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 2022 Overall Thoughts
So… we’re almost halfway through 2022 and…. hmmm.
Compared to the songs in my year-end top tens from the past decade, pretty much nothing from 2022 is at that same level. I’m talking title tracks, b-sides and albums. I’m kind of desperate, here!
This desperation has shifted my listening habits. From 2016-2020, I listened almost exclusively to K-pop and J-pop. But over the past few months, I’ve become a scavenger again – pulling from every music market I can. I go where the best songs are, and it just so happens that K-pop is not that place at the moment. The industry still excels at visuals and choreography, but when it comes to the actual songs? Houston, we’ve got a problem.
Because of this, most of my favorite songs of May weren’t K-pop at all. That doesn’t mean The Bias List is going away or turning into a pop blog anytime soon. But, it’s been an interesting shift in my own playlist.
So… what’s next for K-pop? Honestly, I’m nervous. Usually, I’d assume we’re in for a strong summer to compensate for the winter and spring doldrums. But, I just don’t know where this amazing music is going to come from. Most of my reliable favorites are either MIA or have already made comebacks this year. And with everyone touring over the next few months, I wonder if there will be many big releases at all? So far, June’s line-up is unusually sparse. I hope that’s not the immediate future we’re looking at. Maybe it’s just the BTS effect.
Okay, okay… enough with the histrionics! Let’s move on to less dramatic bitching instead. May’s releases were largely underwhelming. My honorable mentions list is shockingly small. But, the month’s standouts tended to stick way above the pack. I love my top two, and third place was very competitive. In the end, Treasure’s fun remix of Darari was narrowly beat out by a song I simply played more often.
Just below my honorable mentions are a host of shouty boy group comebacks. Some of these grew on me (TNX’s debut surprisingly did!), but they’re so similar that I couldn’t justify bumping any above the others. I’m beyond tired of this sound. The global pop market seems to be moving on, but these K-pop producers continue to cut and paste elements that have long since lost their novelty.
Sadly, it was also an underwhelming month for J-pop. However, I’m very excited about the upcoming release slate for Johnny’s Entertainment acts. After a slow start to the year, it seems we’re going to be treated to album after single after album. Sexy Zone’s new single is already among the best of the year. Expect a glowing review very soon. Now, I just need Kis-My-Ft2 to formally announce their upcoming summer single. While we’re waiting, it’s a great time to check out my extensive series on their complete singles run. There’s a lot of great music to discover in that feature.
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.9
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
BoA – The Greatest (review)
JO1 – With Us (review)
Onew – Kirakira (review)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
ATEEZ – Rocky (Boxers Version) (review)
from20 – Weol (video)
LE SSERAFIM – Fearless (review)
NCT Dream – Beatbox (review)
Seventeen – Hot (review)
Treasure – Darari (Remix) (review)
Woodz – I Hate You (review)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. TXT – Good Boy Gone Bad (review)
2. Astro – Candy Sugar Pop (review)
1. iKON – But You (review)