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.
May 2021 Overall Thoughts
2021’s momentum stalled a bit this month. But, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. May was stuffed with comebacks by big-name artists. And, a lot of them were quite good. However, few resonated with me in the way songs from the previous few months have. And when it comes to full or mini albums, none stuck around my playlist for long.
My top two picks of the month secured their places easily. But, their dominance is kind of shocking. I’ve long been a critic of English-language songs by K-pop artists, and I think both of these acts have been pretty hit-or-miss lately. I would never have expected my top three to shake out the way it did. I guess the industry loves to surprise…
Choosing a number three song was much trickier. Most releases grew or faded as time went on. I scored fromis_9’s We Go very high upon release, yet haven’t returned to it as often as either of the comebacks unveiled on the same day. I disliked NCT Dream’s Hot Sauce at first. It went on to capture me for the next week or so before moving back to the “dislike” column as the month ended. TXT’s new single shows promise, but I could see it going either way when all is said and done.
I continue to enjoy aespa’s Next Level despite the chastising I received in the comments section from, like… all of you. In fact, it’s one of my most-played songs this month. But, third place ended up being a tight race between funk-pop singles from TO1 and ONEUS. Both have their flaws and wouldn’t have made it into my top three during a stronger month, but a standout performance helped vault one over the other.
Beyond comebacks, May was dominated by competition series Kingdom. Even compared to last year’s Road to Kingdom, I’m feeling pretty nonplussed about this show. It’s been fun to write about each week, but I wish it had resulted in stronger music. At least we have a bunch of post-Kingdom summer comebacks to look forward to, right?
As we enter June, K-pop will start unveiling this year’s roster of summer songs. I’m cautiously optimistic, especially with such a jam-packed slate on the horizon. I’m hoping to hear stronger melodies, upbeat arrangements and a host of buried treasures (May was very short on those…). And if I’m being greedy, the announcement of a Golden Child comeback wouldn’t be unappreciated (hint, hint, Woollim…).
**Oh yeah… and, GFriend basically disbanded this month. I’m still trying to process that one…
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.9
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Fantastics – Perfect Magic (review)
Hey! Say! JUMP – Negative Fighter (review)
King & Prince – Magic Touch (video)
The Rampage – Call Of Justice (review)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
King & Prince – Beating Hearts (review)
aespa – Next Level (review)
Blitzers – Breathe Again (review)
fromis_9 – We Go (review)
Highlight – Not The End (review)
Jay B – Switch It Up (ft. Sokodomo) (review)
Joy (Red Velvet) – Hello (review)
NCT Dream – Hot Sauce (depending on my mood…) (review)
Oh My Girl – Dun Dun Dance (review)
Rocket Punch – Ring Ring (review)
Taeho (IMFACT) – GGOMA (ft. Choi Yegeun) (review)
TO1 – Son Of Beast (review)
TXT – 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) (ft. Seori) (review)
WJSN The Black – Easy (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. ONEUS – Black Mirror (review)
2. Yuqi – Bonnie & Clyde (review)
1. BTS – Butter (review)