July-August 2008 Overall Thoughts
In addition to my monthly K-pop round-up, I’ve taken a look at my favorite three singles from each month since 2009 and factored them into my ultimate Bias List scorecard, which can be found here.
The problem is, prior to 2009 it becomes harder to find reliable sources for K-pop release dates. I’m going to do the best I can with the information I have, but occasionally I may place a song a month early or late (it becomes even more confusing when you factor in separate release dates for mv and album!). And because K-pop releases were far less prolific fifteen years ago than they are today, I’ve decided to feature two months each week. That gives me more music to choose from and ensures I’m not spotlighting songs I dislike simply because there’s nothing else that came out during that period!
This period of 2008 covers the core summer months and is the most hit-laden stretch I’ve written about yet. If it wasn’t for two of my all-time favorite groups blocking everyone else, some of the honorable mentions could have easily found their way into my top three.
Those aforementioned groups are SHINee and Bigbang. SHINee made a quick comeback after their spring debut, releasing a cover of Danish artist Martin’s Show The World as the re-titled Love Like Oxygen. This served as the title track for the group’s first full-length album and is an early standout in their legendary discography.
Then we have Bigbang, who released two music videos during this period. First is Haru Haru, one of the decade’s greatest K-pop songs. It’s pretty much perfect and makes a strong case for both the group and producer Daishi Dance. The guys also released their hard-hitting collaboration with rock group No Brain. Oh My Friend is a personal favorite of mine. I love when the guys go full-on rock.
In other boy group news, we have the debuts of 2AM and 2PM as well as the underrated Smash, whose Emergency is a fantastic of-its-era K-pop track. SS501 teamed up with Sweetune for Find – another track that could have made my top three if not for SHINee and Bigbang. Shinhwa continued their tenth anniversary blitz, though I’m not a big fan of Destiny Of Love.
Moving on to the ladies, July and August delivered huge hits for iconic soloists Lee Hyori and Uhm Jung Hwa. All three tracks are great, but I have a soft spot for D.I.S.C.O. Girl group Kara continued their run with Sweetune. Rock U isn’t one of my favorite singles from them, but this artist/producer pairing is pretty much foolproof. And, I have to draw your attention to Baby Vox Re.V’s I Believe – a forgotten single that is probably my fourth-place choice. I just love those guitars in the pre-chorus!
Finally, it may not count for my top three placements, but TVXQ released one of their most memorable Japanese singles during this period. Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou is an epic love song.
Ajoo – Paparazzi (ft. Younha & C-Luv) (video)
Baby Vox Re.V – I Believe (video)
Kara – Rock You (video)
Lee Hyori – Hey Mr. Big / U-Go-Girl (ft. Nassun) (video / video)
Smash – Emergency (video)
SS501 – Find (video)
Uhm Jung Hwa – D.I.S.C.O (ft. TOP) (video)
Younha – Gossip Boy / Telepathy (video / video)
2PM – 10 Out Of 10 (video)
Notable J-Pop Releases from K-Pop Acts
TVXQ – Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou (video)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. SHINee – Love Like Oxygen
2. Bigbang – Oh My Friend (ft. No Brain)
1. Bigbang – Haru Haru
Oooh, Lee Hyori’s U-Go-Girl would’ve made my top 3. Another one of those songs that soundtracked my life in China at the time.
U go girl is like THE Hyori song. And as much as it’s been covered no one can quite touch the energy she brings to it herself (I will say that Yuna of ITZY did a cover for a show and I think she came the closest – something about this song NEEDS a soloist vs. a group effort – but it hard to be Hyori when you not Hyori).
More so than just the video and the fun she’s having I love the lyrics so so much. The gentle but firm chastising of ‘you are worrying TOO MUCH so GO GIRL! Be confident and strong in the person you are because she’s already good enough and enjoy your life/have more fun’ is really quite tender. Also the interlude? Always iconic!
Haru Haru is LEGENDARY. I remember in everyone in my middle school knew it and also loved it. It’s still such a fantastic song 15 years later.
Also love Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou :’) I remember the first time I listened to it in 2011 and I fell in love with it immediately… ah, classic songs…
SHAKE YOUR BODY, SAY!
Ok, that D.I.S.C.O songs slaps and feat T.O.P. Is icing on that cake. I always liked disco throwbacks since they capture the energy of that era.
The Lee Hyori and 2pm songs were very sexy. I feel like you don’t get songs like that now a days. I could be wrong.
Love like Oxygen, nice Shinee song. Not one I seek would seek out, but I saw a live performance they did on that songs 6 years later, the vocals and the choreo were great that I liked it a bit better.
I always found Oh My Friend to be such an odd inclusion in the BigBang discography. Not that they hadn’t done rock before that I liked (Dirty Cash), but this song feels weird when comes on when I doing BB marathon. Though I’m more partial to Lies, one can’t deny Haru, Haru is a classic. Really got those emotions coming through the guys voices.