Well, k-pop’s 2013 certainly sucked a huge amount of dick in terms of music quality, definitely a downgrade on 2012, with most established groups releasing songs of incredible suckiness. However, there were also some jewels amongst the turds for those who cared to wade through the manure, and here’s my roundup of the jewels for 2013.
Warning: list has 30 embedded videos and could be lag-heavy on slow computers.
A few things to know about this list:
1. Only feature songs with an accompanying MV are on this list, just to make it interesting, otherwise I’d just link all the songs from f(x)’s “Pink Tape” and IU’s “Modern Times” albums and then call it a day, which would be accurate, but boring.
2. Christmas songs are ineligible for consideration (because they have their own separate blog).
3. Unlike every other goddamn best/worst of 2013 list going, this list is for the full year from January 1st 2013 to December 31st 2013 inclusive (although you may see it come up a few hours before schedule due to timezone differences). Yes I actually waited until the end of the year to publish my list, to give every song fair consideration, imagine that.
4. Obviously this is just my subjective opinion on these matters, and I’ve never met a single person in my lifetime who shared more than about 35% of my overall music taste and opinions, so if you’re violently opposed to anything you’re about to read, don’t worry, so are plenty of other people no doubt. Just because I’m musically educated doesn’t mean that my music taste is any better than yours. Not many people think like I do about this shit so try not to lose your faith in humanity and go on a shooting spree at your local school, or anything like that.
So now that we know you’re (probably) mentally fit to cope with this let’s get started.
30. Sunmi – 24 Hours
Part of the problem with k-pop in 2013 is that so many songs didn’t know what they wanted to be, mixing and matching styles like your drunk aunt at a clothing sale. A mixture of styles isn’t a problem in itself, unless you start blending and mixing styles that don’t really fit together just because they happen to be trendy right now, like the light feel of electro-pop with the heavy feel of dubstep (see: every second k-pop comeback in the last 12 months). JYP being a bit more retro-minded actually got it right though, by going the non-trendy route and inserting a tango breakdown instead and it fucking works, complementing the song beautifully. WUB WUB WUB WUB would have been too much for this beautiful, breathy 80s electro-pop anthem. There’s a lesson here, [every other producer in k-pop ever]!
29. Wassup – Wa$$up
Plenty of people hated this song and probably are wondering right now what the hell it’s doing in my “best” list instead of riding high on the “worst” list… but the reasons why people hate this song mostly have nothing to do with the song itself anyway, which I’m pretty sure most people didn’t even listen to. If you go through the list of objections that people have to “Wa$$up” you get:
1. They promoted their debut song as a “twerking concept“, but there’s no twerking in the MV
2. The MV looks cheaply made
3. The dance moves, fashions and fake tans look ridiculous
4. Some feminist bullshit about the girls being exploited or whatever
5. The video/girls look “trashy”
6. The girls can’t/don’t rap or sing that well
1, 2 and 3 are all true but have nothing to do with the actual song, 4 is just crap because everybody of both genders is exploited in the music business so if you care about that sort of thing just stop listening to music completely you dumb whore, 5 is just you being a cunt because other people are looking hotter and having more fun than you in life and 6 doesn’t matter because it’s not the kind of song that requires proper rapping or singing anyway. Every k-pop song is a soundalike of something, and “Wa$$up” is a soundalike of 80s breakdancing music where the chanted vocals and sub-par rapping was never anything more than just a bit of audio decoration. (Promoting as a “twerk group” was an unfortunate misstep as twerking music is actually a lot more languid and sounds nothing like Wassup’s song.) If you close your eyes while listening to “Wa$$up” and forget about the way it was promoted and the incredible ugliness of the whole thing, what you’ve got is the best 80s-breakdance-movie-inspired k-pop song ever written which actually surpasses a great deal of music from the early 80s breakdancing popularity explosion. If you don’t believe me, go and search some of that original music up and you’ll see what I mean – most of it hasn’t stood the test of time whatsoever, but “Wa$$up” has the same retro feel while also sporting modern updated production – something k-pop is very good at doing.
