Welcome to Kpopalypse’s honourable and dishonourable mentions list for 2018! Read on to find out which songs from 2018 just missed out on being featured in Kpopalypse’s best and worst song lists!
The following are all songs that were good, but not quite good enough to get into my 30 favourites for 2018. There is also, below this, an equal amount of “dishonourable mentions”, songs that were pretty shit, but not bad enough to hit my worst 30 songs of the year. Please note:
- Songs are sorted alphabetically by artist, not order of preference
- This list is feature tracks only, either with an MV, or that were songs that were promoted on music shows or released as a single
- This list is pure personal preference only, it does not factor in chart success, popularity, cultural relevance etc
- Your opinions may (and probably will) differ, and that’s okay – my opinion is not important
Blackpink – Ddu-du Ddu-du
The languid beat doesn’t impress on modest equipment, and everything about the vocals is basically for idiots, but crank it up to jet-engine volume through a club PA and YG’s typical cringe sloganeering ra-ra bullshit suddenly makes good sense because it really does sound like “another banger” when all you can hear is OOBBZZZ ZBZBZBZBZZZKKKK KKKKK KSSSSZSZSSZ. It’s definitely a song successfully optimised for a nightclub environment, with ultra-sparse production in effect so the subs can occupy about 90% of the sonic room without masking too much else in the mix. YG’s audio engineers are the best in k-pop right now and prove here that they’re capable of salvaging the most boneheaded non-ideas that everyone else in their production team has, making this song not the best of the year but certainly the one with the highest levels of “boom ass“.
BOL4 – Travel
Can these two girls like stop changing their name five different ways each comeback, what’s the bet they have yet another name to add to the pile in two years, it’s like they’re deliberately trying to give their English-speaking fanbase the slip. I like the song though, it’s just a little bit more rock-based than what they usually do, plus the singer has maybe discovered two extra notes, which would be annoying for most k-pop idols who already sing far too many but is welcome here given that she only knew about three before. Pity about the terrible lyrics that sound like a cheesy holiday brochure but then the song is called “Travel” so at least it does what it says on the box.
CLC – Black Dress
That hard rhythm and descending keyboard riff is what really makes this song. Everybody loves a good downward bendy riff and this song has one, and the songwriter wisely sticks it front-and-center in the chorus to take over everything, leaving the actual singing to just kind of fill in the gaps. Not sure where Cube were hiding this cool shit all this time but it would have been nice for the girls if they had brought this song out maybe half a dozen comebacks ago.
Dreamnote – Dream Note
Apparently this song was written by the same people behind Twice’s “Yes Or Yes“, but while that song only suggested lack of consent, “Dream Note” actually delivers on the threat with a shrill aural assault that I definitely didn’t agree to before hitting play. This has got to be one of the fucking screechiest songs I’ve ever heard in k-pop, but it’s also got one of the best choruses that I’ve ever heard in k-pop too, so like the protagonist in President Yukino after her fifth time working in the idol bar I started to be into it after a while.
Gfriend – Time For The Moon Night
A lot of people asked me what I thought of this song and got really pissy when I wouldn’t tell them straight away, so I just kept on not telling them for laughs, but come on – as if I wasn’t going to like it. It’s a little bit more musically involved than most of their songs and that’s actually a bad thing, as it muddies their sound up with too much complexity in the harmony that chips away a little at what makes their better songs really work, but it’s not a huge issue or anything and it still gets over the line no problem, even if the snare drum sounds like someone getting their ass slapped by Seungri’s damp crusty towel.
HeyGirls – Follow Me
Here’s some nugus proving that you don’t need large amounts of money to have a cool electro reggae-lite track. Not only that but the song also has an equally cool eh-eh-eh-eh part in it that’s better than any 2NE1 song since about 2012. They look pretty outstanding too given the obvious money constraints happening here. Also, am I just imagining it or are these girls just a little bit thiccer than average for a k-pop group. Someone please research this important issue thank you.
