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.
March 2021 Overall Thoughts
I’ve heard whispers around social media lamenting that 2021 has been a weak year for K-pop so far. At first, I found this perspective odd because I think these last three months have been pretty fantastic.
But, I do feel like 2021 has been a bit lop-sided depending on where your musical preferences lie. Many of K-pop’s boy groups have been absolutely killing it this year, but there haven’t been nearly as many big girl group releases. In fact, I don’t think there’s been a single girl group title track that has stunned me so far. In this way, 2021’s first quarter is almost a direct opposite of 2020. If you’re a bummed-out girl group fan, I’m sure things will get better. In the meantime, give some of these boy groups a chance. They’re finally starting to explore new sounds and energy!
Anyway, March was an absolutely stuffed month, which means the quality varied quite a bit. It gave us a few total standouts, but also delivered The Bias List‘s new lowest-rated song. There were some fantastic b-sides this month, and my top three picks would have changed so much if these had been released as title tracks.
Speaking of my top three, it’s comprised entirely of acts who have never been picked for these places before. This is exciting, and very unexpected given the history of some of the artists who made comebacks this month. DRIPPIN’s Young Blood settled for a very, very close fourth place, while IU and Sungkyu released strong contenders. ATEEZ’s comeback never grew on me, but Super Junior’s House Party sure did. After a week or two, I can even appreciate its jarring trap breakdown. Well… sort of.
J-pop also offered a few very strong releases. JO1, Sexy Zone and Daichi Miura led the pack, while KAT-TUN released a cornucopia of interesting music as part of their 15th anniversary single. Korean group The Boyz had that stellar b-side Prism, which should have been promoted.
Between Prism, Take Me Home and Reach Out Your Hands, I feel like there’s an alternate version of March 2021. In this parallel reality, I’d be eyeing each of these three songs — and their accompanying music videos — for a place in my year-end top ten list. Oh well… maybe one or two will be promoted eventually.
Either way, March continued 2021’s strong run of releases. Given the feast of comebacks on the horizon, there’s no reason for April to falter, so I remain optimistic (though I don’t want to jinx it!).
On a personally-biased note, March was a consequential month for my favorite group Infinite. With Sungkyu, Sungyeol and Dongwoo all leaving Woollim Entertainment in rapid succession, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned for the group’s future. I guess I just have to hope that we can take the name “Infinite” literally!
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.7
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Jackson Wang – LMLY (review)
WayV – Kick Back (video)
Daichi Miura – Backwards (review)
KAT-TUN – Roar (review)
KAT-TUN’s Kamenashi, Ueda & Nakamaru – Pure Ice / Yankee Unrequited Love / Change Your Mind (preview)
Voyz Boy – Galaxy (review)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
JO1 – Born To Be Wild (review)
B.I – Midnight Blue (review)
Cosmic Girls (WJSN) – Unnatural (review)
DRIPPIN – Young Blood (review)
GHOST9 – Seoul (review)
iKON – Why Why Why (review)
Kang Seungyoon – IYAH (review)
Kim Sung Kyu – Hush (review)
Kim Sejeong – Warning (review)
MCND – Not Over (review)
MY.st – Dazzle (review)
NTX – Kiss The World (review)
Pentagon – Do Or Not (review)
Super Junior – House Party (review)
Weeekly – After School (review)
Woodz – Feel Like (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. BDC – Moon Rider (review)
2. Jessi – What Type Of X (review)
1. Mirae – Killa (review)