Welcome to the Kpopalyspe 2020 clearing house post! This post contains not only the last week’s worth of songs, but also earlier tracks from 2020 that missed being featured in Kpopalypse roundups but were eligible! It’s not a complete list (I received literally over a thousand submissions and there’s no way I can cover everything, Kpopalypse roundup is NOT meant to ever be a “complete” look at everything, that’s impossible) but it’s all the stuff that I figured people would care about most. Let’s take a look!
Heyne – Imagine
Heyne looks a lot like ex-AOA Jimin. I wonder if they did a role swap so Jimin could continue her k-pop career and turn over a new leaf, while Heyne bowed out but collected a nice paycheck for agreeing to the deal.
Taeyeon – What Do I Call You
Taeyeon looks great in normal clothes instead of the nonsense SM are usually making her wear, and she’s serving some of her best looks here. Pity about the song being weak reggae-lite that doesn’t even go all-in on the reggae when the chorus comes. It’s not horrible but it’s no “Four Seasons“.
Enhyphen – Let Me In
This boy group actually have a better reggae-lite song this week. See, a bit of extra bass and some punchier rhythm was all it needed.
Eungi – Neverland
Screechy and irritating.
Plee ft. Crucial Star – Blind
A solo from a K-Tigers member that just sounds like everything. I guess I’d better not shit on it too much, I’m sure she could kick my ass.
Katie – Our Time
Those people who wish their artists would leave YG, remember that when that happens, they also leave the domain of YG’s songwriters.
Sohlhee – Supersingle
Generally dull except for the very weird 180 degree mood change in the drop where it stops being dull and instead starts being unignorably awful.
Lim Kim – All Right (Remix)
What made the original “All Right” really work as a good song was the fast pace, the melody and the chord changes. So because Lim Kim is on her “I’m alternative now or whatever therefore I hate catchy music in general” thing she has decided to bin all of that good stuff and just whisper the lyrics over a weird unrelated slow beat that never changes instead. Needless to say the results are not great.
Yerin Baek – I’ll Be Your Family!
It’s bad enough that she has no good songs, now she’s trying to edge her way into my will.
Yerin Baek – Hate You
Mind you I should take that back because “Hate You” is actually okay. It’s definitely her best song, even if the lyric-writing is poor with the profanity coming off as super-token and awkward instead of sincere with just too much verbiage in general. It succeeds almost in spite of itself. Maybe when I die she can have my cat if my partner doesn’t outlive me.
Geum Nara – Encore
It’s hard to image being a biker in a country like South Korea. So much congestion on the roads, and the country isn’t even all that big, I feel like you’d run out of new places to ride fairly quickly. Great concept for a trot song though.
Super Junior – Burn The Floor
There’s a distinct lack of floor-burning in this song, the only thing I see burning here is the calories on Shindong, who looks fitter than ever to the point where it’s actually hard to pick him out from the rest of the group, but that could be partly down to the very clever and budget-conscious lighting.
NCT U – Make A Wish (Birthday Song) (Wuki Remix)
One of those remixes where they just add a characterless dance beat and strip all the context out of everything. Not a huge loss in this case but not a gain either.
NCT U – 90’s Love (Squar Remix)
Their other song is just shat on by relentless dubstepisms. At least they seem to have ignored “Misfit” for this project, I’d hate to think how they would have ruined that one because that song was actually good.
Jang Hyunseung – I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
Nothing special from the Beast/Highlight member. Or was this the guy who left Beast before they became Highlight, I can’t even remember. I’d probably feel more compelled to research this guy if his song was any good.
Jackson Wang, JJ Lin – Should’ve Let Go
While listening to this I just kept thinking about how much better “100 Ways” is and now I have that song stuck inside my head instead of this one.
Seongri – If It Wasn’t You
Imagine trying to come across as sensitive when your name is one English letter away from one of k-pop’s biggest creeps. You wouldn’t vote for a politican called Hisler either, no matter how nice he was and no matter how much you logically knew there was no connection, he’d fail at the ballot box. I bet Seongri gets shunned at nightclub parties and it’s not even his fault. He’s probably got a “I’m not THAT guy” speech all prepared in advance for whenever he starts hitting it off with some lady at the club and he has no way to avoid giving his name out.
