open discussion

Open Discussion (August 14, 2022)

Open DiscussionIt’s Sunday, which means it’s time to end the week with an open discussion post!

To keep things civil, there are a few rules:

  1. Be kind and respectful to one another. Any harassing language will be deleted.
  2. This is not a place to state what you don’t like about me and/or my blog. Move elsewhere, trolls.
  3. Video/gif/image embedding is totally fine. Just try to limit yourself to a couple per comment. Otherwise my moderation filter goes crazy.

Each week, I’ll open with a question to get the conversation going. Feel free to chat about anything, but if you’re not sure what to write you can use this question as a starting point.

This week’s question:

K-pop has often ventured into the Japanese market. What are your favorite original J-pop songs by Korean artists? And what are some under-known or under-loved highlights?

46 thoughts on “Open Discussion (August 14, 2022)

  1. For established groups, I’ve got:

    * EXO – Electric Kiss (the whole album is epic)

    * Basically all of SNSD’s discography, but special mention to Paparazzi, Flower Power and Bad Girl

    * Ditto for SHINee, with Dazzling Girl and Kimi No Sei De standing out

    * And many more that will probably be covered by others today!

    But for the embed, I’ll post a far less-known track from the also less-known Code-V. Code-V was technically a K-pop boy band, but they found their biggest success in Japan. Shōdō (Impulse) is a sub-unit song, and a total banger. It kills me right from the start with that massive hook.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Day6 – Finale
    The vocals in this song really pop driven with lots of emotion. There was a comment I saw that said it’s perfect for a wedding and I agree! It’s the kind of anthem that really hits you hard.

    Pentagon – Seasons
    Doesn’t beat Cosmos (which I figure someone will bring it up!) of course but Seasons is also a very lovely track for different reasons. Very soothing song that deserves lots more attention for a Pentagon track 🙂

    B.A.P’s Daehyun releasing this jazzy track just before he had to enlist.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooh so many! I’ve often thought SNSD has a stronger japanese discography than korean actually…

    1. Karma Butterfly – SNSD
    2. Boomerang – SNSD (got remade in korean as talk talk)
    3. Paparazzi – SNSD
    4. Stranger – SHINee
    5. Galaxy Supernova – SNSD

    Honorable mentions to:
    Red Velvet – Sappy
    GFriend – Memoria
    Infinite – Toki

    In this last year or two, I’ve also been a massive fan of:
    Red Velvet – Snap Snap
    ALL of BoA’s the greatest remakes, but especially her 2022 remake of Dakishimeru which is one of my top 5 songs of the year so far


  4. This is where I admit that Dreamcatcher’s Japanese discography, while very, very far from bad, feels a tiny bit like a disappointment. We get our wishes for heavier production, but often at the cost of the LEEZ/Ollounder melodic smarts. Their productions are still the best, as expected. Breaking Out, I Miss You, Eclipse, My Way stand comfortably with their best work.

    I will say I have a soft spot for No More (because Pontus Norgren of one of my all-time favorite power metal bands, HammerFall, plays the solo on it) and Don’t Light My Fire (because of how Tarja-era Nightwish the instrumental sounds). And Endless Night is very, very good, despite the ill-advised second-verse trap break (have Dami rap over the guitars, it’s not hard).

    And with that I may have listed all their Japanese discography above. I don’t know the future of that now, though, given that they’ve ended their contract with Pony Canyon and terminated their Japanese fanclub.

    N.Flying’s Japanese discography is… interesting. Brotherhood has some absolute scorchers like Lupin and Songbird. It also has some of the worst Auto-Tune abuse on some songs which grates on me a little, but I swallow it because of my love for the band.

    Pinhole is probably the absolute worst song about this. Yet somehow I love it now anyway. Have I lost my mind? Maybe. But also SoundCloud suggests that all this ill-advised Auto-Tune is Seunghyub’s fault. My man J.Don, I love you, but this has to stop!

    Somewhat echoing an above comment, DAY6’s Unlock contains by far my favorite work of theirs. If We Meet Again and Falling are my personal favorites off it, but the whole thing is so good.


  5. I really, really enjoy Taemin’s Japanese output tbh, especially Eclipse! Half of my top ten favourite songs by him are Japanese originals actually and though I’ll admit that a good handful of his Korean singles are definitely in a league of their own, I think songs like Final Dragon and Tiger also deserve to be known as some of his best (an opinion literally no one else shares lmao).