28. Girl’s Day – Expectation
“Expectation” isn’t Girls Day’s best song, but it’s definitely their best song of 2013 and also one of the best songs that any k-pop group two years old or more has managed to pull out of the hat over the last 12 months. Lots of fuss was made over the sexy video but the well-written melodies, great arrangement (something k-pop really lacked in spades in 2013 thanks to the influence of a certain other song) and Girls Day’s typically synth-heavy audio production were the real stars.
27. Im Chang Jung – Open The Door
A cover of last year’s song “Open The Door” by Wonderboyz, Im Chang Jung’s version improves on the original drastically by keeping more or less the same backing but replacing the standard k-pop idol rapping with actual melodies that are worth listening to, giving the song the extra depth it needs to stand out from the crowd. The MV is funny but also a bit unfortunate as it’s going to draw “Gangnam Style” comparisons – I showed it to a few people who don’t follow k-pop at all and their reactions were all the same: “is this the only type of video Koreans know how to do?”. PSY did k-pop no favours at all when it comes to being taken seriously on the world stage, but then perhaps it’s best that people don’t take this kind of thing too seriously anyway as taking way too much shit way too seriously seems to be a road to mental illness for a lot of k-pop fans. Cheers, Im Chang Jung.
26. Henry – Trap
Believe it or not, a lot of Super Junior fans don’t like Henry, the Canadian/Asian addition to Super Junior’s Chinese/Korean subgroup Super Junior-M. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s just simple-minded racism, or maybe it’s extremely complex and twisted fangirl insanity, or maybe, just maybe, it’s got something to do with Henry debuting with a song better than anything Super Junior themselves have managed to churn out since 2009. A great piano intro and an equally great chorus help this song through some of the duller verse sections, overall it meshes together nicely and the result is the best song SM has given to a male artist this year, by a fairly wide margin.
25. Seungri – Gotta Talk To You
Every member of BigBang released solo stuff in 2013 and most of it was complete fucking crap. Someone actually asked me not long ago which comeback I preferred: G-Dragon, Taeyang or T.O.P to which my reaction was along the lines of “Seungri shat all over them”. How could someone forget about Seungri’s great song? The whole thing both looks and sounds smooth-as-silk, the addition of a snippet from the “Hard Remix” version at the end of the MV is inspired, and the odd bit of sneakily-included fanservice for those keen to relive Seungri’s recent sadomasochistic sexual escapades was surely appreciated by his target audience. It’s all really very fucking good and why YG can’t deliver songs of this quality all the time instead of the devastatingly poor nu-school crap they’ve been churning out for the most part lately I’ll never know. I guess they all want to be “cutting edge” and shit. I wonder how that’s working out for them.
24. After School – Heaven
This song for the Japanese market is what After School’s mundane Korean comeback song “First Love” should have been. The video even includes an intro with the backing track from “First Love”, which shows that the aforementioned song works just fine as an intro to something better but not as an entire standalone song in itself. At the one minute mark the song “Heaven” starts proper and it’s about three times the speed not to mention three times as interesting as anything on After School’s entire “First Love” mini album. I guess After School are saving their decent material for the Japanese yen these days and given the currency exchange rate who can blame them. The song is so good that it almost makes up for the lack of anything worthwhile from Orange Caramel this year. Also it’s great to see my #1 k-pop bias Raina looking good in a sexy concept for a change. Usually when After School goes sexy it suits Raina like an elephant suits a motorcycle so I’m glad they got closer to the mark this time, although she still looks best in Orange Caramel’s preppy school/air hostess/maid jerkoff salon outfits or whatever.
That’s her smiling at you, while you fap. Do it, do it for Raina.