Ellie – Just Fire
Ellie raps and drums in a heavy metal band with some furries, and also sounds like she smokes her own body weight in cigarettes weekly. I don’t even know if this is a recommendation or not, I think I need a while to process this one.
Crystal Tea – Master Of Love
Kind of rambling shoegazey stuff, not that exciting.
Jhnovr – Strangers Again
The song is actually cool once more instruments start coming in but sadly it takes about three quarters of the song to get there.
Long:D ft. Summer Soul – Spacedog
A really nice laid-back song and a very pretty video.
Mrshll ft. Queen Wa$abii – Do U
Never mind the boring song, what is that thing connecting Mrshll’s eyes that’s going over his nose? Is that a tattoo or did someone just draw on his nose for fun? It looks a little bit crooked so I think if he paid for that he should seek reimbursement.
Po.U.Ryu – Pirate Ship
Something about that mask makes me want to just punch him. Or maybe it’s just the music making me feel that way.
Heongoo Kang – Electric Pad
The guy in the grey jumper staring off into the grey scene with a grey expression on his face kind of sums up this one.
Seori – Trigger
Amazing visual and sonic design here, they get literally everything right except the songwriting.
Mmxx Sky – Screaming
Started off extremely lacking and then shocked me by actually having a good chorus. It’s still a bit plodding for my taste, especially compared to some of the other great songs in this style that came out this year, but it’s still a solid attempt.
Che ft. Sumin – Sleep
Very strange and not at all what I was expecting. You’ll want the subtitles on for the bizarre, brutally honest lyrics.
Los – Smile Now Cry Later
It’s a real contrast to stuff like this. Anybody can get a lot of tattoos, pose in front of a car and stick their fingers up at the camera a lot 20 years later.
Ugh, that fucking Autotune voice.
DPR Ian ft. DPR Live, CL – No Blueberries
I didn’t even realise that CL was in this even though it’s right there in the title – it could be anyone. In fact, all of this could be anyone.
45RPM ft. Gong – Night Flight
This is what happens when a bunch of rappers watch those crappy Pororo songs and think “yeah I can do that”.
QM – Money Breath
I like it how the mattress is still in the plastic because it’s new. Shopping for home furnishings never looked so badass.
Youngkut ft. Jung In – Why
I read the name as “Youngkunt” at first. Now that would have been cool.
Leellamarz, GooseBumps – Why You Mad + Top Dawg
It’s like they don’t have enough confidence in their songs to release them one at a time, they gotta combine them like this. Probably a justified fear actually.
Bassagong – Let It Flow
Rappers don’t know that normal people look at this shit and just think to themselves “what’s wrong with these clowns, are they fucked in the head or something”.
Jukjae, Hyuk – Camellia
Shit ballad but props for having an old woman in it, that’s more taboo than a lesbian cocaine-sniffing feminist in Korea.
Eluphant, Hanhae, Kanto, Yenjamin, Rudals, Gree – 1 Year
A bunch of guys from Brandnew Music get together and do a thing, I don’t really care though. They could have just done this at their Christmas party and left us out of it, that would have been okay.
Vinxen, Ovan, Im Soo – Jung
Dull R&B shit. They try with the chorus but it’s not enough. Do you know how many good songs there have been this year? A fucking lot, that’s how many. This isn’t going to cut it.
Lil Cherry, Goldbuuda – 305 Lick
Amazingly bad but turn on the subtitles for a laugh.
Skyminhyuk – Move In Up
It looks like it sounds.
Gwangil Jo – Memoir (Orchestral version)
Oh please let’s not have rap make its way into the “art music world”. It’ll then become a fossil like jazz is now. As if rap isn’t enough of a fossil already.
Wavycake, Ovus ft. Def. – Dream
More meandering R&B by people who should probably know better, because everybody should probably know better.
Sway – What Can I Do
We Are The Night, Dohjae Kyung – Full Moon
There’s some cool gothic metal band out there called “We Are The Night” and they can’t have that name because these guys are taking it, like some form of band-name cross-genre squatting. I think they should just be prevented from existing by some regulatory body, like if you cheekily try and register mickeymousefilm.com one week before Disney releases teasers.
Dareharu – Flowering
It’s not a great song but I do really like the timestamping of the different sections of the song, might help those people confused by my song structure posts. Or it might just confuse them even more, because she’s using different terminology. Oh well, it was a nice thought.
