bi·as (ˈbīəs) noun – prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
In the world of kpop, bias is a very real thing. Bias lists, bias groups, bias members. Once you get deep into the genre, it’s impossible to ignore. That’s why I’ve built it right into my review criteria. Given that this site will primarily focus on kpop reviews and recommendations, I’ve set a few ground rules, which will hopefully let you know a little bit more about where I’m coming from.
- I like what I like – Yes, I’ll try to be objective, but there are just certain aspects of music that I prefer over others and my posts wouldn’t be authentic if I ignored this. If you followed my previous blog, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for dramatic, bombastic production and that I will always favor melody over everything else, especially if it happens to be an anthemic one. As far as kpop goes, Infinite is my ultimate bias group and if you give me anything Sweetune-produced, I’m a happy camper. My own personal prejudices will be reflected in the “bias” portion of my rating.
- I’m allowed to change my mind – I like to think that, after a few listens to a song, I’m generally pretty good at deciding how I’m going to feel about it in the long run. That said, there are always a few tracks that end up being growers and, months after release, become some of my favorite songs of the year. This happened in 2015 with Shinee’s View and Bigbang’s Bang Bang Bang, in particular. Because of this, the “longevity” portion of my rating is the hardest to assign a number to. Doesn’t mean I won’t try!
- I’ll probably slip in some music from other Asian countries from time to time – Part of the reason why I launched a new blog after a decade of writing my old one is that I wanted to narrow my focus. There’s no way to be sure, and I imagine this blog will be 95% kpop, but there are a few (like, four or five) jpop groups I follow, and I desperately want to get into more cpop. So don’t be surprised if the random Japanese act pops up from time to time. I promise it’ll be worth it.
A little about me
As I mentioned before, I wanted to launch this blog because, after ten years working on my previous one (#1 Hits From Another Planet), I realized that my musical tastes have changed so much. When I first started, I wrote about mostly European pop and rock, focusing on more obscure bands with sounds that matched my taste. When I first got into kpop in 2012, I started introducing it to the blog little by little. This past year, the bulk of my posting has been about kpop and it just seemed wrong to continue along those lines with a hodgepodge blog that didn’t really have much of a focus. So here I am, starting from scratch, but bringing a decade of experience with me.
**UPDATE 6-30-20: I feel like this whole page probably needs to be retooled at some point, but for now I want to link two extra posts that will give you a greater sense of my history as a music fan:
From Savage Garden to Golden Child: My Pop Music Timeline
A Love Letter to Japan’s Late-90’s Techno Trance Craze
My rating criteria
Scores are on a 1-10 scale, and I tend to be a pretty positive reviewer so 1’s and 2’s will be quite rare.
Hooks – This refers to anything vocally related, like melody or rap. I wanted to call it “hooks” because kpop really is a cauldron of mixed performance styles. Many times, these tracks aren’t just your everyday pop song.
Production – This refers to anything instrumental, including a song’s beat and stylistic choices.
Longevity – This is me trying to guess how a song’s going to age based on my own taste. Sometimes it’ll be a bit of a crapshoot, but I think we all recognize a one-hit wonder or flash in the pan when we hear one.
Bias – This part is me throwing out objectivity and assigning a score based on how strongly a song aligns with my personal taste. Hopefully, you’ll find that our tastes overlap some bit. If not, I hope you’ll enjoy reading a differing opinion!
And finally, a handy little guide to what my scoring means as to a song’s merit!
I´m glad that you decided to create this blog.We have very similar tastes when it comes to kpop and I enjoyed your perspective (sweetune massive fan over here too!). In fact I checked your retrospectives section and you had beast and infinite there , exactly my two favourite boygroups. The videos were very usefull because Im going to see infinite in my city two weeks from now and a friend that is coming with me only knew BAD so it was a helpful guide for her.
Also please please please don´t forget #1 hits from another planet. There are not a lot of sites that post the kind of pop music that I like in the west, you were my primary source, no kidding.