23. Ladies Code – Hate You
I’ll tell you that one song that you won’t find anywhere on this list is Lee Hi’s “Rose”. When it came out I thought “Rose” was decent enough to be a contender for this list, but then nugus Ladies Code released “Hate You” and that was the end of that for Lee Hi. I’m all for soundalikes if they improve on the original (and that’s honestly what idol k-pop is all about and has been ever since its inception) and “Hate You” is basically “Rose 2.0” so Lee Hi can go suck a fat cock (when she’s old enough ahem). Where “Rose” kills the momentum “Hate You” builds it. Where “Rose” drifts off into insipid vocal wank territory “Hate You” sticks to straightforward melodic catchiness. Add a decent (and decently creepy) MV and some girls that are actually of fappable age and it suddenly becomes very hard to justify clicking on that Lee Hi link. Don’t do it. “Hate You” is better. Those of you who do it anyway just to spite me will soon be back, clicking on “Hate You” to wash your ears out with something that actually sounds decent.
22. Lee Jung Hyun – V
I didn’t even know who this fucking woman was so I had to look her up on Wikipedia because I suck. Turns out she’s some actress or whatever and has starred in a bunch of cool stuff, but I don’t really follow actresses so I didn’t know any of that. All I know is that this song fucking rocks. The guitar is an inspired addition and the whole arrangement has a nice economy to it that’s lacking in a lot of pop music lately – it doesn’t fuck around and gets straight down to the business of shaking your ass. Try to listen to this and not move some part of your body along to the beat, good luck. Then tell me that someone who isn’t even on this list at all had a better song this year with a straight face.
21. HISTORY ft. IU – Dreamer
Another nugu group with a shitty name (and not the last one you’ll see on this list), HISTORY’s debut song was actually great and seemed to me like the sort of thing JYP was trying to do with 2pm’s latest songs but didn’t quite manage to pull off. The ambitious Queen-esque vocal harmonies really made this song stand out, and it’s a shame that HISTORY weren’t able to recreate them live, but then neither could Queen, which just goes to show that these sort of things are essentially a studio-only creation anyway. Add to this some genuinely different backings and a building song structure that actually goes somewhere cool instead of hinting at awesomeness and then flatlining halfway through, this was one of the only “structurally experimental” tracks in kpop this year where the experiment actually paid off. Or at least it paid off in terms of the song quality if not sales or whatever, but then I don’t really give a fuck about sales, this list is “favourite k-pop songs” not “most money-felching-from-your-anus k-pop songs”.
20. Nine Muses – Wild
I never followed Nine Muses much, I always thought their songs were kind of failures at least to my ear (whether they were commercial failures or not, I don’t care about, as previously mentioned). Then “Wild” came out and I had to reassess that opinion. I can’t recall exactly what new romantic 80s pop song “Wild” is ripping off, and I don’t really care, because I’m almost certain they’ve done a far superior job than whatever the original is. If I’ve got a choice between a bunch of 80s dudes with permed mullet hairdos, bad eyeliner and denim jeans dancing awkwardly to some pop song with a shithouse over-reverbed 80s mix, or nine ridiculously hot girls singing and dancing in super-coordinated fashion to a soundalike version with more streamlined melodies and arrangements plus sleeker production, that’s an easy choice for me to make. One of the things I like about k-pop that initially made me a fan was that it seemed to take what was good from pop music in the 80s (the focus on melody and harmony carrying the song structure, something that western producers have largely been ignoring since about 1990) and combined it with the things that are good about pop music making in 2013 (better production technology and production fashion). “Wild” is a great example of this. If I completely lost you there, don’t worry – just know that this song is good and that if you missed out on it this year, you should click the video and check it out.
19. f(x) – Rum Pum Pum Pum
Definitely NOT the best song on f(x)’s fantastic “Pink Tape” album, but still one of the best feature tracks of the year, f(x) would have fared even better on this list had SM decided to hand the MV torch over to “Airplane” or “Step“. As it stands “Rum Pum Pum Pum” is still great and something genuinely different for k-pop – a song with oddball modal melodic riffs and no chord progressions at all, yet featuring tons of singing, vocal harmonies everywhere and hardly any rapping. Even more astonishingly, Amber’s token four bars of rapping actually sounds good this time around, or at the very least it’s in Korean this time so as a non-Korean speaker I’m not aware of how cornball and cringeworthy it might be to a native Korean speaker (tru dat, you know she got it). SM’s oddball marketing/song allocation strategy for f(x) seems to be paying off in spades, and I sure as hell breathed a sigh of relief when this song came out and it was actually decent, given how many incredibly disappointing k-pop comebacks it was surrounded by. I then started breathing sighs of a different kind when I saw Sulli in those suspenders and black “geek” shirt.