Jatanpung – Woman On The Beach
That guy on the right looks like he actually washed up on the beach with amnesia and the other two saved him and asked him to join their acoustic combo to make enough money to find out where he lives and help him get back there.
Um Jung Hwa ft. Hwasa, DPR Live – Hop In
I’m not sure where I’m supposed to “hop in” to, there’s definitely not enough room inside that hideous looking tiger suit for the two of us.
Woo!ah! – Payday
It’s pleasant enough but very backgroundy, it’s easy to hear why this wasn’t the feature track.
Rocket Punch – Twinkle Star
Rocket Punch’s B-track at least has a bit more oomph to it, which you would hope to have with a group with a name like “Rocket Punch”, but once again it’s not the lead single for a reason.
La Poem – Dear My Dear
“Oh wow I love their voices, we should have more of this type of thing” says absolutely everybody before going right back to streaming Blackpink and Red Velvet and never listening to this again.
It’s ft. Noovv – Go Stale
It’s nice of them to tell me that their song is featuring Noovv but I wonder who the other person is.
Kim Giha – Still Loving Me
Surprise, surprise, this isn’t too bad. It’s still as cookie-cutter as everything else but at least they do a good job of it and it isn’t filled with annoying vocal wank.
Hanlim ft. Kim Heron – Don’t Let Me Fall Asleep
I don’t know if they can rely on me, I might be asleep before them at this rate.
Hwasa – Play With Life
This is Hwasa’s promo song for The Sims 4, and I was disappointed by the disclaimer that pops up where “some of the scenes include non actual gameplay” because I was really looking forward to sticking Hwasa on top of a tall building and then unleashing a Godzilla monster on the neighbourhood or whatever it is you do in The Sims 4 when you’re sick of building stuff and want to destroy everything for shits and giggles.
Sugarbowl – Leaned
Wow, how boring.
Pororo The Little Penguin – Pororing Dong Ding
The scariest thing about Pororo songs is that they’re actually better musically when your favourite idols aren’t in them. Still, I think this is a sign to stop looking at new songs now.
STUFF I MISSED
The vast majority of people who submitted clearing house requests asked for songs which I’ve already covered. (That’s why I tell you guys to search the roundups first, it’s easy to do, just use the search bar and type what you’re looking for in the exact format “group name – song name”, yes, with the quotation marks – if it’s in a roundup, that roundup will appear, often as the first result, but use the release date of the song to track it down if not.) Out of the remaining, a lot of the songs were left out on purpose because they were just so unspectacular and dull that I had nothing to say, positive or negative, or they were just straight up not eligible. So this is just a short list of only the stuff that stood out to me for some reason – plus other stuff that potentially more than one person may give a fuck about. Enjoy.
Side-B – B Classic
A genuinely good take on DJ Premier’s hip-hop production style. Not as good as the originals, but still pretty worthy. I’d like to see this become a trend (like it has been in Australia since forever) rather than the weak shit most Korean rap is.
ENOi – Cheeky
Some cool muted guitar and bass riffs drive a song that isn’t too bad at all.
The Boyz – Clover
I also managed to miss possibly the best thing that The Boyz have done so far – not that anything else they’ve done I can even remember, so maybe it isn’t, fuck I dunno.
IZ*ONE – Sequence
IZ*ONE finally ditch their weedy production style, and come forward with a song that sounds like if Girls’ Generation made their fourth Japanese album with about 20% of the money that they usually use to polish things up with.
Hyolyn – Spell
How did I miss this song from Hyolyn? Because it’s not very good, that might be the reason. At least its a change of pace for her and the drama video is excellent, but there’s nothing catchy or interesting about the music itself.
Cacophony – I Am Sorry
Each time I see this band’s new stuff I can’t help but making jokes about the metal band with the same name, but only because they’re about 50 times more interesting.
CityNoise ft. It’s – Step
Yeah this wasn’t worth tracking down.
Oh My Girl – Krystal
I ignored so many album tracks that got live stages in 2020 and there’s a reason for that, they were universally boring, almost without exception.
Ghost9 – Flying At Night
You know, this was pretty good, and definitely one of the best bits of boy group stuff that I missed out on unintentionally.
