Welcome to Kpopalypse’s honourable and dishonourable mentions list for 2019! Read on to find out which songs from 2019 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 list for 2019 (which will be published on 31st December). There is also, below this, an equal amount of “dishonourable mentions”, songs that were quite bad, 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
- OST songs, songs for sporting events and Christmas songs are not eligible
- This list is pure personal preference only, it does not factor in chart success, popularity, cultural relevance etc (don’t listen to Yua)
- Your opinions may (and probably will) differ, and that’s okay – my opinion is not important
- If you’re in a fandom and are mad about this post, that’s good because fandoms are for idiots, learn some individuality you shambling sack of shit
Dreamnote – Hakuna Matata
Dreamnote are going to hit huge one day and have an utterly fantastic song. This isn’t quite it, but it’s pretty close. You could almost start a circle pit with those rhythms in the verses, I know they’re going for a joyous happy kind of sound but this song makes me feel similar to how I do when I hear Sepultura’s “Refuse/Resist“, The Exploited’s “Chaos Is My Life” or Ice Cube’s “Wicked“, I just want to start randomly breaking shit – but in a good way. Soon the rioters in Hong Kong are going to start throwing bricks with “the girls of the Dreamnote” carved into the side at police vans and nobody will understand why except for my readers.
Gfriend – Sunrise
“Time For The Moon Night” has become Gfriend’s latest songwriting template now that they’ve exhausted copy-pasting “Into The New World” over and over, and this crack at it is as good as any of their others. I suppose that if you’re going to copy someone it might as well be yourself. As it happens Gfriend are quite good at being Gfriend. Oh and just adding a note here that Korean Indie is a site that you should support. I have no idea why I’m mentioning this here.
G-reyish – Kkili Kkili
Whoever writes songs for G-reyish is a genius, they always write the most mindless braindead shit that I love. That “kkili kkili” hook is nightmarishly catchy, and I also dig how the four-chord progression is actually an eight-chord progression, because not many people would bother with throwing four extra chords into a song like this. Plus they have a girl who looks like a Korean Meg White. Pop music is great when it’s big and dumb, and this group could only be better if they also worshipped Satan or smoked weed.
Han Damhee – Life Is
It kind of sucks how there’s no more Orange Caramel, but several artists are now starting to absorb some of their sound. Trot labels in particular have really noticed that nobody is doing that cool crossover female-fronted modern 80s trot/k-pop style hybrid anymore. Since Orange Caramel were a huge hit group back in their day, and since music companies like money, I think we’ll see more cool stuff like this in the near future. Han Damhee even looks a bit like Orange Caramel’s Nana, who was always my least favourite in that group but there’s no denying the marketability.
IZ – Final Kiss
Now here’s a catchy well-written song that transcends the usual k-pop soft rock crap by actually being a bit rocking and having an explosive, fun chorus. Bonus points for a focus on some pretty unusual and unusually good guitar soloing.
Mamamoo – Destiny
Oh yay about fucking time Mamamoo did something really good and list-worthy again, it’s only been FIVE FUCKING YEARS since their last really good song. Of course “Destiny” is for the Queendom TV show, and I don’t follow that show so I’m not even sure what it all means except for the fact that we don’t have an official video, which is a shame as this song should really have been promoted a lot more. Anyway it fucking rocks, that chorus is the obvious highlight, mantra-like and powerful as hell, and the development of the riffs at the end is surprising and great. Finally, Mamamoo have a song that matches how good they look (although I’m not sure about Hwasa’s 1930s horror film lipstick but I can let it slide).
Momoland – I’m So Hot
By the time you read this, there’ll probably only be JooE left in Momoland with the way they’ve been losing members lately, I miss the “Wonderful Love” days when there was seemingly 23 of them. I think the label knows the writing is on the wall here for most of the other girls, because they’re giving JooE about 50% of all the screen time, plus the dance is deliberately understated so she can exaggerate it on live stages and hopefully go viral again. Gotta milk that fame while you can I guess. God this is so fucking sad. I also miss when they hadn’t “found their sound” yet, but I guess settling on this swing-dance fucking whatever the fuck it is isn’t such a bad thing because the song does actually rock to some extent and it’s pretty nifty, even the interspersed trap sections don’t ruin it too much.
Oh Hayoung – Don’t Make Me Laugh
This is what Sistar summer comebacks would have sounded like if they were actually any good. “So, you mean like Apink?” I hear you say. YES I MEAN LIKE GODDAMN APINK CUNT. Not the newfangled Apink either, and nothing against the new fancy Apink which is actually great but original flavour Apink was the original “summer comeback” before Sistar ruined it for everyone. Lest we forget.