As if there wasn’t enough reasons to watch the damn video over and over. I didn’t get a lot else done the day that this came out, and it made me feel nostalgic for the days not so long ago where I’d feel this way about a new k-pop song every other week.
18. BESTie – Love Options
This year my “Love Options” increased by one, as another terribly-named nugu group BESTie released one of the best pop songs this year. Oddly enough it came from the pen of Bravesound, the AC-DC/Cannibal Corpse of k-pop producers (in terms of releasing basically the same song over and over and just sticking a new name on it) getting back to their hi-NRG roots and surprising everybody, including their critics and maybe even including themselves. More proof that anyone worrying about their bias and not paying attention to the nugus this year was missing out on where a lot of the quality songs were hiding.
17. Hong Jin Young – Boogie Man
Hong Jin Young is certainly no nugu though, and while this song isn’t quite as good as “Love’s Battery” (especially when the godlike Orange Caramel do it, hnnnnng) it’s definitely a notch up in terms of production and still a pretty fucking good modern-day trot excursion. Also correct me if I’m wrong but is Hong Jin Young not completely sexy as fuck? Look at the age rating on this video in the top right:
She’s so nice that you have to be twelve years old just to look at her in Korea even when she’s fully clothed. My god what does she have to do when she picks her sister’s kids up from school, wear a fucking burqa to stop rivulets of jizz plugging up the school sewer system? Of course this has no bearing on the song quality but I just wanted to mention this.
In other news it says a lot about the sorry state of idol k-pop in 2013 when trot performers are getting so high on this list. THEY’RE CATCHING UP, FOLKS. LIFT YOUR GAME.
16. Rania – Just Go
I imagine by now that the people behind Rania have chalked them up as some kind of failed east/west k-pop hybrid experiment, but there’s no denying that they at least had the songs to succeed. Rania took out the #1 spot on my best-of list for 2012 and while “Just Go” isn’t quite up to that lofty standard it’s still pretty fucking decent and worthy of your time a lot more than whatever other bullshit you were probably highly anticipating this year that fucking sucked. Listen to it and tell me I’m wrong. I was playing this on my radio show the other day and dudes who fucking think k-pop is ridiculous were singing along to the chorus of this shit because they just couldn’t help themselves. If that’s not the sign of a great k-pop song I don’t know what is.
15. SPEED – That’s My Fault
Forget your B.A.Ps, your G-Ds and your Block B’s, CCM’s resident boy group SPEED had the ultimate “midpaced k-pop idol track with a shitload of posey fake-ass tough-guy rapping in it” song this year. Being a non-Korean speaker I’m in no position to talk about rap quality, but I can tell you that this song works for me for these reasons:
1. Producer Dublekick’s typically old-school quirks (clearly chosen to match the song’s historical theme) give the song a nice anthemic quality and help soften the rap pose which would be far too grating with an ultra-modern electropop style production
2. The songwriters sensibly hand chorus duties over to Davichi’s Minkyung, providing much-needed melodic lilt and fapability
3. Did I mention Minkyung is hot
Of course being a CCM release it has a ridiculously high-budget long-ass drama version in two parts that is really good and you should check it out if you haven’t already and you’ve got a free hour or whatever, and some tissues. It’s essentially just a tarted-up rap song, but my god, what a sexy, funky, melody-rich tarting-up it’s gone through. Also Minkyung is hot. Not sure if I mentioned that before or what but it can’t hurt to restate this important point.