Se So Neon – Midnight Train
Just sounds like any horrid 1990s “alternative” Australian band, actually. Okay, maybe a little bit better than that, because at least I don’t have to deal with the cultural cringe of watching people in my neighbourhood fail dismally at rock music, but still, I can’t get into it much.
Purple Rain – The King Must Die
Another hard rock band with the guitars way, way in the back of the mix. Maybe it’s a Korean thing where too much soft as shite ballads and R&B has pussified them to the point they just can’t handle some fucking rock music that actually rocks.
J-Hope – Ego
It’s hilarious how BTS fans think their group’s output is somehow different from all other k-pop. Have they not seen and heard all other k-pop? I guess they’ve only also heard Blackpink and that’s the only thing they’ve got to compare it to because everything else in all of k-pop is too nugu for a BTS fan to know it even exists.
WJSN – Pantomime
This actually sounds really hideous, so either it really is live, or the engineers in the studio just couldn’t get a better performance out of them than this. Mind you even if it was sung really well it’s still a fucking shithouse version of the song. One of the dangers of covering “versions on live stages” is that they sometimes butcher the album version beyond repair, in this case if they’d actually stuck with the album version it would have been much better.
Kumiho – A (Kumiho Party A)
Tuneless garbage. I’ve rarely heard so much real singing and so few catchy melodies at the same time.
TuZi – Not Without U
Some rock band get a bad case of the millennial whoops, it’s not so bad actually but it’s not exactly rocking.
J01 – Oh-Eh-Oh
The person who submitted this gave me some helpful context, that they’re essentially a male equivalent to JYP’s Niziu, a group created by CJE&M for the Japanese market but managed by Koreans. No wonder I didn’t notice it but yes, it’s eligible. Yes, it’s also about as good as Niziu too i.e kind of trash.
Yukika – Love In A TV World
It was released as a single so I’ll count it just to be nice, although I’m not going to be nice because this is horrible, like Eyedi’s “& New” if everything interesting and good and punchy and spirited and alive-sounding about that song was surgically removed and the whole thing was flattened into a grey mush. I’m convinced Yukika has a good song in her but I haven’t heard it yet as this sure isn’t it.
K-Tigers – The Starry Night
Sadly all I could find was this choreo version with butchered audio but it’s the visuals I really like the most anyway.
Sunmi – Gotta Go
Alright so it sounded really good actually, and then you-know-what happened in the chorus and fucked everything up that it was building towards. Oh dear.
Fromis_9 – Weather
Today’s forecast is average with a chance of underscores.
015B ft. Dongha – I See You
A very authentic and skilled recreation of a style of music that I really don’t give any fucks about.
Twice – Up No More
I like it how before the song starts you get a minute-long blend of all their other better songs that you’d rather be listening to instead.
FINAL RANDOM BONUS VIDEOS FOR 2020
The many types of bad camerawork in k-pop
One big reason why I really couldn’t be fucked checking out many live stages in the first place isn’t the music, but the nauseating camerawork. Fuck, they do some bullshit. This is a really good compilation of all the most common types of complete nonsense camerawork that appears on music shows. Enjoy and good luck getting through to the end without getting a headache!
Seungyeon & Sua’s “Tadow” Dance Collaboration Video – behind the scenes
Two different behind the scenes videos here of the “Tadow” dance video shoot which I’m sure you’ve all already seen, one from Seungyeon of CLC’s point of view, one from Sua of Dreamcatcher’s. I’m sure someone reading this will find these useful for something.
Loona TV #674
All Loona fans quickly send stuff to Olivia Hye saying you like her triangle lip and don’t fuck it up with some stupid surgery or something.
PRODUSORN: Trying military MRE for the first time
Sorn from CLC eats military rations. I don’t think Sorn is an optimal choice for any country’s defense force, for South Korea to have any hope of withstanding an invasion she needs to learn to read the instructions and assemble her taco in a timely manner. Bombs are dropping girl, just put the beans in the goddamn bread already.
That’s all for roundups in 2020! Any songs released after this post will be considered for 2021 lists instead. Anything released before this post, that I missed – I probably missed it on purpose. Rest assured I did real ALL reader suggestions (yes even you guys who send me like 200 in the same message)!
Christmas roundup: 25th December
Honourable/dishonourable mentions: 27th December
Best/worst of 2020 – 31st December
Stay safe, caonimas!