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 2021 Overall Thoughts
September is usually a hit of miss month. Releases tend to be all over the place as K-pop transitions from summer to fall and fans (hopefully idols, too!) head home for Chuseok. Still, my favorite songs of 2013 and 2020 both came from September of their respective years, so there’s precedent of incredible highlights popping up here and there.
This was a weird month for me. It was actually stuffed with releases by acts that are hugely popular with international fans. It seemed like every week there was a big-name album or single. Yet, few of these acts even made my honorable mentions. Instead, my list is largely composed of smaller groups who released songs I found more interesting or satisfying.
September opened and closed with strong releases, but lulled in the middle. This lopsided release slate is pretty normal this time of year, and I expect things to pick up again in October and November. With that said, I’m pleased with my top three picks — especially the top two. Honorable mentions that nearly jumped into that third place are AB6IX’s Cherry, Ciipher’s Blind, and Kim Woosung’s Dimples. All three were released towards the end of the month, so I’m eager to see how they grow (or not) with time. Other honorable mentions worth highlighting are HyunA and Dawn’s Ping Pong, which grew on me a lot, and Do Hanse’s daring Take Over. I don’t consider Coldplay x BTS’s My Universe a K-pop track, but I’ve been listening to it a lot as well.
J-pop had a very strong month, and I had a difficult time choosing between Miyavi, Sakurazaka46 and w-inds for my top spot. I ended up going with the track I’ve listened to the most, though things may change as time goes on.
To put it simply, September was a real grab bag. Amidst a string of disappointments, it also delivered one of the year’s strongest singles. I’m hoping we hear a few more of these standouts before I begin to cobble together my year-end lists.
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.9
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Exit – Super Star (video)
KAT-TUN – We Just Go Hard (ft. AK-69) (review)
Kis-My-Ft2 – Fear (review)
Sakurazaka46 – Dead End (review)
Travis Japan – Big Bang Boy (video)
w-inds. – Strip (review)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
Miyavi – New Gravity (review)
AB6IX – Cherry (review)
ATEEZ – Deja Vu (review)
Ciipher – Blind (review)
Cosmic Girls (WJSN) – Let Me In (review)
Do Hanse – Take Over (review)
E’Last – Dark Dream (review)
fromis_9 – Talk & Talk (review)
HyunA & Dawn – Ping Pong (review)
ITZY – Loco (review)
Kim Woosung – Dimples (review)
Lee Eunsang – Lemonade (review)
Lee Hi – Red Lipstick (ft. Yoon Mirae) (review)
Luminous – Run (review)
Purple Kiss – Zombie (review)
Stray Kids – Cheese (review)
Wonho – Blue (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. A.C.E – Changer (review)
2. ONEUS – Life Is Beautiful (review)
1. Key – Bad Love (review)