14. Delight – Mega Yak
“Mega Yak” from nugus Delight (wtf with these names but whatev) is an aggressive synth-driven face-masher of a song that has a modern sound (maybe a little too modern, I could have done without those “stop” bits and the dubstep drop but hey at least it actually fits for once), vocal excursions that aren’t wanky enough to sink the ship, tons of variety in a short timeframe, and most importantly it sounds FUN, goddammit. I consider that cap the k-pop equivalent of Public Enemy wearing clocks all the fucking time, because just like rap fans needed to be reminded “what mo’fuckin’ time it is”, K-pop fans need to get seriously reacquainted with the concept of fun. FUN is something that so many k-pop fans have forgotten how to have, what with their endless whining about “where’s my comeback” when their favourite group comes back every 18 months bare minimum, “why is she wearing that” when she’ll wear something completely different tomorrow, “my bias didn’t get enough singing parts” when they all sound the fucking same anyway, “I can’t listen to that group anymore because they’re so fake” when the entire fucking music industry worldwide is based on illusion, etc etc. Pop music is supposed to be about fun, so have some and stop being a cunt about everything. Listening to this song will help, or maybe it’ll just make your ears bleed, but that’s a win/win as far as I’m concerned.
13. Tiny-G – Miss You
When Tiny-G first appeared at the end of last year, I thought to myself that surely “short” isn’t a great concept for a k-pop group. To get a picture of how short they are, here’s Tiny-G standing next to Nine Muses. Given this selection, would YOU pick one of the girls in the front?
…but then I realised how many insanely devoted Boram fans there are and thought “hmmm… I guess this could work – but they’ll definitely need better songs in the future”. “Miss You” is one of those better songs, and has one of the most insanely catchy choruses of 2013. You’ll be singing this fucker in your head long after the song is over. Even more astonishingly, the girls look hot in the video, but I guess that’s due to the same size differential effect that the AV industry exploits – male pornstars tend to be short because average penis size doesn’t decrease with height, so people who look resoundingly “meh” in real life can often look great on camera as long as you don’t stand them next to incredibly tall people. Fuck it – all aboard the Boram Express.
12. Global Icon – Beatles
2NE1, you’ve officially reached your use-by date, go home. Some nugu group nobody even gives a fuck about just out-2NE1’ed your last two years worth of back catalogue. Not to be outdone by Delight in the “hey our group name is stupid and our debut song name is ever stupider” stakes, 2013 newbies Global Icon (commonly and wisely shortened to just “GI”) committed marketing double-suicide straight out of the gate with both a “tomboy” concept and a band and song name designed to be as Google search-unfriendly as possible. People can argue all day about the gender politics and fapability of this group’s image but at the end of the day “Beatles” was a great moody little dance song (those sonar ping and wind noises plus a rare example of intelligent use of hard Autotune all doing wonders to enhance the ambience and therefore the mood) and that’s what matters for this list. It’s a pity GI didn’t follow it up with anything worth a damn.
11. T-ara – Number Nine
Having now accepted their true calling as the Howard Stern of k-pop, T-ara’s “Number Nine” MV shows the group engaged in various esoteric magic rituals designed to curse netizens with the fate of never having any power over the group ever again or amounting to anything worthwhile in life… who am I kidding, netizens already have that destiny clearly mapped out for them. But more importantly, “Number Nine” is a typical Shinsadong Tiger dancefloor stomper as good as last year’s “Sexy Love” and while the pop-cultural reference and true meaning of the song sailed right over most people’s heads, this song undisputably rocked and that was all that mattered.
10. Nine Muses – Gun
Another song from Nine Muses which sneakily borrows from an 80s pop song that I can’t recall, but once again who gives a fuck when the result is this good. It’s nice to hear a pop production where the songwriter isn’t scared of the guitar carrying a bit of melodic riffing, and with quality songs like these Nine Muses are going to easily eclipse a certain other nine-member girl group, who certainly didn’t put out anything even close to this standard in 2013.