    Also this was already mentioned by Doublestar but oh my goodness, N.Flying’s Lupin. Freaking relentless banger and pretty much unlike anything I’ve ever heard from a Kpop artist.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s interesting how most of these responses are SM artists. They’ve really made a mark in Japan!
    I was gonna comment an SM artist too: Baekhyun. His self-titled Japanese EP is some of his best solo work in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Snsd comes up immediately. However, I think kara and afterschool also had strong jpop discographies

    Afterschool’s “dilly dally” and “rambling girls”, and Kara’s “summer⭐gic” and “go go summer” are my pics


  8. I love your picks of Electric Kiss and Paparazzi!! ❤ I discovered the latter from one of your posts and listening to it was one of the best things I did!

    All I can say is SM sure knows how to put out a good Japanese number! ❤

    A couple of my faves that come to mind for :

    – Yunho and Changmin’s Epitaph for the Future (my overall fave of this year)

    – SKZ Top & Slump (honestly two of my fave songs from them)

    – Dreamcatcher Breaking Out (Probably one of my all time faves from them), I Miss You and Endless Night

    – Ateez Dreamers

    (Also funny story; for the longest time I thought Utopia was originally Japanese and would have been my fave “japanese” song from them lol. Honestly I think their JP versions hit so hard – Utopia and Rocky are perfect examples)

    – Oneus 808

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I mean pointing towards literally all of Shinee’s Japanese songs both as a group and as soloists is cheating right? I mean Taemin alone has an exceptional Japanese discography. Some of my favorites are Taemin’s Holy Water, Into the Rhythm, Door, and Sayonara Hitori. Onew’s Lighthouse. Shinee’s Password, 321, Diamond sky, Picasso, and to your heart.

    I’ve also really enjoyed Oneus’s Japanese songs (which they need more of) and Vixx’s Japanese material (a lot of which is still not on Spotify for some reason).

    Seventeen’s Fallin Flower is also a favorite of mine. It stunningly pretty with a choreography to match. From what I remember I really liked Call Call Call as well, but I don’t go back to it a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I don’t usually listen to Japanese releases by Kpop acts but I do listen to some.

    I don’t see many people talk about Everlasting Shine by TXT. This song sounds very nostalgic and I love it. I personally don’t mind the vocal processing in this song as I think that it compliments the instrumental well.

    Also while feeling empty with the absence of GFriend, I discovered Fallin’ Light

    I somehow missed this release and am currently listening to it on repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Also, every now and then I come across a nice Super Junior Super Show show, and then realize its SS_ in Japan, in Japanese. And then I extra admire these guys for having to learn all the lyrics, all over again.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was just thinking the other day about how consistently I love Ateez’s Japanese output! No song is earthshattering, but they all manage to strike some emotional chord within me, and in the end sentimental value beats out nearly everything else. (Both Red Velvet and TXT’s Japanese discographies are also great for this reason.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, and 5 more
      * Taemin – Famous
      * NCT 127 – First Love
      * EXO – Electric Kiss
      * SHINee – DxDxD
      * Twice – Perfect World


  13. Red Velvet’s #Cookie Jar

    Twice’s Better

    Two great songs that I think get overlooked when you consider the wide range of Korean hits by both groups.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Among others mentioned above, I love N.Flying’s “Kick-Ass”, A.C.E “All I Want Is You”, and TWICE “Perfect World”.

    In other news, I continue to be pleased by August’s releases. Personal highlights: JUNNY, NIK, and Golden Child. I had tickets to see them live and had to miss it due to a health scare. Hopefully they come back next year.

    On the rap side of Seoul, GEMINI put out a single “1, 2, 3” with one of my favorite rapper/vocalists, BIG Naughty. It’s not my favorite from either of them but it’s solid if this is your sound. DALsoooooooooooooooooooooobin put out a remix album with some fun cuts. WEi is fun and I could see it growing on me. Jo Yuri is pleasant. I want to like KINO’s solo debut more than I do but it’s not quite there for me. Maybe it’ll also be a grower because I like this sound from Taemin and SF9.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. i am not that big of a fan of J-pop….a couple of J-pop groups that i was really into were E-Girls, especially “Dance All Night” and Faky, until Anna left the group….i do, however, like that JYP J-pop group, NizIU, and there was another female J-pop group i came across that i i like, but i don’t remember their name….Z-girls were also a good J-pop group….

    honestly for me, i can’t often tell the difference of a J-pop song that a K-pop group makes….


