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.
January 2022 Overall Thoughts
It’s a new K-pop year! I always feel optimistic in January because it’s the one time of the year where anything feels possible. I can’t help but imagine the epic tracks that might be coming our way. And in recent years, January has become a heavy-hitter when it comes to new releases.
The past few weeks have been stuffed with music, most of it pushed up front to avoid the Lunar New Year holiday. In fact, there were a couple days with six or seven new releases each, making for some marathon blogging! And, there were a lot of songs I liked this month. I don’t think there was anything I loved, and none of the singles are likely to threaten my year-end top ten when we reach December. But, January was reasonably solid.
My top song of the month climbed its way up, eclipsing higher-rated tracks along the way. It’s not an unexpected result, but may be surprising to some. The rest of my top three is filled with music that’s very suited to my own taste. Neither song is perfect, but both are strong and satisfying. Yena’s infectious Smiley takes a close fourth place. I really shouldn’t enjoy this track as much as I do!
My honorable mentions is filled with solid material. If anything, I’m pleased that January saw a diverse array of musical styles. Current trends prevented most of these tracks from blossoming into something more unique and timeless, but many K-pop acts seemed to be branching out this January.
This month was also notable for debuts. From the bad (Trendz) to the “meh” (Got The Beat) to the good (Kep1er), none of these new acts totally slayed me. But, we’ve got a few more big-name arrivals on the horizon.
I’ve been a big J-pop consumer over the past few months — even more than usual. There were some great releases this month, even though most flew under-the-radar. The Rampage’s cover of Van Halen’s Jump was easily my favorite song of the month, but I can’t count it here since it’s not a single. Luckily, their actual single was great, too. My personal bias group Golden Child also made their Japanese debut. I still like A Woo, but I definitely overrated it on release day. It’s probably more of an 8 or 8.25. Hopefully the wolf howling is a one-off…
Despite some big releases, February promises to be comparatively dry. With the effects of Lunar New Year and the Olympics, I expect its release slate to be much more leisurely paced. Hopefully we’ll get one or two knockouts.
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.9
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Black Iris – Headshot (video)
Golden Child – A Woo!! (review)
Johnny’s West – Reimei / Susumu Shikanee (review / video)
The Rampage – Ray Of Light (review)
SixTONES – Rosy / Louder (review / video preview)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
Kimura Takuya – I’ll Be There (review)
Changmin – Devil (review)
DRIPPIN – Villain (review)
ENHYPEN – Blessed-Cursed (review)
fromis_9 – DM (review)
Hyolyn – Layin’ Low (ft. Jooyoung) (review)
Jinjin & Rocky – Just Breath (review)
Kep1er – Wa Da Da (review)
Kim Yohan – Dessert (review)
Mirae – Marvelous (review)
Momoland – Yummy Yummy Love (ft. Natti Natasha) (review)
P1Harmony – Do It Like This (review)
WJSN Chocome – Super Yuppers! (review)
woo!ah! – Catch The Stars (review)
Woozi – Ruby (review)
Yena – Smiley (ft. BiBi) (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. Victon – Chronograph (review)
2. Changmin – Maniac (review)
1. OnlyOneOf – Skinz (review)
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of December 2021
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of November 2021
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of October 2021
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of September 2021
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of August 2021
Top Three K-Pop Songs Of July 2021
Yena “Smiley” by a miley for the win.
Then Max Changmin “Maniac”
Honorable mention to OnlyOneOf “Skinz”
Obligatory Forestella mention of the month: Forestella in French!
Ko Woorim covers “Autumn Leaves”. I’ve heard many, many covers of the later English version by Johnny Mercer, but this cover is of the original French lyrics. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P85xNNTrQEw
Cho MinGyu covers “Non, je ne regret rien”, the original by Edith Piaf. The title means literally “I regret nothing!” ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLYLg6cCDHI
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In no particular order:
Blizters – Bobbin
Onlyoneof – skinz
Pentagon – Feelin like
Wjsn Chocome – Super Yuppers!
Yena – Smiley
Omega X – Love Me Like (this grew on me super hard lmao)
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I added a lot of new music to my library this month – 120 new releases, including 28 title tracks – and was actually on top of rating and sorting everything, mostly thanks to how slow this last week was. Of your top three, the only one that didn’t make a playlist was “Skinz” – I unfortunately discovered that the ripping/zipper sample that pops up in the beginning has a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect on me when I listen to it on headphones. I really liked all three b-sides though! This was probably a better month for b-sides than for titles, as I was also meh on P1HARMONY and PENTAGON’s titles but really liked several or all of the album tracks. Also on the positive side, nothing on Changmin’s EP got under four stars and I actually had an “AH HA” moment where I think I figured out why people talk about the “SM sound” with such admiration.