Kid Milli – Why Do Fuckbois Hang Out On The Net
The “love is all I got, love is all I need” interlude is shit, and wrecks everything about this song, killing both the groove and the atmosphere completely. Why would you even insert a bullshit part like that in a song like this, could he have actually made it any more crap. Everything else about this song is fucking cool as fuck though so even though the crap bits are a total waste of time I can take a quick piss or start the microwave up or whatever during the shit section and come back for the “boom ass” parts in the song that matter. Mind you nothing about this song is better than the Anal Cunt-esque title and if you really could judge a tune by its name this would be track of the year.
Loona – Favorite
There were two things people didn’t like about “Favourite”, the line distribution and the fact that the video just had the girls dancing and nothing else. This tells me that k-pop fans are dumb across the board. As the first complete Loona song, having the girls across a bland background was the point – the agency wants nothing to distract you. The message is that the girls all being together finally is the event that you should be excited about and that nothing more visually is required or needed. As for line distribution, the song is way too overcrowded with vocals already thanks to them trying to shoehorn twelve girls into a song that really would have benefited from a more present backing track instead. If anything they should have given your Loona bias even less than the four seconds they already got, that would have improved the song greatly. Still, I’ll take a Loona song with flaws over most music this year and you’d better appreciate it because some people in some third-world country that only clicks on Kpopalypse blog once per year probably died for this.
Momoland – BAAM
Just like with relationships, with chart success timing is everything and it’s literally an impossible thing to always get right because there are so many factors involved. So sometimes it’s better to just not take chances, go to a known decent songwriter, play them your smash hit and say “I’ll have another one of these thanks”. “Bboom Bboom” was pretty good, but its obvious sequel “BAAM” was better, certainly the same type of song but fused with the sort of sound that T-ara was being given from “Sexy Love” onward instead of that stupid song from EXID. The only reason why people like “Bboom Bboom” more is because it came first, so by the time the sequel rolled around they were already a bit sick of the formula, but if the order had been swapped most people would feel the same way about “BAAM” as they currently do about “Bboom Bboom”, and vice versa. Fight me.
Jang Moonbok – Red
Moonbok raps smooth and looks great, clearly upstaging everyone else in his group despite being dwarfed by them, but none of what he’s doing would work all that well without that excellently moody off-beat guitar chord sequence hammering away in the background nailing everything down to the beat. I know there are other guys in this song but I didn’t list them because Moonbok outshines them all completely so fuck it.
Pentagon – Shine
Really, the only good thing about this song is that piano riff, but it’s such a good riff that it doesn’t even matter that much what the fuck else the song does. If you took those few cycling piano notes away, like in a remix or something, you’d actually ruin the whole song, because it’s the counterpoint between that little riff and the typical boring boy-vocals that are going on everywhere else that makes the song take off so well. The proof is in the song itself – when the riff drops out temporarily for a breakdown everything kind of turns to shit, and then the song gets good straight away again when it comes back into the mix.
Sixbomb – Hiccup Hiccup
Whoever has been picking these girls’ concepts lately has been doing a fantastic job and may even be a caonima. If you ever feel the need to verify how much of a scumbag you are, just watch this video and see if you can actually understand everything that’s going on. If none of it needs any explaining and you find yourself internally nodding and smiling about once per 20 seconds then congratulations you have reached Kpopalypse levels of being a piece of shit and you should probably go and reflect (but you won’t, because why would you). If you also happen to be a new reader, hello and please enjoy your stay as a blog reader here, I think you’ll find much to enjoy. Oh yeah, and the song’s quite good too, not that anybody except me even noticed.
Sugar Tint – Heart Ppyong
They’re trying to do a Snuper’s “Platonic Love” type song but their agency wasn’t really capable of getting this sort of thing quite right, visually or musically. However it’s such an earnest attempt that it sounds pretty good anyway so it’s impossible not to give it mad points for effort. Always remember that the strength of a musical idea is always more important than how well it is executed. Also those high notes really do sound like they’re right on the edge of these girls’ vocal ranges and I really am enjoying the thought of how much that’s going to piss off certain idiotic members of the k-pop fan community who actually think vocals are important.
