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 2021 Overall Thoughts
When I averaged all my song ratings of October, I was surprised to see how high the number was. Honestly, I’ve felt very uninspired by K-pop this month. For whatever reason, the sounds and concepts just felt monotonous and unexciting. I tend to go through these slumps a couple times each year, and they always turn around eventually. But, I’m fearful that 2021 is becoming 2020 in reverse, with the first half being quite strong and the second half dragging its feet.
Here’s the thing about October. It was packed with releases — more than any other month this year. And, there were a lot of solid tracks. But, nothing stood out in a way that made me want to hit replay a dozen times. The best K-pop months are highlighted by a couple of anchors: songs so exciting they raise my opinion of every other track released in the same time frame. Apart from WOODZ’s excellent b-side Chaser (which would’ve been my song of the month had it been paired with a music video), nothing fit that category. So, we end up with a super weird top three. Two of the songs weren’t even originally released this month, and one is an album track that just so happened to get a music video right in the nick of time. I can’t remember another monthly round-up like this… especially with so many other comebacks to choose from.
There were a couple of strong albums this month. I’ve probably played WOODZ’s Only Lovers Left and ENHYPEN’s Dimension: Dilemma the most. Unfortunately, there was also one huge disappointment. Golden Child’s DDARA barely made my honorable mentions — a first for my current bias group. Come to think of it, this underwhelming comeback probably set my current slump into motion!
With so many releases in October, I sometimes felt like I was writing about the same song over and over. The K-pop industry seems to be on cruise control right now, with everyone trying to be NCT, ITZY or BLACKPINK. I’m still excited about the current retro trend, but I long to hear a more diverse series of comebacks. Because of this, I found myself listening to much more Western pop music this month. In fact, my favorite October release didn’t come from Korea at all. Instead, I’ve been enamored with Agnes’s stunning Magic Still Exists album.
J-pop was fairly dull this month, though my top track is probably my favorite Johnny’s single of the year. Looking forward, I’m curious how 2021 will wrap up. My end-of-year lists are just around the corner, but there’s still one month that will be eligible for those countdowns. I can’t say that any recent teasers have piqued my interest, but I remain hopeful that some hidden gem will pop up and reignite my excitement.
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.9
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Tomohisa Yamashita – Beautiful World (video)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
King & Prince – On The Moonlit Night, When You Fall In Love (review)
aespa – Savage (review)
bugAboo – bugAboo (review)
Chancellor – Midnight (ft. Gaeko) (review)
CRAVITY – Veni Vidi Vici (review)
DreamNote – Ghost (review)
ENHYPEN – Tamed-Dashed (review)
EPEX – Do 4 Me (review)
Epik High – Face ID (ft. Giriboy, Sik-K & JUSTHIS) (review)
Golden Child – DDARA (review)
LIGHTSUM – Vivace (review)
NCT 127 – Favorite (Vampire) (review)
Pink Fantasy – Tales Of The Unusual (review)
Seventeen – Rock With You (review)
Sunmi – Go Or Stop? (review)
Twice – The Feels (review)
WOODZ – Waiting (review)
Woohyun – Calm & Passion (review)
Youngjae – Vibin (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. Pixy – Bewitched (review)
2. ATEEZ – Eternal Sunshine (review)
1. TXT – Frost (review)