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!
Betty Who – Weekend
Betty Who’s Big is a great pop album, and Weekend is screaming to become a single. It reminds me of Teenage Dream era Katy Perry – all brash guitars and sugar-coated pop hooks.
Danny Saucedo – Dansa Ensam
Danny Saucedo is back with a huge disco banger. He got the recipe exactly right with this one. Rhythm guitar, icy strings and driving piano chords send the chorus soaring.
Darren Hayes – Euphoric Equation
Savage Garden’s self-titled debut was my very first musical love, so I’ll always check out what the duo’s vocalist Darren Hayes is up to. After ten years away from music, he’s back with his most relentlessly personal and intensely evocative album yet. I selected one of the more instant tracks to feature here, but if you enjoy this, I’d recommend diving into some of the more experimental songs – like the nine-minute standout Hey Matt.
Drew Sycamore – Madonna
It takes guts to name your song after an icon like Madonna. Drew’s version doesn’t sound much like the Material Girl, but its disco groove is its own highlight. Bonus points for the perfectly-placed whip sound effects!
Ellie Goulding – Let It Die
Easy Lover is still one of my favorite pop tracks of the year. Let It Die feels more generic and less exciting, but I still dig the funky electronic beat.
INI – Hero
INI’s vocalists have often been let down by their chant-heavy singles, but this rock-charged collaboration with Wanima (previously featured here) reveals a rowdier, more exciting idol group.
Joel Corry & Tom Grennan – Lionheart (Fearless)
Tom Grennan has been a standout voice in pop this year, and he joins dance producer Joel Corry for a huge EDM track. The hook sounds more than a little like Sia’s Elastic Heart, but that ends up being an asset in this case.
KAT-TUN – Into The Light
In case you missed it, KAT-TUN released their newest single Zero Kara Ichi E on digital services for worldwide listening – a rare move for a Johnny’s group! All three songs are great, but the rousing Into The Light is my personal favorite.
Lil Nas X – Star Walkin’
Lil Nas X veers even more toward pop melodies with the anthemic Star Walkin’. I love the chorus on this one. It has “hit” written all over it.
Ohm Bhandari – Odyssey
Did you all know we have a bonafide musician among our Bias List commenters? Ohm has been creating electronic music for years now and has been kind enough to share it with me. Latest track Odyssey is a house banger that will stick in your head long after listening. To hear more, make sure to check out Ohm’s Spotify page!
Perses – My Time
This new Thai group has taken the K-pop mold and crafted a single that outdoes many actual K-pop groups! My Time is familiar but insanely catchy and super polished.
Shania Twain – Waking Up Dreaming
Being a kid of the 90’s, you know I had The Woman in Me, Come on Over and Up! on repeat in my CD player. It’s so nice to hear Shania back again with her trademark blend of campy fun and lethal pop hooks.
Tove Lo & SG Lewis – Call On Me
This is massive electronic music, with one of my favorite choruses of the past month. Tove Lo excels within these evocative soundscapes crafted by SG Lewis.
8LOOM – Come Again
8LOOM are a fictional idol group from a currently-airing drama, but their “debut” track somehow finds a stronger chorus than many real-life K-pop/J-pop acts!
Ill have to check some of these out? did you listen to Tove Lo and Carly Rae Jepsens new albums in full? I really liked both and surprisingly my fav from Carly’s was “Anxious” aka a bonus track
Love the Tove Lo album. I’m less enthused by Carly’s, but maybe it just needs more time…
more kat-tun to listen to, AND ON APPLE MUSIC??????? sweet! loved “into the light” very much
anyway, since more just dance songs have been revealed, im gonna rank them all. here’s my updated list, complete with my own ratings!
amazing i love it so much omg (10-9): physical – dua lipa (9), stay – the kid laroi & justin bieber (9.5), telephone – lady gaga (9.25), wannabe – itzy (9), toxic – britney spears (10), numb – linkin park (9)
i think its good (8.75-8): locked out of heaven – bruno mars (8), i knew you were trouble – taylor swift (8.75), sweet but psycho – ava max (8.5), love me land – zara larsson (8.25), rather be – clean bandit feat. jess glynne (8.75), boy with luv – bts feat. halsey (8.75), driver’s license – olivia rodrigo (8), psycho – red velvet (8.25), woman – doja cat (8), magic – kylie minogue (8.5), as it was – harry styles (8.25), we dont talk about bruno – encanto (8.5), wouldn’t it be nice – the beach boys (8), danger! high voltage – electric six (8.5), top of the world – shawn mendes (8.75), vleugals – k3 (8.5)
mid (7.75-7): dynamite – bts (7.5), radioactive – imagine dragons (7.75), more – k/da (7.25), heat waves – glass animals (7.75), witch – apashe (feat. alina pash) (7.25), therefore i am – billie eilish (7.5), majesty – apashe (feat. wasiu) (7.75)
no likey (6.75-6): watch out for this (bumaye) – major lazer ft. busy signal , the flexican and fs green (6.75)
go to hell (5.75-): can’t stop the feeling – justin timberlake (5.5), zooby doo – tigermonkey (5.25)
i did not put “if you wanna party” as i haven’t heard the full song yet, but looking at the preview, it does not sound good
WOW! We made it to ‘TheBiasList’ BOIZZZZ. Thank you so much for enjoying my music, I am forever grateful to all my listeners.
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And its on itunes too!
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This isn’t really Global but today I discovered ‘STORY OF US’ by Jo Yuri. HOOLY COW. This song is incredible. I’ve always loved her music but THIS…This is what I wanted from her and this is what her voice needed. Her voice blends with the instrumental so so well.
I am always up for Story of Us appreciation. It’s a legitimate gem of a song. It hits all the checkmarks for a great OST, with its big sound that captures and evokes the emotion of the scenes. Both from the melody (mostly) and Yuri herself (elevates the material) made this song work. It doesn’t feel obvious that it’s an all-English track as well, which kind of amazes me.This is the adult contemporary (at least, how I view that genre, so feel free to cmiiw) that Yuri deserves. Wake One, get her a promoted b-side like this song. So good.
This is the month I discovered Hania Rani. A bit like Philip Glass meets George Winston doing ambient music.
thoughts on midnights? personally it’s a wonderful return to pop taylor swift (reputation, 1989, etc.)
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Taylor Swift is not for me, so I haven’t heard the album beyond a few short samples. The single’s alright, though.
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discovered fujii kaze’s music via his new single grace so that’s been on repeat for me, as well as carly’s new album which i find impeccable.
another new release i quite like is caroline polachek’s sunset, which is a very pretty late summer / ushering fall song that’s a bit too short.
I love Star Walkin’. Dang it if he didn’t make a gaming song that was poignant as hell.
i love your Global Pop edition Nick, it helped me to get some killer tracks for my bad day
I’m happy to hear this!!
Great roundup. Into the Light sounds like it could have fit right on a GFriend album.
As an old alienhits reader, I’d very much appreciate it if these posts continued! Great recommendations 😀
Yay for our dearly departed Alienhits! Haha
My favourites from October this ear included Swan Upon Leda by Hozier, the new 1975 album, October Passed Me By by girl in red, Divine Attack by Babymetal, Midnights by Taylor Swift, and Heartbreak County vol 2 by Gia Woods (who I hugely recommend! She likens herself to a lesbian Lil Nas X and I’d have to agree, fantastic clubby pop songs)