K-Pop Risers & Fallers: April 2023

Risers & FallersRather than contain my “Risers and Fallers” feature to a single post in June, I’m going to share a bite-sized version at the end of each month. This will let me account for more songs and make a nice lead-in to the monthly round-up post.

I anticipate most of these ratings adjustments will be negligible: a 0.5 shift here, a 0.25 shift there. But, it’s a fun way to keep track of how my feelings on songs have changed over time – as well as which tracks currently have momentum on my playlist.

And remember, just because a song is marked as a “faller” doesn’t mean I hate it! Falling from a “9” to an “8.75” is no shame. 9+ rated songs occupy a totally different playlist in my music library, so I’m pretty particular about what qualifies. It’s a high bar.

This month’s feature covers the period from March 21st to April 24th.


aespa – Hold On Tight
Rating: 8 → 8.5

CSR – Shining Bright
Rating: 8.5 → 8.75

DRIPPIN – Seven Sins
Rating: 7.75 → 8

IVE – I Am
Rating: 9 → 9.25

IVE – Kitsch *Biggest Riser*
Rating: 7.75 → 8.5

Mark (NCT) – Golden Hour
Rating: 8 → 8.25

Tempest – Dangerous
Rating: 8.75 → 9


CRAXY – Nugudom
Rating: 8 → 7.75

Lee Chaeyeon – Knock
Rating: 8.5 → 8.25

Lee Gikwang (Highlight) – Predator
Rating: 8.75 → 8.5

Rating: 8.75 → 8.5


25 thoughts on “K-Pop Risers & Fallers: April 2023

  1. aespa’s tune came out on March 31st, but if I count it as an April song, then it would be my #1 song of the month. Otherwise, I guess I’d have to go with IVE’s two singles, in an otherwise very weak month. (The worst yet this year, and that’s saying something!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with u that aespa had (unofficially) the best song of the month, but I agree with Nick that this month was the strongest this year. I enjoyed IVE, Nct DJJ, Lee Chaeyeon’s albums

      Liked by 1 person

      • In fact, my favorite song of the month is Lee Chaeyeon’s I Don’t Wanna Know, easily. I was only thinking of official MVs, but if I can include that one, it’s my #1. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kitsch is definitely my bigger riser as well. At first I was like WHAT IS THIS CHORUS?? But now I really appreciate it in the context of the song and especially in comparison to I Am, which is more predictable and pedestrian.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. i am and kitsch have only gotten better and better with age for me. guess imagining your favorite fictional characters were singing the song and creating your own line distribution for them really helps for longevity

    Liked by 7 people

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  5. Not focusing on fallers, but these grew on me:
    Blitzers – Macarena
    Billlie – Eunoia
    Lee Gi-kwang – Predator
    Xikers – Rockstar
    From20 – Bad Revenge

    Liked by 2 people

  6. IVE is in their imperial phase. Their high music quality reminds me of GFRIEND.

    Eleven – Glass Bead

    Great debut. Glass Bead sounds like ITNW while Eleven sounds like Rum Pum Pum.

    Love Dive – Me Gustas Tu

    Their most iconic songs. Hooks after hooks after hooks.

    After Like – Rough

    Contains their best melody YET. Killer instrumental post-chorus.

    I Am – Navillera

    A grand statement of them being top groups.

    Kitsch – Fingertip

    Switch-ups. Fingertip was proven polarizing while Kitsch tops the charts.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. For lack of a rating system of my own, I will define as “risers” songs that I tentatively added to my playlist and managed to stay there🥴:

    NCT DOEJAEJUN- Perfume
    From20- Bad Revenge
    Woodz- Journey (biggest riser after watching his live performances)

    Just for the record: Tantara, Macarena, Sunshower, Iam and Kitsch were basically perfect for me from the very first day the came out👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Honestly, I would have been more surprised if Kitsch did not grow on you. It still has the same addictive quality of all IVE title tracks with a bit of a twist in the chorus, effectively fusing some elements of girl crush while still remaining melodic thanks to the particularly satisfying pre-chorus.

    I actually agree with the drop of Perfume, I think the song needed to be longer to inject more exciting elements to keep it fresh, its replay value right now isn’t the best in consequence to this short length. I still really like it though!

    I AM certainly rose for me when I wasn’t the biggest fan of the chorus at first. I still think it can be stronger but the song as a whole is undeniably great!

    I still have no initiative in me to play Seven Sins from Drippin again. I feel so sad, it is the first title track from them that missed. Also, have you heard of the current controversy about woolim making the Drippin members wear clothes that they are not comfortable with wearing? I hope woolim can do better in the future and realize that they also not doing the best job with the sound and direction Drippin is going in, their album sales have only lowered every single comeback which is highly concerning. I do not want them to disband.

    I’m going to take another listen to Tempest’s Dangerous, seeing how you advocate so strongly for the song!

    Last but not least, Boys Planet’s Hot Summer has surprisingly grown on me a lot. I did shrug it off as a generic Love-shot adjacent boy group song, but something in particular about the vocal delivery of two contestants (now ZeroBaseOne members) Taerae and Ricky, make replay the song again and again and now I’m sort of addicted, even if I will acknowledge that the song is still imperfect, but it is certainly better than what I gave it credit for.

    7 -> 8.5 +

    Jelly Pop has still been going strong! Never gonna get tired of it.

    9 -> 9.5 +

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll take Hot Summer over Love Shot any day. It often feels like groups get shafted when their chorus is nothing but some “na na na” lines, and I never found the specific ones in Love Shot to be at all compelling (the song sort of plods along, I think). Hot Summer at least has a bit more verve to it.

      There was some clip going around a bit back of Taerae singing the chorus alone while some of the others danced (no backing track), and I was kind of floored, honestly. I get that he’s the designated High Note Guy, but give me more of that!! I recommend seeking it out if you haven’t seen it — it’s short, but you can tell he knows how to use his voice.


  9. Blitzers Macarena really ended up as the biggest grower for me. Other than that Kepler’s Giddy also got a huge boost from their lives and Epex’s Sunshower is on thew rise as I expected too from the performances.

    Initially I had wondered if Ive’s I am would be the only highlight of this month – but I have quite a ton of songs I ended up loving and adding to my lists including my fave album of the year so far from Xdinary Heroes – so a strong month with many unexpected risers indeed!


  10. Not gonna lie, for a lot of this month, I was addicted to the BOYS PLANET songs. Those songs were too good to be survival show songs. However, there were still some songs that I listened to on repeat.

    WOODZ – Journey
    7.75 → 9

    BOL4 – FRIEND THE END (Although this wasn’t reviewed, I’m still including it)
    8.5 → 9

    CSR – Shining Bright (I somehow missed this review and so I was late to this song)
    8.5 → 9.25

    Xikers – Tricky House (I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this song at first but it grew on me quite a lot)
    7.5 → 8.25

    IVE – I AM
    8.5 → 9

    I have none.

    This month was surprisingly great.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, what’s the appropriate level of quality for a survival show song? Can’t be too good or they’ll lose their chance of album inclusion/proper promotion, can’t be too bad or they’ll… suck.


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