HM (Four Stars):
BamBam “Slow Mo”
Kep1er “Wa Da Da”
LUMINOUS “All eyes down”
MOMOLAND “Yummy Yummy Love”
TAEYEON “Can’t Control Myself”
woo!ah! “Catch The Stars”
Top Titles (Five Stars):
3. MAX CHANGMIN “Devil”
2. MAX CHANGMIN “Maniac”
1. MIRAE “Marvelous”
Other Five Star Tracks:
MAX CHANGMIN “Fever”
VICTON “Pray For Me”
BamBam “B – EP”
MAX CHANGMIN “Devil – The 2nd Mini Album – EP” (only five star average this month)
OnlyOneOf “Instinct, Pt. 2 – EP”
P1Harmony “DISHARMONY : FIND OUT – EP”
PENTAGON “IN:VITE U – EP”
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My Top 40 of title tracks and bsides is below. I also have a version for Deezer below because I’m going to freeload off Spotify soon and want my money to go somewhere where they still have Neil Young songs and good user privacy. Only unfortunate part is that their Cpop, Jpop, and nugu Kpop is more limited.
Top 10 are pretty much in order.
Also I’m going from 11/30/2021 – yesterday because December non-Christmas releases do not get enough love.
Deezer later. My transfer program is acting weird.
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If we’re giving some extra loving to December releases, I will take this opportunity to say that I have been blasting EVERGLOW “Pirate” in the car and is easily my favorite release of 2022 (TBL rules) so far. My number one title track of 2021 was a December release and I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up high on the list. ATEEZ “Turbulence” has also grown on me a lot.
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Here’s the Deezer link.
You need an account, but they have free ones.
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This January was remarkably one of the strongest months for me! Honestly there was so much variety and I think it has set my standards high for the next few months! My top 5
1. Blitzers Bobbin
(Chorus wins all. In fact, that bridge alone with the “…Trust yourself part…’ is good enough to beat out half the songs of this month for me lol)
2. Up10tion Crazy About You
(As expected I absolutely LOVE this after they sold it with the lives. The final harmonisation parts are too beautiful! Melancholy love song or not they still deliver it with power!)
3. H1-KEY Athletic Girl
(Best debut of this month for me. Four perfectly distinct voices selling a song I don’t think I would have liked but they did it. A song I really got to love)
4. Woo!Ah Catch the Stars
(I admit the adorable Nana has something to do with how addictive I find this song. They performed this so well that I waited for their show everyday just to see how she’s gonna switch up the Twinkle Shower part!😂 This has set the standard for the simple happy songs for the rest of the year and I feel bad for any songs coming soon with the same genre because I honestly don’t really vibe with these much 😂 and for Woo!Ah! to have made such an impression on me is HUGE!! ❤️)
5. P1HARMONY Do It Like This
(I have always made it clear that I wasn’t a big fan of their songs after last year but this time they have completely redeemed themselves in my eyes. In fact I listened to all the bsides and I am definitely a new fan!!💎 Keeho and Theo are fantastic vocalists and I must have been blind to not see it all along 😂. Their lives are so fun too! In a way they really give me the old SKZ vibes and I absolutely love that!)
CHOCOME Super Yuppers (It is an Anthem. I won’t deny it.)
Kim Yohan Dessert (best solo this month for me)
Mirae Marvelous (RPP + BuBu is a combination I never thought I would see)
Kepler Wa Da Da (I admit it grew a LOT more than I expected. Chaehyun and Dayeon sold it for me.)
2 Special Mentions :
Enhypen Blessed Cursed – Yes it still lacks a bridge and a chorus, but their performances were really good. It had some of that life that I associate to an Enhypen song and I’m happy that it made the song a bit more memorable! 😀
Trendz TNT – Okay I noticed you hated it 😂 And in fact after the initial MV I was left quite disappointed too. BUT – they improved quite rapidly with the live performances. They actually have a lot more charisma in stage than in the MV and more energy as well 😂 I was surprised by how much I was vibing with their song after a few weeks so I haven’t written them off completely yet. In all honesty they give me Verivery vibes (there’s a bit of T1419 thrown in there as well lol).
Overall this January is a 9 or 9.5 for me I think 🎉 I had absolutely none of my ulta this month, yet there were so many stuff I enjoyed and some stuff that WOULD have a chance to stay strong till the end of the year! ❤️
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I love the Trendz choreo and the stages made the song kinda improve. I think the minor to major chord progression switch up reminds me of Ghost9 if only the instrumental for TNT isn’t that noisy.