TST (TopSecret) – Love Story
Last year I copped a bunch of shit from complete fuckheads because I put D.G.N.A at #1 on my worst-of list for 2017 and explained how there’s a marginal possibility that they might be rapists even though they weren’t convicted of anything, by breaking down exactly how Korea’s courts treat rape cases. So for those people who didn’t like that because they felt that I was just writing off the song because of the people involved and unfairly judging them, note that TST here had a confirmed sexual predator in them when they made this song and that song is now in my honourable mentions for this year. So… you can now be happy, I guess?
UNI.T – No More
UNI.T take a stab at the same sort of territory as Primary’s “Don’t Be Shy” but their production doesn’t quite hit the mark due to having too many concessions to generic k-pop-girlisms. It’s especially sad when the video outro actually has a hint of the kind of rawer reggae sound they should have been going for instead when the song itself drowns that same sound under 15 layers of synth. However while the sonics are just a bit overcooked, the song still has a killer chorus that will lodge itself in your head anyway to the point where you’ll forget what the fuck I’m even talking about just now. Also why does NC.A look absolutely amazing all of a sudden, she’s never looked good in anything before ever. I’m not sure what exactly they did to her but NC.A should get whoever is responsible for her look in this video and hire them as her personal assistant who follows her everywhere and fixes her clothes, hair and makeup whenever a strong wind blows her shit out of position.
Weki Meki – Crush
Weki Meki have had a very unfortunate start in k-pop, with a terrible group name (unless you’re Indonesian) and a bunch of early feature songs that have been consistently shamefully awful. However as I keep telling motherfuckers, I don’t (seriously) stan groups because a good (or bad) song can come from literally anywhere, and finally it’s Weki Meki’s turn to not be shit. The chorus in particular is great, not very different to (and in fact slightly better than) Blackpink’s “As If It’s Your Last“, so if you really liked it and wondered why then that could be part of the reason.
Oh fuck I can’t stand this song but I can’t stop listening to it either so I guess that means I secretly like it Exhibit A:
Oh My Girl Banhana – Banana Allergy Monkey
This song has one of the worst k-pop choruses ever. It also has easily one of the worst recent k-pop dances, I mean if Honey Popcorn think it’s appropriate material for a dance cover then that should tell you something because those girls are great and I’m a huge fan but I’ll readily admit that dancing isn’t their specialty. Also, I’m a pretty mild-mannered dude but every time I hear anyone in Oh My Girl Banhana go “ottokae” I just want to get a golf club and wander down to my local mall and just start whacking random cunts in the head for no reason. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that this song is annoying. However damned if I’m not singing it to myself for the next week after hearing it and constantly replaying the video over and over like a rat in a Skinner box. Clearly, I have issues.
Oh fuck I can’t stand this song but I can’t stop listening to it either so I guess that means I secretly like it Exhibit B:
Jvcki Wai – Enchanted Propaganda
“Kpopalypse has yellow fever”, how many times have I heard that this year, probably about 286, even if 285 of those were probably just the same salty failure at life with different accounts on different social networks hoping Goebbels-style that if they repeat the lie enough times in enough places it will magically become true. They’ve obviously never met my last eight girlfriends or read any of my posts all the way through. However I’ll give them one small victory – I probably only did replay this trap garbage a shitload of times because Jvcki Wai looks so damn fine in the video. Of course, her repeated Autotuned whine and all those melodies are now permanently stuck in my head thanks to that, and the song now moves me nearly to tears as I think of all the CGI soldiers that died so Jvcki could ride around in a tank wearing army fetish gear giving me a boner. Thanks, I guess.
No, it’s good – really!