Oneus – Valkyrie
Okay so RBW have some fucking explaining to do. Oneus is a boy group on Mamamoo’s label. Sorry, but these guys are great and all, but where the fuck were the songs like this for Mamamoo? I’d love to have the Mamamoo girls actually getting a feature track with a great video for a song that also didn’t suck like a wet fart musically, but that hasn’t happened since about 1963 and I’m over it (“Destiny” above is great of course but – no official video? Are you serious?) This rocking pop song with a driving, sexy muted guitar riff is proof that RBW can do wonders for Mamamoo if they really wanted, so can we get with the fucking program please, thank you in advance for the great Mamamoo comeback in 2020 cheers.
Oohyo – Butter Chicken
I never understood why more people haven’t tried to copy Pink Floyd, for such a huge moneymaking group it’s bizarre to me how they really have so few obvious imitators, while we have to put up with Beatles, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin clones thirsting for industry dollars by the truckload. Sure, Queensryche tried the Floyd sound but they copied the late 1980s Floyd-lite which really doesn’t count, and other more recent “progressive” groups like Opeth and Dream Theater always sounded way too metal to really integrate that style consistently. Anyway Oohyo has fucking nailed it right here, with a song that sounds like it could have come right out of the late 1960s/early 1970s Floyd glory days, but with female vocals and more upmarket synths. The lack of David Gilmour busting out a guitar solo over the top is unfortunate, but the lush keyboards make up most of the shortfall and the net result is the most convincing trip into early Floyd slow jams since Air did that great soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s shitty vanity project film.
Pink Fantasy – Fantasy
Okay so this is just Dreamcatcher, musically fucking identical but with different girls who dress even better (like that’s even possible) and one of them is in a Donnie Darko bunny mask for no reason and I’m definitely okay with all of this. Seeing as how Dreamcatcher need to be dragged kicking and screaming to actually sound like Dreamcatcher these days, I definitely support some competition keeping them on their toes. Also maybe Pink Fantasy might be able to come to Australia without the venue burning down, although I’m not sure about the fire safety of that bunny suit which looks very synthetic and highly flammable.
PK – Mask Play
Don’t look to politicians to save the human race from disaster, it’s a waste of time. Some 8 year old autistic savant is probably going to be the one who works out how to do the nuclear fusion reactions that save the planet. Likewise, Jay Park, Dean and Simon Dominic sure as fucking hell won’t save Korean hip-hop, instead it’s going to be some unwashed netcafe kids straight outta Dust2. Sure the beat has no fucking variation but then it doesn’t really need any, one decent track is enough for a song like this. This video has less than a thousand hits when I wrote this review so let’s see if we can get it up there so these kids can afford a new Razer keyboard and mouse combo and some keys for some CS:GO crates.
Saturday – WiFi
Okay so we all know Momoland’s “Bboom Bboom” when we hear it, because we’ve all heard it 235896 times by now. I can think of worse trends so it’s okay, plus I certainly don’t mind when someone improves on the formula. “Wifi” has all the things that are good about Momoland’s song, and unfortunately a lot of the same flaws too, but I still think this is slightly better musically even if they cheaped out on the visuals with balloons spelling the group name because nobody could afford to hire someone to do proper CGI captions. Also seeing these girls running around trying to pick up a decent fucking signal with their wifi modems is very relatable where I live so perhaps that’s biasing me a little in favour.
Sunmi – Noir
Sunmi’s “Noir” has much the same kind of mood as her “Siren” from the previous year, with driving squared-off 1980’s style drums and a catchy chorus vocal hook that’ll stay with you long after the song is over. Unfortunately “Noir” also makes the same big mistake as “Siren” with a stupid trap section intruding at 1:50 for no good reason but at least it’s only the rhythm that changes gears rather than the entire flow of the song. I’d say that “Siren” is still the better song however, as while the bad parts of that song are a hell of a lot worse the good parts are also quite a lot better, and “Noir” suffers quite a bit in comparison because the chorus, while good, is relatively uninteresting. Oh well, it’s still better than anything any of the other ex-Wonder Girls are up to. Speaking of which, what IS Sohee doing these days?
Venus – Turn Signal
The girls from Venus were part of Miss Trot which is the same reality TV show that Han Damhee was in, so that probably explains some of the musical similarity here in case you’re wondering. Anyway if you couldn’t see what I was talking about with Orange Caramel before, I’m sure you can now. This is just Orange Caramel’s “Lipstick” with a higher average age and slightly more old-school instrumentation, both improvements if you ask me.
Yoyomi – Hong Kong Express
Yoyomi wants to free Hong Kong and she’s going to do it one T-ara style ballad at a time.
