2016 wasn’t a great year for k-pop but let’s focus on some positives with a list of my personal favourites from this year.
Title Track Free Somebody – Luna
A criminally underrated song. I still can’t believe so many people slept on this bop.
Music Video Fantasy – Fei
This may be a surprising choice for best MV but hear me out. The futuristic neon vibe this gives off is amazing and matches perfectly with the sexy electro beats. The whole plot of this MV is that he is effectively watching VR as a replacement for going to – lets say a strip club. And without getting too deep I kind of see the whole MV as a comment on people getting too caught up with fictitious idylls shown in porn and media in general that it starts creeping into their perception of reality, as it does to the guy in this MV, although it is only a ‘fantasy’.
Album A’wesome – Hyuna
If you weren’t into ‘How’s This’ (the title track) don’t be put off this quality album. Literally all her songs in this album are bops – I recommend U & Me, Morning Glory and Wolf (actual sex).
When I heard SHINee were doing a 90s concept I was like ‘oh cute they’ll wear 90s clothes’ – but they really went the extra mile with this one. The dance moves, beats, clothes, and even the colouring of the MV scream 90s – it’s always refreshing to see a k-pop group daring to approach a concept which is not currently popular.
These boys have only been improving since their debut track, and they 100% owned 2016 with Blood, Sweat and Tears as well as an incredibly solid album (‘Wings’). Their discography for this year is pretty outstanding in comparison to most k-pop groups who only release 7 tracks per album and generally stick to mini albums. I’m honestly amazed that all their tracks are such high quality considering how much there is (there are numerous ones that could have been title tracks). My recommendations from ‘Wings’ – Begin, Lie, Lost, 21st Century Girl.
Soloist Lee Hi
It’s been 3 years since her last album but finally it’s here!! Lee Hi’s powerful and original vocals are shown off beautifully in her new album Seoulite. The jazzy beats of songs such as Hold My Hand, My Star and Video really work well with her unique voice. Have I mentioned how good she sounds in this album yet? Because she really does. My recommendations from ‘Seoulite’ – Official, Fuck with Us, Up All Night.
The way he treated 2NE1 and Taehyun (from Winner), both hugely successful groups mind you who I’m sure got him a lot of cash, was appalling. So this song is for you YG.
Aha! I bet you thought I was going to put BLACKPINK. And while they were definitely made an impressive debut, K.A.R.D snuck in as best rookie. I mean come on, we have finally got a promising co-ed group, which doesn’t solely rely on being a co-ed to sell its tracks. Also how much attention they have gotten despite having barely any publicity and being from a smaller company shows how strong this debut track is. ‘Oh NaNa’ is catchy, has a sexy dance, and I’m incredibly excited to see what K.A.R.D have in store for 2017.
Dance Drip Drop – Taemin
Taemin is one of the strongest dancers in k-pop and he definitely proved his point in this beautifully shot dance MV to ‘Drip Drop’. I may be a little biased because of how much I like this song, but the dance is so crisp and well choreographed with the other dancers that it just won me over.