  16. I LOVE GFriend’s Fallin’ Light Album. The Beginning of Love is a personal favorite. Yuju’s intro was breathless.

    In terms of their title Japanese title tracks, Memoria is my love. The final chorus particularly soars.

    Off-topic, but I want to recommend to you this song Nick. This girl group is from my country Philippines, and I believe this is their best single by far. Lagi means “always”. This is all melody.


  17. kara simply blew the japanese market with their cute (but not overly saccharine) earworms:

    sm also contributed with amazing bangers in this field:

    …speaking of j-pop, i’d like to recommend the trio ‘perfume’; they’ve been releasing electropop since 2005 (their first “indie” song was released back in 2002, which means they’re 20 years together – and counting – very impressive for a girlgroup):


  18. Nick, I appreciate your giving us an easy one this week:

    Although I’m positively bewildered that Infinite’s “Dilemma” and “Just Another Lonely Night” haven’t been mentioned yet.


  19. Jet Coaster Love by Kara is a one I’ve always loved. Fun, campy, with a great melody. And then 10 years later, I still get Be My Shine by Boyfriend stuck in my head. I love that the chorus starts with them jumping an octave.


  20. So far what first came to mind was BoA, she has some memorable bunch of great JP songs.

    Kiseki or Miracle, one of her 2003 songs in Valenti, contains some string and urban beats with BoA’s emotive voice. It feels you’re having a ballerina in a dance floor. BoA’s First Time (2014) which sounds a straightforward Western dance-pop song and is very fun to listen. I also recommend her Lookbook (2015), a very live and energetic song. Manhattan Tango (2018) contains some jazz and tango elements that is rare for a J-pop or K-pop artist, also contains some dramatic flair. Her latest JP single, The Greatest (2022) is also catchy and cool with her pop elements. She also shows her darker side with techno elements by her side. Suitable for her 22-year career in both Japan and Korea!

    Kiseki (奇蹟, lit. Miracle)

    First Time

    Lookbook (BoA THE LIVE “Xmas” 2018)

    Manhattan Tango (BoA THE LIVE “Xmas” 2018)

    The Greatest (2022)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. On a related note, FTIsland released a Japanese song late last week, “Door”.
    Sweet Baby hey zeus, Lee Hong ki can really sing. I mean, he just carries and elevates the entire song, almost all by himself. I am not usually the one to go for the whoooah wooooah style sing along, but this song I make an exception.
    I don’t remember what young band earlier this month where I made the point about soundscaping their sound better so they sound like a group and fill the space. Choosing the vocal distribution better instead of ping ponging around line by line. Here, here is FT Island, learn from these sunbaes.


  22. “My My My” – Gfriend, which I prefer to “Fallin’ Light”

    “Swimming Pool” – Red Velvet. A bit cheesy, but winning melodies + crunchy guitar. “Cookie Jar” isn’t bad either .

    “Mannish Chocolat” – BoA. Super random song to be my favorite by BoA, but it is what it is.

    “Ai Wo Choudai” – AOA

    “Wow War Tonight” – AOA. To be fair, it’s a cover.


  23. So glad I’m not the only one who adores SNSD’s Japanese discography. I’m in agreement with SKARSY’s comment in that I think it may even be stronger than their Korean discography. SHINee’s Japanese discography is also very strong. “Kimi no sei de” is a personal favorite of mine. I also agree that the whole of EXO’s “Countdown” album is fantastic.

    A couple other more random personal favorites:

    “Addicted” and “Get You Alone” by Baekhyun
    “Traveler” by Super Junior-K.R.Y.
    “Sappy” by Red Velvet
    “Celebration (Kimi Ni Kakeru Hashi)” by Kyuhyun
    “Kimi Ga Naitara” by Super Junior-D&E
    “Girl Problems” by EXO-CBX

    Well shoot…those are all SM artists…

    Great discussion, and I’m excited to check out all of this new (to me) music! New music to check out always makes me happy. Been lurking around for about a year and finally decided to jump into the conversation.


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