Trap ruins everything exhibit #13571230c
Dreamcatcher – Piri
Hey that chorus is pretty cool and even slightly heavier than usual which is very welcome but did they really have to go for trap and cheesy raps for the rest of it? Also why did they give Dami a “Hillary Clinton”, it’s almost as bad a styling move as the legendary Hyoyeon “Visual Dreams” cowpat. Short hair can and often does work great on k-pop girls, but not this time. However with all these weaknesses it’s still worthy of a mention, which shows just how good this could have been with a bit of reworking.
Nearly amazing, but the opportunity cost hurts
Blackpink – Kill This love
Holy shit that ending is fire, the usual “YG tangent” structure of “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-hey everyone let’s jump the fucking shark” really pays off here for a change. Just a pity that the song fucks around with some really silly bullshit for two and a half minutes before it gets there. It’s more of a hit than a miss just because of the production and style of it is so engaging, and I suppose you could interpret the body of a song as kind of an intro, but this is pop music and nobody wants to wait for two minutes and thirty eight seconds for a pop song to start, and then for that song to go for less time than a TV commercial break. While it’s still good overall, imagine the amazing song we could have had if the last part was fleshed out into an entire new track of its own.
It’s good – really! Stop being a racist cunt.
Lana – Take The Wheel
International k-pop fans want to be the gatekeepers of Korean pop culture for fuck knows what asinine reason but the fact is that most Koreans find westerners having a crack at being a k-pop flattering if anything, because it’s validation. I don’t care about that though, I only care about the song, and I’m here for Lana just like I’m here for Shannon Williams because “Take The Wheel” is just a fucking good song in anyone’s language. Yeah sure, the production is certainly a bit muddy and lumpy (at 0:23 I think someone spilled some hot coffee on the mixing desk and had to quickly adjust the master fader to clean it), I suppose if that bothers you, you could try this fan remix which has the opposite problem of being slightly overcooked and reedy instead, but the fact is that nobody would be dragging this at all if she wasn’t white and that’s the fucking tea.
Hats off to elite caonima YouTuber isaymyeolchigr, who has once again brought us a compilation video of the Kpopalypse honourable mentions!
Be sure to check out his other great videos, and support his activities by following his excellent and incredibly comprehensive k-pop database at dbkpop.com!
Ailee – Room Shaker
Here’s a thought – maybe the reason why Ailee was banned off all the music shows was because people heard this track and just decided that her B-grade Blackpink clone wasn’t good enough for the stage. If I had a music show I wouldn’t let her on with this either, not at least without insisting that she throw in a few older, better tracks. Sometimes it really isn’t a conspiracy and you just suck a little too much for public consumption.
Boin – Milkyway
Just a bunch of wayward thoughtless yolo dribbling over a beat, with no structure and no intellect. The “boobs in space” theme is however appropriate because you’d have to really be a galaxy-brained tit to think this was worth releasing.
BOL4 – 25
BOL4 didn’t have a good year. Boring tropical backings and a super-annoying chorus really sink this one to the very depths of what’s acceptable k-pop song material. Every time I hear the “indie Dahyun” sing “twenty five” with that annoying vocal inflection I just want to go onto a random k-pop fandom’s Reddit and post about how much their group fucking sucks dick and add my home address so they can come visit me and take me out of my misery.
Chungha & Rich Brian – These Nights
Looking at the consistency of her releases over the years, I really think at this point Chungha’s entire overarching k-pop concept that informs her whole work is “how much bad music can I be involved in”. Nothing else could explain her riding on a motorbike doing idiotic dance moves while some mullet-head (who has the mullet on especially for this song) does horrible Autotuned R&B over what could have been a passable 80s style backing track if it had an actual song over it instead.
Everglow – Bon Bon Chocolat
The typical slow-paced dullness that everyone thinks is acceptable song material now, filled with completely random singing in the verses that makes no sense at all, sort of like Blackpink’s newer songs but if nobody really had a plan. It’s literally like someone just said to the girls “this is only the verse, just do whatever, who gives a fuck” (interestingly, I think they said the same thing to the costume designer). The pre-chorus is actually okay and tries to save it all but can’t, but the rest is just so grating that it’s not worth anybody’s attention.
Giantpink ft. Yeri – Tuesday Is Better Than Monday
It must be an interesting exercise that Korean songwriters do, getting a semi-passable beat and writing the absolute worst music that they can over the top of it. It’s a lucrative business, I guess.
(G)I-dle – Blow Your Mind
Ever since they came out, I’ve been wondering why the fuck (G]+I$d*le have been sucking so hard and so consistently when their sister group CLC has been largely getting it right these past couple of years. Then someone told me that one of the girls in the group actually writes a fair bit of their material, I guess that explains it. I hope she finds her songwriting form eventually, in the meantime I guess we’ve just got to grin and bear watching her go through class in the public eye. She’ll get there one day, I have faith.