Black Eyed Peas ft. CL – Dopeness
And then there’s rap songs with actual beats – remember beats, those things that hip-hop used to have? Black Eyed Peas incredibly still have a few lying around, and now they have CL too. Sure, her contribution to this song isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s nothing ridiculously stupid like “Lifted” or “Doctor Pepper” either and CL manages to get through the whole song without embarrassing herself or anyone around her, something that she hasn’t been able to do for a few years now. Honestly, she fits well in the group, and now that it’s proven beyond reasonable doubt that YG doesn’t give any fucks about her (probably because she outed his pedo tendencies on Korean TV), CL should just join the Black Eyed Peas permanently and be done with it. Despite her lyrical skill deficit CL still both looks and sounds the part of a hip-hop dabbler better than Fergie ever did, and she’d probably even get paid eventually. I’m sure she’d cop a lawsuit from YG or two about contract breach or whatever but it’d probably be worth the pain.
Once again caonima YouTuber isaymyeolchigr has put together a video of the honourable mentions, so enjoy, so check it out and don’t forget to subscribe to his channel for more cool stuff!
AOA – Bingle Bangle
Firstly, I’m not even sure if this is an AOA song at all, it seems that the girls I knew have been swapped out with some other girls who I don’t recognise. The short one looks vaguely like AOA’s Jimin, but there’s now some other girl in the group who looks even shorter and I’m confused because I don’t remember Jimin not being the shortest. Assuming it is AOA, then it’s definitely one of their worst songs ever, and if it isn’t, then it doesn’t really matter because it still sucks so who cares. It actually sounds like a generic boy-group song with the dull pentatonic melodies and stupid backing track that just sort of sits there treading water for most of the song’s length. Also whistling is always a bad move in any k-pop song, even though I’m sure it’s just a keyboard or something. Maybe it’s someone who thinks they’re whistling at Seolhyun, don’t tell them that she’s possibly been replaced by a malfunctioning Stepford Wife.
Cocosori – Mi Amor
Remember when Cocosori had all those debut songs and they were just like a superficial, gimmicky version of Orange Caramel with about 50% of the visual style and 5% of the songwriting smarts? Well I guess that road didn’t work out for them, because they just ended up jumping on the pathetic tropical shithouse trend like every other cunt in the first half of 2018. The results aren’t any worse than what they were doing before, but they’re not really any better either. I guess we’re probably not going to see any more Cocosori songs given that the group has disintegrated but regardless of how you feel about Sori and Coco and whatever the hell is going on at the moment between those two and their agency, the real scandal is that they were made to debut with such subpar material in the first place.
Hyolyn – Bae
When Sistar fell apart last year I was grateful that at least we wouldn’t get the shit “Sistar summer comeback” every year, but clearly I spoke too soon as Hyolyn has decided that she doesn’t need her groupmates to strut around in bikinis while singing painful melodies over annoying brass sections like it was 2014. Also anybody who thinks that it’s a good idea to tattoo a cross on their abdomen is probably not someone who I want to support. That’s the sort of shit you go to get done at a tattoo studio and then the tattooist talks you out of it for ethical reasons and sends you home to your parents with a note. If you answer the front door to your house and somebody who looks like this is standing there, I suggest that you politely tell them that you don’t want any.
Jay Park ft. 2Chainz – Soju
2Chainz is a pure garbage musician who never has done anything good, so Jay Park is doing him a huge favour here by even letting him appear on this track at all, because Jay’s music is perhaps about 2% better than 2Chainz as a global average. Okay so that’s statistically not much of an improvement but you gotta start slow and build up to quality gradually for safety reasons. Apparently if you get some starving kid from a famine zone who has never known anything but starvation and feed them a nutritious three-course meal their bodies can’t take it and they go into shock and die, I imagine something similar would happen if 2Chainz recorded a song with Loona or something. Jay Park is just trying to do the right thing so let’s all send our best wishes to him and 2Chainz, his road to recovery may be long.
