It’s time once again for the most hated list in all of the kpoposphere, that’s right – it’s time to take a look at Kpopalypse’s worst k-pop songs of 2020! Read on if you think you can handle it!
So how was 2020? Very strange. The year started off with some real k-pop stinkers, and while the peaks of quality in k-pop did generally improve throughout the year, over 90% of it was still a bland boring mess of limp styles and formats that nobody sensible wants to hear, which the coronoavirus pandemic completely failed to prevent or even significantly stem the tide of. However this list was still a very difficult one to compile – while k-pop has a huge pool of songs released every year that are certainly dull, unremarkable, uninteresting, and just plain boring, finding k-pop songs that are truly genuinely bad as opposed to grass-watchingly average is more of a challenge. However never let it be said that Kpopalypse is not up for the toughest tasks in k-pop writing, so now I present to you my handpicked worst k-pop songs of 2020!
Most people will probably skip straight to the list part and then check with shaking hands and sweaty palms if their favourite artists’ favourite songs are included here so they can then go and complain about it somewhere, but if you’re a new reader and/or reasonably intelligent you may wish to read the below dot points before you dive in. These points explain this list’s criteria and general aims.
- Songs are from 1st January 2020 to 31st December 2020, however the time window for this list actually extends a little bit before both of these dates to catch any turds that may have missed making it into previous year’s lists. This list was published on 31st December 2020 but may appear earlier for some readers due to timezones.
- Feature tracks only – songs released with a music video, or as a single, or featured on live stages.
- OST songs are not eligible, because they’re such complete crap that they would dominate this list and make it a very boring read.
- Songs for sporting events are not eligible, nor are Christmas songs, which are of such consistently low quality that they have their own special list of dicksuckitude just for them.
- “K-pop” is deliberately defined a little loosely for this list as music coming from the Korean industry – songs that aren’t strictly “pop” are eligible. Songs from Koreans trying to break into non-Korean markets are eligible. Western attempts at “being a k-pop” are also eligible.
- This list is 100% subjective, it’s all about what I think of the music. Sure, often I’ll discuss other aspects too, but that’s mainly just for entertainment, as most of these songs actually have similar flaws and repeating myself a whole ton does not make for a very fun list. The other factors don’t really have any bearing on which songs made it into here. Yes this list is biased – as it should be, because what is the point of a personal list with no bias in it – but it’s musically biased.
- The opinions expressed here are not important and do not represent any kind of “authority”. This list proves nothing except what my own subjective opinions are. Your own opinions will most likely differ. If you find yourself completely agreeing with absolutely all opinions that you read in this list (or anyone else’s list), I would actually have serious concerns for your mental health. Thinking for yourself is good!
- If you are upset by this list, you’re probably taking one person’s opinions perhaps just a little too seriously. I create these “worst-of” lists for laughs, fun times with my friends, and as a challenge to myself to try and extract entertainment value out of what I consider to be terribad k-pop songs. The lists aren’t designed to be “edgy” or “antagonistic” – if that’s how you’re reading them, you need to take a serious step back, a deep breath, and consider how you managed to lose perspective on your life to such a degree that you’d actually take seriously a stupid opinionated list of songs written by some idiot on the Internet who just did it for fun. However if that’s too hard for you (and I understand that k-pop fandom brainwashing is a real thing which can erode individual thinking and make it difficult to separate subjective opinions from personal attacks), there’s tons of other k-pop lists on the Internet, and more being made each and every year, and they’re almost all more fluffy and cuddly than this one, so why not go and check one of those out instead of wasting your time and energy allowing my dumb opinions free shelf space inside your head?
- On the other hand if you’re thinking I’m just someone who hates k-pop in general, well it’s probably true that I hate a great deal of it (Sturgeon’s Law applies to k-pop as it apples to everything else), but know that the Kpopalypse favourites list for 2020 is also a thing so maybe go and check that out to hear some much better songs, I highly recommend it.
Enough preamble that nobody is going to pay any attention to anyway, let’s get on with the list!