YES SKINZ GETS THE WIN.
Overall, I liked this month a decent bit. There was decent amount of tracks I loved along with some sleepers that really grew on me over the weeks. I also didn’t really hate anything. Even Kep1er debut has proven itself to be pretty alright with a little time pass. Best of all tho…we got a nice batch of good albums
1. OnlyOneOf – skinz
2. Jinjin & Rocky – Let’s Breathe
3. Changmin – Devil (I will say despite this cracking my top 3, I’ve been playing the original Alex Runo track WAYYY MORE)
Honorable mention to Ruby, Smiley, Catch the Stars, and Maniac.
My absolute fav track of the month is probably Kep1er’s MVSK tho.
Fav EPs this month were…
1. Changmin – Devil
2. OnlyOneOf – Instinct pt.2
3. P1HARMONY – Disharmony: Find Out
4. Fromis_9 – DM
5. Jinjin & Rocky – Restore
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Where’s Yuju’s Play? D:
Anyway, I had a gut feeling by the *quite* positive review Skinz got that it would get there in the end 😛 Surprised you labelled Wa Da Da as good cuz the review was rather… critical, but that song had crazy sticking power.
Top 3 of the month probably goes:
1. WJSN Chocome – Super Yuppers
2. fromis_9 – DM
3. Jinjin & Rocky – Just Breath, Victon – Chronograph, Yena – Smiley
I can’t get enough of Super Yuppers, seriously. I thought it wouldn’t have much longevity for me but I brighten every time I listen to it. At the rate I’m playing it it may well end up topping my Spotify Wrapped but we’ll see! DM is a close second, and I couldn’t choose a 3rd so I settled on a tie there between three songs haha.
Though if I were to count B-sides too, I would have Kep1er – MVSK pretty high up like Statickaa, and I’ve also been playing Yena – Pretty Boys a lot too.
Wait… Kimura Takuya is still doing stuff???
I may not have ground to be surprised by this since I’ve been listening to this recently:
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my top 3:
1. Maniac – Changmin
2. Smiley – Yena
3. Super Yuppers – WJSN Chocome
*woo!ah! – catch the stars
*mirae – marvelous
*onlyoneof – skins
*fromis_9 – dm
*swan (craxy) – road in light
*nature – rica rica
some songs that grew on me & some songs that fell
wjsn chocome – super yuppers: 8.25 -> 8.75
idk, i’m just biased towards wjsn in general and these types of synthpop sounds, plus the song and mv are just so quirky and fun
kep1er – wa da da: 7.75 -> 8.25
though the song could do with less shouting and a more fleshed out melody, i felt the production really helped the song, plus youngeun and chaehyun are great vocalists
got that beat – step back: 7.25 -> 6
the mixing and the instrumental are just so bad, and those godawful lyrics aren’t helping at all. genuinely one of the worst songs of the year
A month of some definite highlights for me and a hopefully decent start to the rest of the year. Also, I was wondering if you had any feelings on Mamadol’s song/debut WooAh Hip?
my top 3 is:
1 – Maniac – Changmin
2 – Pretty Boys – Yena
3 – 1,2,3 – AB6IX
1. Maniac+Fever (Changmin) – the prereleases feel more title/single to me more than Devil and these two punch is such a great showcase for Changmin’s talent and versatility.
2. Chronograph (Victon) – I only wished it was as mind blowing as Born To Be Wild by JO1 (and yup I’m a BTBW supremacist just like Nick) but this is still very good and I’ll take this over anything.
3. Ruby (Woozi) – Another great song that is too short but still love it.
•Dessert (Yohan) – satisfying cohesive song from start to end
•Smiley (Yena) – not much of a fan of the title but the album is really good.
•Villain (Drippin) – i wished the verses are more SHINee-esque funky (not just funky bass slap but literaly funk) then it would have had made it to my top 3. Also too short. (why)
•skinz (OnlyOneOf) – not as legendary as libidO but still works i guess. I said in a comment in a different blog i consider this as libidO’s darker twin.
•DM (fromis_9) – matured and cute at the same time and I like it.
Changmin’s Fever and Maniac for me.
For me King Taeyeon Can’t Control Myself and Yein plus n minus is the best
The ones I keep returning to: 1) Hyolyn’s Layin’ Low, 2) Enhypen’s Polaroid Love, 3) Taeyeon’s Can’t Control Myself, 4) WJSN CHOCOME’s Super Yuppers.
if it counts, itzy’s weapon was by far the best song this month for me. catch the stars is great and wadada grew on me a lot.
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It doesn’t count for Nick because he didn’t review it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great song! I liked SOYEON’s “Fire” too.
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