9. SPEED – It’s Over
It’s rare for a song from a guy group to climb this high in my favourite songs list, but a quick bit of research showed that Shinsadong Tiger wrote the thing so I guess I shouldn’t be shocked. I think that maybe he uses that time while his car is parked for two idols to fuck in as extra practice time to hone his songwriting and production craft. He’s probably got a portable keyboard under the dash and when Xiumin rails Chorong up the butthole in the back seat he’s there in the driver’s cabin trying to ascertain the pitch of her screams and making melodies out of the result. It’s possible, but however he’s doing it, it certainly works and definitely explains the phrase “it’s over, it’s over tonight” which is probably what Chorong said when Xiumin came and accidentally got some jizz up her nose. I’m really not into guy groups at all but I’ll make an exception for a great song no matter what, and “It’s Over” won me with an infectious chorus, a cool Tron-esque music video, great driving rhythms, a breakdown that actually makes sense, and Minkyung from Davichi being hot (again). This is basically 2PM’s “Again And Again” except punchy and tough instead of limp-wristed and boring.
8. T-ara – Do You Know Me?
Let’s start off by getting one thing straight that confused a lot of people when this came out; the MV above is actually for two completely separate (but related) songs. The song “Do You Know Me?” starts at 3:25, and the slow track that begins at 0:05 is actually “Again 1977”, which is essentially the “ballad remix”. I can confirm that these are intended as separate songs as I have the “Again 1977” mini-album and that’s how they appear there, as two separate tracks which are not segued. I don’t really care for slow-ass ballads so “Again 1977” can go jump in a lake for all I care, but “Do You Know Me?” is classic T-ara of Wae Ireoni standard and if that’s not good enough for you then I guess it must suck to be you.
7. Tren-D – Candy Boy
Here’s one I bet you didn’t expect and mostly didn’t even know about. When I first clicked on this I didn’t expect such an awesome song either, but then that’s why I trawl the nugu videos, to find shit like this. This would have been a massive hit if an established group did it instead of some girls who are so unknown that they can roller-blade and dance outdoors with cameras around and everybody just gets the hell out of their way and clears right the fuck out in an orderly fashion. This song would have sat very nicely on a Crayon Pop album, and while I don’t want to be one of those annoying “this song that I like should have gotten more attention wah wah wah” cunts, this song that I like should have gotten more attention. Wah wah wah.
6. IU – The Red Shoes
If the opening track from IU’s great “Modern Times” album “Love Of B” was the feature track with the MV it may have nearly snaffled the number #1 spot for best song, but whoever makes the decisions at Loen HQ went with “The Red Shoes” instead and it’s certainly not a bad second choice. Of course, lots of ludicrous plagiarism controversies then ensued, which were all fucking retarded because IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE A RETRO ALBUM THAT SOUNDS LIKE 30s AND 40s MUSIC, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT YOU DUMB SHITS. Music back then was actually a lot more derivative than it is now, how do you think it even developed into what we have today, by people copying and adding minor variations, not in massive huge leaps. Pop music evolves slowly. Anyway those people with a working brain cell didn’t worry about any of that crap and just listened to “The Red Shoes” and enjoyed it, and what a great song it is – the verses are a little dull but that chorus makes up for it and has got to be just about the chorus of the fucking year and way better than anything else IU has done… ever, really. Except some of the other tracks on “Modern Times”.
5. T-ara & The Seeya & F-ve Dolls & SPEED – Painkiller
CCM are scooping up a lot of the “best” category this year and it’s because their favoured songwriters still largely seem to know how to write music and aren’t suckling at the withered teats of “dubstep drop 101”, “pointless structural fuckery”, “let’s add this fucking annoying synth noise for no reason” and other ridiculous trendy bullshit like everybody else was in 2013. In this collaboration song, they demonstrate how to do a ballad right – by speeding the fucker up until it’s not really a ballad anymore. Ahhh, clever. Not to mention the vocals are economical – if someone like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey got hold of a song like this it’d probably go at about 35 BPM, be full of semi-improvisational wank and would make you want to bash yourself to death with a shovel. Just sing the melodies the way the composer wrote them you fucking twits. Masturbation is nothing to be ashamed of but it’s also nothing to be particularly proud of, and just because you can do it doesn’t mean the whole world wants to watch and hear. In this song the CCM boys and girls show all those diva vocalists how music as opposed to vocal masturbation is actually made and the net result is a quasi-ballad that is not only listenable but one of the songs of the year.