KPOPALYPSE’S WORST K-POP SONGS OF 2020
30. Loona – So What
There’s nothing like a good Loona song to start off another Kpopalypse list, and “So What” is nothing like a good Loona song. Veteran readers will know that I used this exact same opening line when reviewing T-ara’s “Yayaya” for my “worst of the golden age” list, and since Loona have pretty much become T-ara 2.0 in the sense that they form a large part of the conceptual continuity that this website now pivots around in the way that T-ara once did (and still does, to a degree), plagiarising myself here seems completely appropriate. In fact I could justifiably reuse almost every sentence of my original text from the “Yayaya” review here, as “So What” is similar to “Yayaya” in many ways, from the screechy annoying vocals with barely any melody or harmony to speak of, to the random catchphrases that make literally no sense at all, to the cacophonous nonsensical backing track, to the mostly awful fashions and styling where the girls barely even look like themselves. If anything “Yayaya” is actually a slightly better song, because even though it was tuneless, annoying, incoherent and ugly, at least it was also a unique (if failed) attempt at something genuinely different. On top of all the things wrong with “Yayaya”, “So What” also takes no musical chances – it’s generic, shouty and dull like any rejected Red Velvet feature track might be, which is possibly exactly what this is, given that SM ex-CEO Lee Soo Man had a hand in the creative direction. Whether he’s trying to deliberately sabotage the competition or he just sucks at conceptualising music in general is anyone’s guess, but by taking someone with such a high reputation on board and obviously having to then be beholden to all of that person’s wacky creative decisions, Blockberry really did take that cringeworthy video introduction’s advice to “burn yourself” a bit too literally.
And that’s the best song in this list. Oh boy.
29. Cignature – Assa
When the girls of Cignature start clapping at the start of “Assa” and then all chant “I don’t care anymore!” it feels less like a statement of “bad girl attitude” or whatever we call indifference when it’s lyrically expressed by a bunch of servants who are whipped within an inch of their life to care about every little detail of their own lives, and more like a profound realisation that the songwriter wasn’t appropriately motivated to do anything decent. Some of the beats and sounds here actually aren’t too bad at all, but the vocals are the brick inside the sack full of drowning kittens that’s dragging this all down to the bottom of the river. Of course I’m not talking about vocal ability or technique (only fuckwits care about that), or even vocal tone (most groups sound exactly like each other by design, Cignature are no exception) or even lyrical choice (if I can put up with Blackpink’s cringey garbage I can put up with this too) but rather melodic choice and vocal meter are the issues. When it’s not just dumb chanting, it’s meandering blues-scale R&B crap, and when it’s not that, it’s totally idiotic tonally clashing nursery rhyme note choices that simply should not be in a song for adults. Oh and then of course there’s those breakdowns which suck and that we absolutely have to have because reasons. These are problems that have been rampant throughout all Korean pop music in 2020 and I could probably just recycle this review with a few small subtle changes for a bunch of other songs on this list.
28. Keembo – 99 (Gu Gu)
Is there a sadder story in k-pop than Spica? Well actually, yes – most of them, but let’s just spare a thought for Spica anyway. For those new to this k-pop thing, Spica were basically Mamamoo 1.0 – a group that were unashamedly an idol group but also one where vocal prowess was much more front-and-center than usual for such groups. Spica had some great songs throughout their short career, plus they definitely could sing, however where Spica went wrong and Mamamoo went right was the visuals – k-pop fans don’t actually give a shit about vocals, they just pretend that they do. Most k-pop fans (and especially those “k-pop vocal analysts”) actually don’t know the first thing about how pop music vocals even work, but they will flock to someone who is attractive and who they can idolise, and then if there’s vocals they can pick apart they will do so, but make no mistake – the idolatry comes first, and that’s appearance-based. Spica sure fucking proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that’s why we have Mamamoo in 2020 and not Spica. However the two main girls in Spica (i.e the less attractive but the best singers) did recently reform as Keembo, and unfortunately they are victims of what I call “Mamamoo syndrome” – because they are very talented, they’ve given themselves (or have been given) an almost completely blank template to vocalise over, just some lame generic two-chord summer beat thing. This isn’t a song, it’s a “vocal jam”, and a boring one. I wish them all the best but I really don’t want to hear them practice, come back when you have an actual song to do.