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Where are you seeing Infinite? I’m seeing them in LA and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll make sure to write up a post sometime afterwards.
As for #1 Hits, it’s hard to say what I’ll end up doing. The problem is, for the last year or two there just hasn’t been a lot of western music that’s interested me and it’s been harder and harder to have an opinion about it. But if something really awesome does come along, you never know…
Also, I’m honored that I was your primary source!!
not same country: mexico city hahah. They came here for the music bank in 2014 but I couldnt go so I am very excited that i would be able to attend their solo concert.
I understand your point about the western music and the fact that you want to write about what you like . I also find kpop much more enjoyable, I guess is just a matter of taste.
Hi!I just came across you blog….actually, I’ve probably been on here for about an hour now, and I think it’s just great. We have very similar tastes and opinions, and your views are very honest and interesting to read. I love seeing all the Jpop on here too! Keep being awesome and I’ll continue to creep about your blog. *laughs* ^^
Thanks for the kind words, Mahdee! I’m still a new site so hearing any feedback like this really makes my day. Visit (and comment) often… and spread the word!!
Hello! I just found your blog when I randomly searched for Infinite – That Summer (Second Story) and came across your review. And what a pleasant surprise to know that you’re also a fellow Inspirit! I feel that Infinite is tremendously underrated and finding a reviewer with a similar taste in music as I am is pure golden. 😀
I also noticed that you’re into NEWS too. They’re one of my favorites in the J-Pop act. You might also want to check out Aqua Timez and V6. V6 definitely ranked first in my J-bias list (probably because they had sentimental values to me) and Aqua Timez comes to a close second. I think they’ll probably be to your liking since we almost have similar taste.
Thanks for the blog! I had fun reading your reviews 😀
Awesome! I’ve heard of V6 but haven’t really checked out their music. And I haven’t even heard of Aqua Timez! I’m excited to check them out. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Hey, we’ve got pretty similar taste, and I find your analysis of the songs really interesting! I came here for Infinite, but have been trawling through the rest of your articles for new things to listen to, so thank you for some great recommendations!
Thanks for the kind words. Hope you’ll continue to visit!
I’ve discovered your blog through another one and find myself appreciating your reviews and your top tens.
I noticed and read about your enjoyment for Sweetune, the same as mine since a long time now (big fan of Nine Muses, Infinite or Kara songs for instance). I allow myself to promote a video that I made on Youtube 2 years ago about Sweetune’s works.
It’s not in English (i’m not a native speaker) nor does it include their recent works but seeing you enjoying their songs, I hope you could enjoy it as well.
The video is titled : “Sweetune [Kpop composers]”.
On this channel I also have multiple tops and rankings about songs, and I’ve noticed you seem to like doing the same thing as well.
I’ve been longing to create a blog to extend the visual side of the videos, which can be frustating because they don’t allow in-depth explanations, and you actually inspire me to create one.
Well enough of the rambling ahah.
Have a nice day ! Hope you continue the blog ! (I may comment on some posts if I remind myself)
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Love your blog! just discovered it and love all the song and greater kpop world analysis! Can’t wait to see what you think of the new SNSD and Winner songs. We have some similar tastes (I just reindulged in Crooked and Lonely which are both in my top 10 favourite kpop songs of all time, Crooked arguable number 1…and I’m seeing GD in concert next week 🙂
Fantastic! My SNSD and Winner reviews went up today. Have fun at the concert 🙂
Hi! I’m usually a lurker, but I just had to tell you that your blog is amazing and keep it up! I am actually getting back into Kpop after years of not listening to both Kpop and Jpop and I hope to go back to those as well. I started listening to Asian pop with the jpop group Arashi, and witnessed the beginnings of Girl’s Generation (I really loved their first few hits as compared to the more bubblegum ones), and I do love artists such as Epik High,Davichi, 2NE1, Big Bang, Utada Hikaru, Perfume and the like, and I was going to start dabbling with FTIsland as CNBlue before I stopped listening to Kpop. initially found your blog as I was looking for a guide to 2PM (this is Junho’s fault because he is a fantastic actor), and your top ten songs per artist are a great guide and a great way to sample their work before diving into it headlong.I also like the way you review songs, as it is a mix of both objectivity and subjectivity.