4. EvoL – Get Up
I could be just a little biased here because EvoL have a Australian member in the group (Hayana, who sings at 0:49), but then I really wasn’t impressed at all with this relatively nugu group’s 2012 debut song “We Are A Bit Different“, so maybe not. “Get Up” is a vast improvement though, it has just about everything a girl group song needs:
1. Hot girls
2. Implied castration
3. Some chick who sounds like Zelo from B.A.P’s sister
4. Punchy sounds
5. Less than 3 minutes in length
The last one is important. Better to cut it a little short and leave people wanting more, than to drag on and make every fucker sick of it. Something a lot of other pop songwriters could learn. One of the main reason I hate on ballads so much besides vocal masturbation is song length. If you cram the same amount of lyrics into a slower song, the song goes longer and gets more boring. This song is rocking and EvoL keep it short, sharp and shiny so the punchy but repetitive rhythms and melodies don’t overstay their welcome. It’s a perfect length for a song like this.
3. F-ve Dolls – Can You Love Me?
Formerly 5Dolls, they’re now called F-ve Dolls because there’s now six of them, so they can’t use the number five anymore, so they’ve censored out a letter to make it more accurate, get it? Haphazard k-pop naming logic prevails, nevertheless the outstanding quality of the recently reconfigured F-ve Dolls “First Love” mini album is one of the best kept secrets of k-pop. Apart from the screechy and unlistenable Roly Poly clone “Soulmate #1“, every song on it is gold. With the second feature track “Can You Love Me?” F-ve Dolls made redundant about 50% of all girl group’s entire back-catalogues with the kind of ultra-light and breezy suspended harmony floating groove that Apink and Secret always threatened to do but never quite managed. Then just when you think the song can’t get any more awesome, underage whipping-post and cyberbullying target of every k-pop fan ever T-ara N4’s Dani appears and drops a fast yet silky-smooth vocal melody (which isn’t a rap – the notes are pitched) that FLOATS OVER THE TOP OF THAT SHIT LIKE A FUCKING DOVE FROM THE HEAVENS. By the time the second chorus kicks in this song has scored so many goals that all that’s left to do is masturbate over new member Seunghee who has boosted the average attractiveness rating of this group by something like 1500%.
KKS, all is forgiven: keep adding extra members to your groups all you fucking want.
2. GLAM – In Front Of The Mirror
Since modern idol k-pop is sucking incredible amounts of horse rectum lately to the point where trot performers can actually realistically compete and release better material, it’s only logical that some bright k-pop composer out there try and incorporate a bit of the trot sound into idol k-pop itself. Good thinking as it happens, and nugus GLAM are the ones to benefit. Their debut song “I Like That” was nothing special (although it did contain some outstanding choreography which is something that girl groups typically lack compared to their male counterparts), but “In Front Of The Mirror” is just fucking outstanding and packed full of great melody and harmony, not to mention lyrics which are actually smart and touching rather than just sappy – a true rarity. Also the first k-pop MV I’ve seen to be honest about bra pads, Sistar take note.
1. Crayon Pop – 1,2,3,4
You, right now: “Oh of course, Kpopalypse, I knew you were finally going to mention Crayon Pop, and yes, BarBa… wait, THIS ISN’T BARBARBAR! WHERE’S BARBARBAR YOU CUNT? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SONG? WHAT KIND OF PRANK IS THIS?”