27. SuperM – Tiger Inside
Many years after EXO’s infamous “Wolf“, SM Entertainment turn to writing songs about their idols being animals once again, however now it’s not a wolf inside these boys but a tiger. Given that some of the same personnel that are in SuperM were also in EXO, does that mean that the wolf living inside EXO was a lie all this time? I thought it was so cool in the music video how the boys actually transformed into a wolf but now I realise it was probably just CGI effects. I think that all the EXO members in SuperM should apologise for lying to the public, it’s one thing to accidentally leak a compromising photo on Instagram, it’s quite another to completely lie about your inner animal for years. I feel like the veil has been ripped away and my heart hurts, I will never look at k-pop the same again. I suppose you might also want to know why the song is bad – as if there is even any point in considering this, given that all purpose and meaning in my life as a k-pop writer is now lost. I guess I’ll humour you. It’s mainly that the song has no consistent tonal scheme, like a lot of SM Entertainment’s boy group stuff it just sort of goes everywhere, throwing a ton of melodic ideas into the mix without any regard for how those ideas might work together. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if the song also didn’t plod along at funeral pace like so much pop music now, the last four letters of the YouTube URL for this video actually spell out the word “slow” and it shows. I think these are good reasons to not like the song, but most of all fuck them for lying about the wolf, now I have to take my EXO wolf mural down and burn it as I cry for my half-written EXO fursona fanfiction.
26. Twice – More & More
Twice have been skating around the horrid overused “tropical house” sound for a couple years now. “Dance The Night Away“, “Feel Special” and “Fancy” all teetered on the brink of that awful marimba-infused instrumental-chorus slop that’s been infecting Korean pop during the latter part of the 2010s, but instead the group’s songwriters just stole the general tropical concept and flavour, while moving the actual music itself over into more fertile creative areas, to the great relief of everyone. Now that’s how musical trends should work – grab the idea and concept, but instead of just copying the template exactly how it’s served up to you, twist the formula around a little and make it your own. No such luck this time around – with “More & More” Twice have finally come good on their threat and jumped the warm-water shark in the most bland style possible, and while that would probably be a terrible enough situation on its own, someone then clearly decided that the song didn’t have enough horrid 2010s trend-riding in it so they made sure to also throw a dubstep breakdown and a half time trap breakdown in there as well. The result is easily the worst song ever from a group which has usually attracted top-tier songwriters and has an impressive track record of generally good material, and the fact that a second English language version of this was even considered let alone released boggles the mind, if they wanted international appeal they should have just ran with “Fancy” last year. Here’s hoping that whoever was responsible for this has finally worked the urge to dabble in this type of nonsense sound out of their system for good and Twice can carry on being better than average in the future.
25. Hyo ft. Loopy, Soyeon – Dessert
I don’t know how much input (G)I-dle’s Soyeon is allowed to have into her music but I’ve heard that it’s actually quite a lot, or at least a great deal more than many people in her position get to enjoy. Now that’s certainly good for her, because it means that she might actually get to make decent money at some point, but unfortunately it would certainly also explain why everything with her name on it seems to be terrible. While some musicians do hit creative success at the very early stages of their career, the fact is that for the majority of people, the creative ideas that they have when they’re a young person just actually aren’t all that good. Songwriting, like most things in life, is a craft that people tend to get better at as they age and get more practice at doing it, so I wouldn’t necessarily even expect an idol songwriter to be any good. Of course I’m writing this without even knowing what the writing credits to this song are, but to be honest I don’t give a fuck really because it sucks no matter who wrote it anyway, which means that the whole tangent in this review was possibly for nothing, but hey who gives a fuck. I mean whoever wrote this clearly doesn’t give a fuck about any of us, passing off that weird synth portamento riff like it’s something somebody would actually want to listen to as a pop hook and filling the rest of the song with fucking whoop noises that don’t even count as “millennial” because there isn’t any melody there. Only the pre-chorus is semi-acceptable but it’s not enough to drag this one out of the mud. At least the visual style is on point, and Hyoyeon is probably the only idol in existence who can actually pull off that tie-dyed disaster clothing, so at least this thing has one purpose which is to retain her relevance as a visual, for whatever that’s worth, I’m sure the last dozen or so remaining Sones give a fuck.
