, too many tracks have standout moments that are undercut by a sudden drop in energy or switch in tempo. There are ways to make a song sound dynamic without giving the listener whiplash, and I’d like to see composers experiment a bit more.


10. Comebacks from Infinite, SHINee, Bigbang and TVXQ

In a way, these groups are my four pillars of K-pop, and they’re all way overdue for a Korean comeback. I’d like to see SHINee return first before Taemin has to enlist, followed by Bigbang and TVXQ. Then, when Woohyun and Sungjong are discharged, I’d love to hear new material from Infinite before the end of the year (though it’s probably more likely in early-2022). Make it happen, K-pop! (And make the comebacks good, while you’re at it…)


Now it’s your turn! What are your K-Pop Resolutions for 2021?

56 thoughts on “K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2021

  1. I agree with everything! Especially with Number 10!

    Now, I am about descend on this comment land, everyone in this comment section will be like “Holy the shit broth’r! thee didn’t has’t to wend yond far”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My one resolution is for BigHit to stop deep frying their artists’ voices to the seventh plane of reality. It’s probably not going to happen, but I thought I’d put it out there.

    Liked by 9 people

  3. Wow, I agree with all of these! 2021 would be amazing if all of these came true. I’ll be having an early night tonight, it’s 6.10pm here in the UK so Happy New Year to you Nick, and all the Bias List readers and commenters 🎊

    Like

  4. 1. I want to see a resurgence in the Theatrical tracks of K-pop:
    I want more dramatic tracks! MORE! give me some of that Symphonic bombast which categorized MAMA Performances. ONF and ATEEZ are chief contenders. Do something adventurous with your sound.

    2. Peaks! Peaks! and Peaks!
    We all need some peaks, don’t we? And that is why , in coming to 2021 I am asking for different groups to deliver their unbeatables. I am talking groups such as ONF , GFriend , Golden Child , Seventeen. To channel their full potential and release a song which stands out from the crowd.

    3. be The Setters , Not the followers.
    This is the problem, Companies don’t really care about the music, They just care about money which come to them. And that has been showcased on how YG and SM have been acting up. Stop delving into trends , MAKE THEM!

    4. Golden Child…
    Golden Child are my favorite group, as you all know by how much I force-feed them onto your throats. I love when they go high-hooky but I am afraid if that will work for a long run. I think they should start taking inspiration from either Jpop or their amazing B-sides.

    5. Resurgence of Sweetune and Yoo Young Jin
    Sweetune and Yoo Young Jin have been in the MIA for too long now, descend your holiness onto the land already! Yoo Young Jin has been active… but where is his signature style? And I desperately want more Sweetune! You can never go wrong with Sweetune!

    I just want a rebound of creativity, think of something new! Or do techno! or Psy trance! Just do something creative!

    6. Incorporate the retro sound in daring ways.
    Have Sweetune first. Then…maybe…

    7. Give Sweetune to do something
    Have Sweetune first. Then…maybe…

    8. Write good melodies!
    I am desperate for some amazing melodies, take a look at Jpop, Their melodies have made me so emotional and knocked me off my feet so many times. Use your choruses to maximum effect.

    9. Have dynamic Production.
    No more lurching trap beats. Launch into something better , Maybe Rhythm Guitar , Rock? Psy Trance? Stretch the sounds to new directions.

    10. Have a signature sound
    Stretch the sounds to new directions. Is my motto. Go to the second generation and see for yourself.

    INFINITE
    Bigbang
    SHINee
    B1A4
    Kara
    F(x)
    Nine Muses
    EXO
    Super Junior
    TVXQ

    All of these groups have a sound which represent THEM. And If the new wave of groups can channel that sound and churn out material, we can have an amazing era.
    Onf felt like they were following the trend of swagger trop pop with I’m a stupid swimming but look at New World! That song is soaring.