You, in five minutes: “HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS, THANK YOU KPOPALYPSE IT’S SO FUN AND SO BEAUTIFUL WITH THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF CHANTING FUN, GREAT MELODY AND HARMONY, I THINK I’M GOING TO CRY *SOB SNIFF* POP MUSIC WILL NEVER BE THIS GOOD EVER AGAIN, I’M GOING TO KILL MYSELF BECAUSE I CAN’T STAND TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE MUSIC WILL BE ALL DOWNHILL FROM THIS POINT RIGHT NOW, BUT FIRST I’LL LISTEN TO THIS SONG ANOTHER 39625 TIMES”
To be honest I didn’t know about “1, 2, 3, 4” either until someone threw me a link on my ask.fm (one of the reasons I still have the thing) so thank you very much to whoever it was who did that, it was worth wading through 1000 questions to get to yours. As it happens this song has been around for a while but never released or promoted properly in Korea as far as I can tell, however it got a Japanese MV release earlier in 2013 just before the “BarBarBar” explosion hit. Avid Crayon Pop fans will know that “BarBarBar“, while decent, is actually Crayon Pop’s worst song and that all their other songs are better. None of them got onto my 2012 best-of list because of the stiff competition last year, but had “Bing Bing“, “Dancing Queen” or “Saturday Night” been initially released in 2013 they would have all hit the higher end of this chart with little effort, such has been the dip in quality across the board. Here’s hoping for a better 2014!
Anyway that’s it, thanks for supporting Kpopalypse over 2013 by reading my crap, don’t forget to leave me some hate mail, and also check out the worst songs list too if you haven’t already and you think you can handle it. Cheers!
17 thoughts on “KPOPALYPSE’s 30 favourite k-pop songs of 2013”
It took me a few days to read this. I really wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. Stnadout songs on the list for me are24 hours, Open The Door, V, Just Go, Number Nine and It’s Over. Happy New Year btw! Here’s hoping that they’ll be some really good Kpop songs.
We’ll see! In any event it would be hard to be worse than 2013. I’m cautiously optimistic.
T-ara’s do you know me and painkiller sucks big time
This is a considerably old post, but I just wanted to say I totally agree with you on the Wassup (Wa$$up..?) song. I honestly wasn’t even aware of the group. I found their album on sale at my local kpop haunt about a month ago and gave it a go and I genuinely liked them. Had no idea they had that much backlash till I went to the MV and read the comments. Was expecting more positive remarks but this is the internetz so not too shocked there.
F(x)’s Pink Tape was my best album purchase of 2013, and till today remains as one of the best albums I own. Shadow is immensely quirky/fun, and Airplane is pretty much a masterpiece to me. The amount of brilliance in that song is incredible.
Afterschool is personally my favourite group, and I have to say they really knocked it out of the park with their Japanese stuff. Especially since Kaeun is really starting to come into her own these days. If only they had the same quality of Heaven and Ms. Independent in their korean releases….
All in all, great list! I’m a new reader, and you bet I’ll be coming back again. Cheers, and sorry for the long post!
Hey I’m the master of tl;dr, I don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to telling people for posting too many words! Glad you liked!
I’m a big fan of T ara and Crayon Pop so I was glad to see they are not being excluded. Thank you for the honesty, however blunt. LOL!
I’m interested that the Crayon pop was on the list. It’s more JPOP-y. Do you listen to JPOP much? I thought this song was quite similar to a lot of E-GIRLS’ stuff
I think 99.9% of j-pop is quite awful to be honest, that’s why I’m Kpopalypse, not Jpopalypse!
I also thought that 1, 2, 3, 4 sounded more like J-pop. That was an odd choice. Thanks for reminding me of Candy Boy, I had already listened to it but had forgotten its greatness.
And that Hi NRG inspired song, I was expecting something like that! Too bad I never bother to check nugu groups.
Well, that’s part of what I’m here for! You’re welcome!
thanks for expanding my k-pop horizons, I had never seen most of these nugu groups.
I would have rated ‘Heaven’ higher than you did, but then I thought the ‘First Love’ album was consistently strong.
nothing from B.E.G.’s ‘Black Box’? ‘Recipe’ slays it!
It didn’t have an MV so it wasn’t eligible.
“…I can’t recall exactly what new romantic 80s pop song “Wild” is ripping off, and I don’t really care, because I’m almost certain they’ve done a far superior job than whatever the original is…
“Ashley” mentioned the song “Listen to Your Heart” – presumably by Roxette – in the comments for the “Wild” Youtube official video. Was this the song you were referring to?
Yes this is it – thanks! I got it wrong with “80s New Romantic” though, Roxette were slightly later.
no BAP ? I liked one shot and badman
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