Kevin Kim – New Rack
So Kevin Kim is from ZE:A and “New Rack” is really bad. How bad? Even some of the people who were involved in bringing him down to my city for a club show (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) privately admitted to me that they couldn’t stand this song. It’s just a shame that they have to talk the promotional talk, because if old Kevin needs anything right now it’s a discreet tap on the shoulder and some words in his ear from someone he respects along the lines of “hey, this song is bullshit, what the fuck are you doing”. I know a guy who did this for a fellow artist after they just released a shit album and it actually saved that artist’s career as they quickly swapped around to a better musical direction. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Kriesha Chu – Like Paradise
Regular readers of my weekly roundup posts will know that there’s an odd pattern which I’ve identified with new releases – if the producer is mentioned in the YouTube title, the song is almost never good. I’ve been thinking hard about the reason for this and I think I know why – I have a theory that producers use certain songs as an “audio resume” where they basically just produce deliberately generic results to build a portfolio to shop around with. “Here’s my tropical shithouse song” “here’s my trap song” “here’s my R&B song” etc… it’s just proof that you can work in different genres. Of course the songs are generic crap – and they need to be, because you don’t want an actual good song to distract anyone from your production technique. Well, it’s a theory, and it’s probably bullshit, but I haven’t heard any better ones to explain this pattern, which clearly continues to exist with this godawful piece of crap.
Loopy & Nafla – Shooter
Aren’t you glad Korea has strict gun control laws or we’d have to put up with these dickweeds waving guns around to show you how hardcore they are as well as busting out an awful rap and yelling “I’m a shooter” as if 100% of their firearms experience isn’t from PUBG and paintball. There’s nothing more cringe than rappers waving guns around as if they actually shoot them at anything besides tin cans at their uncle’s farm, except rappers who wish they were waving guns around so they just wave their fingers in gun shapes a lot.
Mamamoo – Star Wind Flower Sun
That strumming by the beach at the start of the video might sound a bit stupid, but it’s actually the best audio you’re going to get here. This song came out at the same time as “Starry Night” which wasn’t actually too dreadful (because it was heavily modeled on a song that was actually reasonable) and the ensuing controversy was just as well for Mamamoo as it allowed everyone to focus on that song and pretend this failure here didn’t even happen, which is probably the best outcome for all concerned.
NCT 127 – Touch
This song is just not good. There’s nothing all that wrong with the melody or harmony (which is just average boy-k-pop-by-numbers) but it’s the rhythm which is all wrong. There’s different levels of “swing” in the vocal parts and the beat they’re laid over and it’s just not lined up correctly, the result is this horrible lurching sound that is exactly the opposite effect to what is intended. Or at least I presume it’s not intended – I mean I think it’s a safe bet that they didn’t want the awkward tempo to sound like your first attempt driving a manual car, but then I guess you never know. Maybe it’s part of some clever overarching plan that I’m not sophisticated enough to be aware of, but it’s a pretty shit musical result in any case.
Pristin V – Get It
Hey that verse is actually not too bad, but once it gets to the chorus all hope for redemption is lost. Unlike After School and Orange Caramel, I’m not actually all that upset about no Pristin activity because it’s hard to miss a group that haven’t done anything good yet. I mean it’s a bummer for the fans I suppose, and it might be a bummer for the girls (or maybe not – I get the feeling that half of them would rather not come back anyway) but it’s no skin off my nose that we didn’t get more than one track like this from them this year.
Raina – It’s Okay
Speaking of which, no, it’s definitely not okay, Pledis. Raina’s surgery which ruined all her cuteness is not okay. Stupid drama videos are not okay. No Orange Caramel or After School comebacks is not okay. This ballad trash is not okay. Okay?
Red Velvet – Bad Boy
There’s a fantastic video that I’ve already linked a couple of times in my blog writing that interviews production team The Stereotypes and shows then creating this song, giving valuable insight into the production process. The video also gives a lot of insight into why the song is so bad – the producers are clearly well within their comfort zone writing the (excellent) backing track, but by their own admission melody-heavy music is something they rarely get a chance to do, so lacking experience they end up writing some terrible melody that sits over the top awkwardly and that does the rest of the song no justice at all. It’s such a shame as that one guy in the production team has such a righteous beard and nobody with a beard that long and well-groomed should have to be in this list.
Soju ft Edward Avila – K-pop Idol Reject
I’m not sure what this video is trying to say. Is Eddie engaging in some moral compensation after feeling bad for shitting on an underage girl and potentially contributing to her mental health issues, or is this a face-value continuation of his general point of view that if you’re an idol who is not willing to whip yourself into trendy shape that you deserve to be publicly bullied and shat on rather than applauded for challenging the system of conformity? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that a. I’d definitely support more drag queens in k-pop and b. this song is shit and should never be listened to by anybody.