    ATEEZ came back with the moody Inception but look at the rip your roof Answer. Stop trying to be like others. Build a sound to yourself.

    Also, Woollim should reduce the work with BLSSD and go for more….. sound which categorize them. Like TENTEN , 1take and TAK and SWEETUNE.

    Also , One of mine would Be number 9 of your list Nick.

    Now It’s time to make the second thread!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I genuinely think none of them can happen… Except for the golden child one , they never disappoint.

        Also!

        I want to experience Chaser’s euphoria once again , So I am doing a challenge of going one year without listening to the Chaser even once. So At the start of 2022 I can experience Euphoria!

        I’ll also do it for a few other tracks but I am mainly doing it for The Chaser.

        Like

        • I’m a chronic overlistener (my top track this year only had 40 or so plays, but I tire of things quickly) to the point that, to combat what is an inevitability, I actually don’t have The Chaser saved on Spotify. No playlists, not in my likes, nothing. So far it’s worked okay!

          That said, it mostly just means I’ve pushed my listening onto other songs. It’s the little victories, right?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Oh pshaw. Its not like eating or drinking too much. There is really no such thing anymore called wearing out a song, as there is no physical entity to wear out. Just play it. And replay it. And replay it. and and and

          Like

          • Interestingly, you can ‘wear out’ a memory – listening to a song too much can actually overwrite and sour your first memory of it. I won’t get into the cognitive psychology around this but it is unfortunate in a way. Should that stop you from replaying it twenty times an hour? That’s entirely up to you. Personally, I shall not be stopped from blasting my new favourite song until I hate it! Never.

            Liked by 1 person

              • I’ll be glad to! Actually, my most recent blast-all-day song was Pump It Up – the repeated listens have made me love it less. I do love Lady, but it’s not really a play-all-day kinda song for me.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Golden Child have always made me happy, when others do the same thing , it just comes off as cloying. But Golden Child have always did with such conviction, that It lifts my mood every time!

                  I Love U Crazy , DamDaDi , Let Me , OMG , Pump It Up are the holy 5 songs of serotonin!

                  All hail the Golden Child!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I’m adding Genie because it’s my comfort song – agree with all of this though. Golcha have my heart TT Their songs and MVs are my source of serotonin!

                    Like

    • These are all good. 3 and 10 would be fantastic.

      I really want to have more 9 dynamic production, but in reality if one has 8 better melodies and simplifying it to “better songcraft”, then one does not actually need 9. I think songwriters drop into 9 when they run out of good ideas for 8.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your number 8 really resonates with me. I am missing some good melody- something that Baka Mitai (of all songs) reminded me of. I don’t know if songs actually had less melody this year but I do FEEL that way. There’s a lot of sing-talking, shouting and rapping. I want another rousing chorus like Golcha’s Lady.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Lady”‘s chorus reminds me so much of “Janus” any other person got that?

        Also, One of the best melodies I’d recommend is Astro’s perfect b-side Lonely, Old Nick rated it a 10 in hooks and I hope Golden Child do a melody as perfect as that in their new song or Astro do something like that!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. 11. Other girlgroup performing incredible powerful innocence that SNSD and GFRIEND started and established respectively.

    12. Full-fledged vocal-chorus title tracks for every group please.

    13. The return of Cheng Xiao, XuanYi, and MeiQi in WJSN.

    14. The return of HaSeul in LOONA.

    15. Comebacks of Red Velvet both in red and velvet concepts.

    16. More variety of concepts (both songs and mvs) for boygroups.

    17. TXT continuing their brilliant pop sound.

    18. GFRIEND world domination with an incredible TITLE TRACK.

    19. More BLACKPINK comebacks (with quality just like LSG).

    20. The return of ‘2NE1 sound’.

    21. Everglow continuing the releases of fierce AND DYNAMIC tracks.

    22. IZ*ONE banger before disbandment.

    23. OH MY GIRL hit through their solid ethereal concept.

    24. The return of BTS’ solid sound.

    25. Queendom Season 2.

    So many more lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Big Bang is a pillar of music but given a majority of the members off stage……activities I want to invite them instead to stay off stage and at least two of them to be thrown under the jail house ASAP

    I do love the bright concepts but I also think moody ones can work with some refinement but in general I don’t want to put any expectations on 2021 since that didn’t exactly work last time LOL

    Like

  7. he intense nature of kpop twitter is one of the reasons I refuse to get a twitter account. I would rather have good vibes only.

