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.
July 2022 Overall Thoughts
Counting up all of July’s releases, I’m not sure we’ve ever had a month this packed. What a far cry from last year, where July was all but barren! Yet again, the month lacked any clear “SOTY” candidates, but it was more consistently solid than most of 2022 has been. Lots of great b-sides, a few great singles and — like I said — a ton of new stuff to listen to.
Moving into August, I still haven’t heard a clear “song of summer” for 2022 — at least when it comes to K-pop. These tracks usually emerge in June, sometimes in July, and rarely in August. We’ll have to see how things shape up over the next few weeks. Many idol acts released summer-themed material this month, but we definitely haven’t had a Chi Mat Ba Ram, Count 1, 2 or Wave (to name a few recent “song of summer” tracks).
Instead, we got a handful of strong albums. 2022’s most frustrating musical trends persisted, but July offered a decently diverse scope of idol music. You had to dig a bit to find most of the best material, which makes me want to hop on an airplane and join whatever K-pop A&R team would take me. Please, agencies… give us more variety in your title tracks!
My top two songs of the month were quite easy to choose, but once again I struggled with the third place. A number of tracks were neck-and-neck for this spot: KB’s Be Free, NewJeans’ Attention, Super Junior’s Mango. ATEEZ may even sneak in there depending on how Guerrilla ages. Third place still feels like a contested spot, but I decided to go with the song that felt a little more intimate and idiosyncratic (and probably needs the promo).
J-pop also had a fruitful month. Many of my favorite acts made their return, but the top spot went to a track with a June digital release and an upcoming August physical release. I’ll split the difference and drop it into July (mostly because I didn’t review it until this month!). Wherever you put it, it’s an excellent song.
Looking ahead to August, I predict my month is going to be dominated by two favorite “g” groups: Golden Child and Girls’ Generation. We also have an epic girl group battle on our hands with the promised return of BLACKPINK, Twice and IVE alongside the debut of NewJeans. Whatever happens, I hope the upcoming weeks deliver “top ten of the year”-worthy material. My personal countdown needs it, and the industry could do with the kick of energy a killer comeback can deliver.
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.9
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
Ayumi Hamasaki – Summer Again (video)
KinKi Kids – Amazing Love (video)
Kis-My-Ft2 – Two As One (review)
Naniwa Danshi – Diamond Smile (review)
Omega X – Stand Up! (review)
Perfume – Spinning World (video)
Snow Man – Orange Kiss (review)
Twice – Celebrate (review)
TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH
Ado – New Genesis (review)
aespa – Girls (review)
ATEEZ – Guerrilla (review)
Billlie – Patbingsu (review)
Chungha – Sparkling (review)
H1-KEY – Run (review)
ITZY – Sneakers (review)
Loco & Hwasa – Somebody! (review)
MCND – #Mood (review)
Nicole – YOU.F.O (review)
P1Harmony – Doom Du Doom (review)
SF9 – Scream (review)
Super Junior – Mango (review)
TO1 – Drummin’ (review)
UiU – Starlit (review)
VIVIZ – Loveade (review)
Winner – I Love U (video)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. KB (OnlyOneOf) – Be Free (review)
2. WJSN – Last Sequence (review)
1. CSR – Pop? Pop! (review)