Also, do you have any recommendations for me, especially as I’m getting back into the groove after a LOOONG hiatus? Any must listens as of late?
I’m also a sucker for artists who have GREAT live performances.
Thank you for the kind post!!! I’m so glad that my top ten lists — biased as they may be — offered a taster course of sorts for your rediscovery of k-pop.
Have you checked out my “top 3 songs of the month” posts? They’re a good summary of what I’ve been into each month and a condensed look at what I would consider to be the cream of the crop over the past couple of years. And, of course, my year-end countdowns are the ultimate retrospective of the site.
As for specific artists, I listen to everything. But as you can probably tell if you’ve been reading my reviews, I’m pretty tired of certain trends within the industry so I tend to seek out songs with a more classic pop sound. The two new-ish groups I really have my eye on lately are Snuper and Golden Child, who both work with my favorite producers Sweetune. Looking at the groups you listed, they might be a bit poppy for your tastes, but Snuper’s Back:Hug and The Star of Stars are definitely worth a shot. As for bigger names, Seventeen and NCT rarely disappoint. GFriend is probably the girl group who has been most consistent for me over the past couple of years, though Red Velvet and BLACKPINK have both put out excellent material as well.
I’ve been listening to a lot of j-pop lately, too. Hey! Say! JUMP, Kis-My-Ft2, AAA, Nissy, etc.
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I have yet to check out your top three of the month and comb through your year ender stuff, but I am looking forward to do so in the future! I somehow regret that I stopped listening to k & j-pop for a long time, as I would have loved to see how everything evolved. I was really big on YG Family back then, and of course, SM Entertainment was just everywhere…so it was interesting getting into 2PM and trying to take a look at JYP. I’ll check out the groups you listed! 😀 My 12 yr old niece, whom I go to fan conventions with, has also been giving me suggestions, and BLACKPINK,Seventeen, and Red Velvet are among her suggestions, alongside others (BTS is her current favorite group), but she also suggested others like Stray Kids, Day 6, Got7, EXID, momoland, DIA, IOI, EXID and Mmamoo. I’ve heard that Shinee is also good, so I might check them out as well, and let’s see. Oh, I also really loved Go Younha because I do like pop-rock. I was starting to explore the older Johnny’s Entertainment groups aside from Arashi (I still have their concert DVDs with me) when Hey!Say!Jump! and Kis-My-Ft2 were starting out. My sister was more of a NEWS fan due to Yamapi. My bias was Nishikido Ryo, which is why I also dabble with Kanjani8. I think I used to listen to AAA as well! I went through a very R&B urban pop-ish phase with jpop and was listening to Crystal Kay, Ito Yuna, Namie Amuro and the like before I stopped listening to Jpop. If, one day, in the future, you’d like to venture out of your comfort zone and explore other Asian pop, try listening to OPM (Original Pinoy Music) from the Philippines. Growing up in the Philippines, I was a big fan of the whole indie pop-rock/alternative music scene, and I still listen to them today. If one day you decide to listen to this genre, let me know, and I’ll send you some suggestions, but I’ll probably be a bit biased to the pop-rock stuff. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions and I apologize for this novel length reply! More power to you!
I have a question. How much shipping fee does KpopMart charge to bulk orders delivering to Philippines? Or could you share some of your order inluding shipping fee for me to estimate? Thank you so much.
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Thank you so much I keep finding new amazing songs here I would’ve never found ❤
Do you have Spotify playlists by any chance?
Sadly no spotify playlists (mostly because I don’t use the service myself).
Some readers have created playlists for my top songs of the year, though. They’re usually embedded on the post for the top ten songs of whichever year you’re interested in.
I’m glad you’re finding new music to love!