    Now as for the Kpop 2019 rookies-
    Oneus: Please continue the theme you left off with To be or Not to be. I think that vibe really suits them. Although I was happy to see their fun and happy single. Everybody needs a break from intense story narratives.

    TXT: Stay bright. They do their best with dreamy sounds or happy tunes.

    Ab6ix: I prefer their answer sound over their most recent comeback. Despite the drama surrounding Answer with losing a member, the sound really suited them. I would rather them comeback with a nice bright sound or go back to calm but steady breath sound. Either direction would satisfy me.

    Ateez: I have to admit I did like their last album, but I didnt LOVE it. I really wanted to, but something was holding me back. I guess I just loved their Treasure era so much that it might take some time getting used to this one. I hope they really solidify the direction of their new era with their next mini album. (I also hope Mingi feels better. )

    In response to number 7- I do not mind the dark nature as much as you do. But that being said, some are just a little too much for me. Verivery I am looking at you. Anyway, a little brightness in the summer would be nice, but I don’t mind the edge as long as it is executed well.

    I would absolutely love if there were more double title tracks. It means more promotions and more thought put into the tracks. I do not want to the groups to run themselves ragged if 2 is too much for them. But if they can handle the promotions, then the more the merrier.

    Final thoughts:

    I guess what I want the most out of my 2021 is to see ghost9 continue with their current sound and gain more popularity. I really am rooting for those rookies.

    I also want to see a NCT 127 comeback to really well. I miss the NCT 127 lineup. They usually come out with music that lines up with my tastes the most.

    Finally, I want a good skz mini album series. I do not need a Miroh, but I want a music video where I leave it going daaaaamn that was badass. I guess skz world domination is all I ask for heh.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Like

  8. .
    1) Melody
    2) Harmony
    3) well sung with minimal studio processing and microphone tricks
    4) with a hearty dose of Theatricality.
    5) not just in the music but in the choreo. Performance being about more than synchronization and posing for the close-up with a well-timed wink / pout / scowl / etc. I have the opinion that hip hop choreo is all played out and needs a shake up. And please please, stop with the pyramid / triangle formation with the center. It is so overused.

    while on this topic
    6) Nick to revise his SuJu top ten. Maybe a top fifteen in honor of their 15th anniversary and also for practicality, as they have 15 years of promoted tracks. 🙂
    7) and to finally review Gaho. … OK maybe that is a stretch. 😛

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Here are my additional list

    26. (G)-IDLE title track that is not produced by Soyeon. At least, for once.

    27. More bright concepts please. (Currently OBSSESED with Chocome – HMPH!)

    28. Solid debuts

    29. Secret Number continuing their release of songs-with-a-fantastic-climax (That climax in Got That Boom almost erased all it’s flaws)

    30. THE SUPREMACY OF MAIN VOCALS.

    Like

  10. I’d be so happy if we could get more strong solo female dance tracks this year. I’m crossing fingers for a great Chungha album, a Sunmi album and a fully fledged Uhm Jung Hwa comeback.

    Like

  11. I’ll give my K-Pop resolutions for 2021 too;

    1. Music Videos with an actual storyline.

    Of course, I’m here for the music but I would love to see more thrilling and cinematic intros where we are introduced to the members/given a feel for the actual song beforehand. E.g. Stray Kids – Miroh or AleXa’s – Do or Die.