South Club – I’m Crazy
Hey remember when South Club debuted and the singer (ex-Winner’s Taehyun) was putting on this hilariously transparent bad-ass act in the music video? Yes that was fucking funny wasn’t it. It seems that he’s seen the light and has now become a polite acoustic-guitar-strummer guy who gets cats out of trees and helps your grandmother across the road. Who knows which image is more true to the reality of what he’s like, I suspect probably neither given that once again Taehyun is the only band member in the video (ego much), but it’s a pity the music isn’t any better this time around, maybe next time they can just focus on that instead.
Suzy – Sober
Not for long. Listening to this bubble-popping boredom and watching Suzy’s incredibly uncharismatic performance makes me want to explore the joys of alcoholism.
Taeyeon – I’m All Ears
Sometimes people are confused by myself occasionally describing a fairly innocuous-looking music video as “porn”, but you shouldn’t be, and you especially shouldn’t be in this case. This is a gravure shoot right down to the teasing soft focus, lingering camera body shots that aren’t there for you to stare at Taeyeon’s body straining against her clothes at all ahem cough and boring bullshit music that nobody is even paying any attention to. Sure, the level of skin exposure is different, but that’s only a superficial difference – the intent here is 100% the same.
It was almost good, but…
Gfriend – Sunny Summer
“Sunny Summer” falls halfway between the type of comeback that Gfriend usually do in summer, and the type of comeback that Sistar usually do in summer. This makes sense as I’m told it was written by the people responsible for all those Sistar summer songs, and it kind of shows as they try to “do a Gfriend” reasonably successfully in the verses and then proceed to fuck it up with stupid brass riffs all over the place. In certain sections the song is really trying to be good but then at 1:02 the engineer turns up the knob labelled “suck” on the mixing desk to 11 and it’s all over. Such a shame.
Too inept for me to shit on with a clear conscience
G-Idle, Madison Beer, Jaira Burns (K/DA) – Pop/Stars
Every single song ever recorded for League Of Legends is total bullshit, because they’re always trying to reach for that “epic world-changing badass of destiny” feel that appeals to powerless disenfranchised gamers so they don’t have to think about the fact that they’re not doing a whole lot with their lives besides sitting in a very comfortable chair trying to rank up and failing 50% of the time. The power-fantasy cringe is laid on super-thick to appeal to the “I have no control over my life” demographic and it also affects the musical choices, meaning that if you’re anyone with any success in your life it’s a hard listen, for the same reason that anyone in the Mafia probably finds gangster rap a bit comical. I think I would have liked this song before I cured my depression, and I’m sure a ton of my readers might be a bit on the edge emotionally and find some comfort in something like this so I’m just going to stop and not shit on it too much more so I don’t feel responsible for a wave of self-harm sweeping through the k-pop fan world. Don’t forget readers that if you have personal problems and need some help I don’t mind if you use Qrimole for that, I’m no psychologist but I am an old cunt who has been through some shit, sometimes talking to someone with life experience can help.
It’s pure garbage but it has an IMPORTANT SOCIAL MESSAGE
Kim Ji Hoon – A Babe In The Woods
Here’s a motivator to get you started if you’re struggling with life. When I first watched this video I saw that the guy’s room was a mess and I thought “what the fuck is this pigsty – this isn’t appropriate for a music video, clean your room, you fucking incel”. And then he fucking did, bravo. If it’s not too hard for some balladeering piece of shit like this then you can do it too. I hope this inspires all you sad people out there who actually enjoy k-pop’s (literal) thousands of soundalike maudlin ballads-by-numbers that are released every year to at least throw away all the half-eaten boxes of KFC and Tim Tams lying around your room. Do it, you’ll feel better about yourself afterward.
That’s all for this post! The favourites list for 2018 and worst-of list for 2018 will be coming at the end of the year, so get ready!