Hyomin & Justatee – Cabinet
I’m just going to tip my hat to T-ara fans right now for being good sports. Hyomin appears again and again in my worst-of lists for her absolute cacophonous bullshit solo music, yet fans have yet to wage any sort of co-ordinated online hate-campaign against me in the way that nearly every other major k-pop fandom has done at one point or another this year. I guess since the T-ara scandals, Queen’s have learned to prioritise what’s actually important, and sensibly have realised that my stupid and irrelevant activities don’t even make the list.
Kim Hyun Joong – The Smile In Wine
I wonder what’s in that little gift-box he’s giving her. If it’s the amount of fucks that I give about this shitty ballad, the box is still way too large. No wonder she passes it back to him.
Laboum – Firework
LaBoum do their stab at the tired “Latin thing” everyone has been shitting out lately and it’s even more rubbish than most due to the overabundance of random needless vocals and super-annoying hooks that will stay in your head as long as it takes for you to find a power drill and drive it through your skull to make it stop.
Luna – Even So
Look at all the cheap vodka Luna is chugging down in this video. I bet she comes down to this bar every night, drunkenly mumbling to the bartender about f(x)’s lack of schedules and how “I could have been a contender, I could have been somebody, but nobody is giving me songs worth a damn” before passing out in a pile of her own vomit. Last drinks Luna, it’s time to go home now, let me know if you need me to call a cab for you.
Nine Muses – Remember
Last year I predicted that Nine Muses would stop giving a fuck this year, and boy was I right. Imagine giving so few fucks that you not only disband your group, but the final song that you shit out as your ode to getting out of this cunthole industry has the same name as another much better song you already recorded only two years before. They’re so fucking “over it” that this clearly just slipped everyone’s fucking mind.
The Pink Lady – God Girl
Why don’t all those idiots who complain about “cultural appropriation” start up a movement to stop blues music from being performed by Koreans. While I still wouldn’t agree with the cause, because whining about cross-cultural exchange is basically being a racist piece of shit and sending us all backward to the fucking caves instead of helping us create the forward-thinking multicultural global utopia that we could be living in, at least shaming people for making trash like this might have some possible musical side-benefits.
Simon Dominic ft. JayAllDay & SIMO – Ya Ain’t Gang
Yes, this is a real song that someone actually made. You’re actually not imagining that chorus, someone actually thought that this was not only a good idea, but worthy of putting out there in the public realm. Truly, this song is everything that’s wrong with society.
VAV ft. De La Ghetto & Play-N-Skillz – Give Me More
It’s the KARD comeback that even KARD themselves weren’t stupid enough to make this year because they’ve finally learned their lesson.
Yoona – Promise
Yoona has been blowing me away over the past couple of years by releasing truly outstanding ballad material which is oh-so-rare in k-pop and especially so from SM Entertainment who have a tendency to over-shine everything into catastrophic blandness. “Promise” on the other hand is the type of trash that I actually fully expected from Yoona this whole time.
I don’t want any, go away
Momoland – Banana Chacha
Momoland are coming for Oh My Girl Bahnana’s throne and totally not even getting within visual range of the town that contains the castle that the throne room is in. Sure, “Banana Allergy Monkey” was annoying crap, but it was catchy annoying crap. Remove all the chiptune influence and all the addictive elements in the melody from that song and you basically have “Banana Chacha”.
Can you handle the cringe
Tiffany ft. Babyface, Chloe Flower – Runaway
Speaking of Hyoyeon’s iconic “Visual Dreams” cowpat earlier, here we have the “cowpat that hit her on the side of her face instead of the top” version which is a bit cheesy but it actually looks great. Who knew it was all about positioning. The song is something else though. The tone of this rubbish is perfectly set by that horrible spoken English intro, which I think beats even U-Kiss’ “Not Young” in terms of pure, undiluted k-pop cringe.
All “just for the true fans” ballads are cancer
Loona – 365
I put up this fan-made lyric video of the song here, partly because it’s so incredibly well done (seriously, great job to whoever did this) but also because it clearly displays the lyrics and how obviously insulting they are to anybody with any intelligence – Loona fans should be offended that this song even exists. Blockberry are treating you like their bitch – but they’re not a special case, all k-pop groups eventually have their “look at how real the connection with our fans is!” emotionally fraudulent nonsense song, designed for only the most mentally-imprisoned fans to cry along to and for everyone else to skip over. Seriously, this sort of openly manipulative sentimental bullshit is actually part of what fosters the crazy fan stalkers who think “I really can tell what she’s like under the surface” and all that bullcrap. I know you’re all in a fandom and you’re not allowed to say stuff like this openly because you’ll get ostracised, but all fandoms hate me anyway so I’ve got no fucks to give and nothing to lose by being honest about how much the song is fucking shit. Just admit it to yourselves, and be free. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.
That’s all for this post! Kpopalypse will return at the end of year with the 30 favourites and 30 worst songs of 2019!