    2. Far more creative instrumental production

    The music makes or breaks a song for me. What I really want to hear is more unpredictable instrumentals that always feel engaging.

    3. Final last choruses that blow my mind

    I want to hear songs that truly just explode during their finale with sky-high vocals, fast-paced instrumentals and a grand music video.

    4. More Epic/otherworldly sounding songs

    I think SuperM does this well but I would like to hear groups such as Ateez and Stray Kids create Hans Zimmer-Esque type beats which of course, also have a k-pop feel to them.

    5. More EDM – House music.

    I enjoy K-pop best when songs blast out intense electronic beats that feel complex yet also highly engaging. I want to hear more songs like Seventeen’s – HIT.

    If I had to explain my ‘perfect music video’, it would be a Sci-Fi/dystopian M/V based on the idea of identity and is accompanied by a complex electronic instrumental drop which then moves into a mammoth chorus that feels extremely powerful. Oh wait, I need another Miroh. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. funny enough since this is something you asked for less of last year, i’d like more reality shows if things keep going as they have been. I had a lot of fun watching I-land this year as well as road to kingdom. this is already looking promising with Kingdom, the P-nation JYP show, supposedly a female I-land, and something with the new bighit japan group (Ej’s debuting!! woo hoo!!).

    other then a way to keep me entertained i’m hoping for more funk-pop. i’m hoping to see seventeen, verivery, txt, and one of the nct’s (maybe the new unit?) heading in this direction next year. I don’t even care if it’s retro or not at this point just give me another superhuman or adore u please.

    live shows would be amazing: I was supposed to see ateez, bts, and nct 127 this year so i’m hoping the pandemic will calm down soon. i recall the soribada awards having a live audience over the summer so maybe they’ll try something like that soon.

    that’s about it for me. have a great new years everyone! let’s look foward to (hopefully) good music next year! 🙂

    Like

  13. Big amen to all these resolutions, esp fan wars! Let’s all stan in peace and just enjoy good kpop music. All I want for 2021 is an NCT Dream full album (it’s been 4 years already, we deserve it SM!) and for kpop title tracks to be about anything else except “we cool skrrt” and “shut up haters”. And world peace, thank you!!

    Like

  14. You, and others, have often complained about K-pop becoming too westernized. The thing is, K-pop is all about borrowing from outside the borders. Traditional Korean music is what? A few region-specific chords played on a handful of string/woodwind instruments? Oh, and trot. I’m not trying to diminish traditional Korean music as I’ve heard some truly beautiful pieces come out of it. I’m trying to point to the fact that the majority of K-pop fans aren’t here for that. Then.. ..what are they here for?

    Note: I’m getting really tired of America being the defacto punching bag for everything that’s wrong with the world. The true core of what the United States is all about is diversity. The country is a melting pot for the planet. Despite some genuinely ignorant Americans, many of us understand that our strength is based on the fact that we’re made up of people from every other country.

    You know.. ..there is an extreme amount of diversive music in South Korea. There’s K-rock/metal, K-punk, K-indie, K-ambient, K-jazz, K-EDM, K-experimental, etc., etc., etc.. But none of us are here for any of those other genres, are we? No, we want that sweet, sweet, pop flavor. That effervescent fizz. That tingly soul refreshing zing! And, all cards on the table, the ingredients needed to make that peppy elixer are imported from other countries.

    Like

    • First of all, you’re completely right.

      Secondly: I don’t think this is what people mean when they complain about kpop becoming westernized. I believe the complaint centers around kpop en large adopting trends currently popular in western pop in order to gain a bigger audience in the west. A lot of us have come to kpop looking for something a little different – I was drawn in by the bombastic Fantastic Baby and it’s ‘weird’ music video. If most of kpop starts following the same trends of western pop without innovating much, we miss out on a lot. If you start borrowing from one source only, creativity is lost.

      Not from the US, but I agree about America always being the punching bag – I’ve noticed this online.

      Like

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