The Bias List is a K-pop blog that also covers a fair amount of J-pop. But along with most music fans, I enjoy tracks from all around the world. So, I thought I’d start a monthly round-up of some of the non-K-pop songs that have caught my ear. No ratings — just highlights!
2022 has been a lousy year for K-pop so far, so I’ve started casting my net wide again. I follow the melodies, wherever they may be. And, it just so happens that this month’s strongest pop tracks have come from other music markets. This is a particularly solid round-up, if I do say so myself!
Ava Max – Maybe You’re The Problem
This is pure, concentrated pop music executed well. With each passing single, I’ve become more impressed with Ava Max. The Motto has been on constant repeat all year. Maybe You’re The Problem’s sing-into-your-hairbrush hook has quickly joined it on the playlist.
Carly Rae Jepsen – Western Wind
I’ll always be partial to the bubblegum electro pop of Carly’s E.Mo.Tion era, but she got her start with a far more acoustic sound. Western Wind finds a nice middle ground. The production is lush and the melodies are gorgeous.
Darin – Superstar
I mean, Superstar is nothing new in our current music environment. But, you all know I’m a sucker for these upbeat funk pop numbers. Bonus points for the disco strings.
I Am Boleyn – Young Love
For me, synthpop is at its best when it embraces a palpable sense of nostalgia. Young Love’s propulsive chorus feels like memories regained, drenched in beautiful electronic tones.
KEiiNO – Mother Of The Night
This is just bonkers, campy pop music. I’ve been listening to KEiiNO’s debut album a lot (which is also bonkers, campy pop music), but it feels like they’ve pushed the envelope even further with this oddball standout.
Khalid – Skyline
I’m dangerously obsessed with this track. It’s the perfect, laidback summer groove. The sheer amount of texture he’s able to wring from his voice (and vocal effects!) makes this such an aural treat. The melody is a total earworm as well.
Loreen – Neon Lights
When you have a song as legendary as Euphoria under your belt, nothing else will quite compare. But after a lengthy absence, Loreen is back with her evocative dance sound. Neon Lights will work its way under your skin.
LUM!X – Halo (ft. Pia Maria)
I didn’t watch Eurovision this year, but I tried to keep up with as many entries as I could. Halo was a standout for me, taking today’s synth trends and ratcheting them up to eleven. The energy is wonderfully intense.
Måns Zelmerlöw – What You Were Made For
80’s pastiches are a dime a dozen these days, but few embrace the inherent cheese of the decade. What You Were Made For reminds me of a long-lost Kenny Loggins soundtrack song.
Rina Sawayama – This Hell
I’ll always be drawn to balls-to-the-walls, over-the-top pop music. This Hell is pitched as “Shania Twain meets Lady Gaga,” and that sounds pretty good to me. Rina’s such a star, and I dare say this may be one of the strongest pop songs of the year – campy concept and all. I eagerly await the music video.
Tove Lo – No One Dies From Love
Stop what you’re doing right now and watch this music video. It’s a stunner. Seriously, I can’t think of another recent video that impressed me so much. But even apart from the visual, No One Dies From Love is an excellent tears-on-the-dancefloor synthpop banger.