24. Like Me – Like Me
I’m not sure if “like me” is a request, a demand or a threat, but after listening to this horrid song I feel strongly compelled to resist. These girls certainly also have somewhat of a disco vibe with the flared trousers, but the actual music is nothing like that and actually more of your trendy nu-school bass-heavy slow dance routine that all the girl groups are doing these days. The video is a real visual mismatch, it sounds like a song that needs to be accompanied by a dark room, lots of strobes and mood lighting, and maybe a random sports car in the background for them to not drive, but instead the video director opted for a day on the sunny rooftop, which I guess was cheaper but unfortunately the abundance of clear lighting just highlights the general lameness of the dance routine. Some T-ara style fast cutting plus a good smoke machine and some heavy strobes would have been just the ticket to obscure this limp dancing enough to make it look semi-acceptable, but on the bright side nobody who watches this will call Blackpink’s Jennie lazy ever again. Yeah I know this review is just straight cut-and-pasted from their Nugu Alert feature, but their agency clearly didn’t make any effort with this fucking crap so I don’t see why I should make any.
23. Owen – Studio Junkie
This just in: Owen can’t rap. Well, okay, I don’t know, maybe he’s some kind of rap god in Korean, although I doubt it, given the super-low quality of this beat – good rappers usually have better taste – but he sure doesn’t cut it as a rapper in English whatsoever. He doesn’t seem really aware of how fucking stupid that chorus sounds, and wow does it sound fucking dumb, like he is the biggest loser dumbass ever, it’s right down there with Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” in terms of insultingly bad garbage. Mind you millions of people loved that fucking bullshit song, so maybe I’m just an old out-of-touch cunt who doesn’t understand the appeal of the best that music has to offer these days. Perhaps “Studio Junkie” is actually the best song anybody has ever heard, although why it’s called “Studio Junkie” is anybody’s guess, perhaps because “My Tummy Full Of Pillies” just sounded too fucktarded, even for a Korean rapper where the standards of fucktardom are already super low. It hurts my head to think how something like this could have even been created. Let’s just not think about it too much (because it’s clear that nobody who was creating this did, so why should we) and move on quickly.
22. Areal – Wake Me Up
When the girls of Areal start chanting ‘wake up, wa-wake up’, it feels less like a statement of “bad girl attitude” or whatever we call indifference when it’s lyrically expressed by a bunch of servants who are whipped within an inch of their life to care about every little detail of their own lives, and more like a profound realisation that the songwriter wasn’t appropriately motivated to do anything decent. Some of the beats and sounds here actually aren’t too bad at all, but the vocals are the brick inside the sack full of drowning kittens that’s dragging this all down to the bottom of the river. Of course I’m not talking about vocal ability or technique (only fuckwits care about that), or even vocal tone (most groups sound exactly like each other by design, Areal are no exception) or even lyrical choice (if I can put up with Blackpink’s cringey garbage I can put up with this too) but rather melodic choice and vocal meter are the issues. When it’s not just dumb chanting, it’s meandering blues-scale R&B crap, and when it’s not that, it’s totally idiotic tonally clashing nursery rhyme note choices that simply should not be in a song for adults. Oh and then of course there’s those breakdowns which suck and that we absolutely have to have because reasons. These are problems that have been rampant throughout all Korean pop music in 2020 and I could probably just recycle this review with a few small subtle changes for a bunch of other songs on this list.
21. Balming Tiger ft. Omega Sapien, wnjn – Kolo Kolo
I don’t know what “hakuna matata” means, but what I do know is that it’s one of those cursed phrases that is always super annoying, much like “I’m so bad” – you know that when you hear it in a k-pop song, unless the songwriters are very competent, there may be quality issues. No such fear of competency in this case, the quality issue here is that this song is literally a bass drum, a chant, some clinking noises or whatever, and nothing else. Okay so there’s a few raps too but they all suck, and there’s that stupid R&B breakdown that’s ten seconds long and which adds nothing because it’s supposed to be a “soft” contrast to the “hard” beat but the beat isn’t actually going very hard because it’s too lame and basic. The rhythm could potentially have been built into something really cool (Bewhy’s “Gottasadae” is a good example of getting similarly textured material and then building it successfully into something worthwhile) but as it stands there’s just not enough actual music in there for the song to have any impact, it sounds like someone just gave up on writing it halfway through and just said “fuck it, it has a beat and some guy yelling a bit, that’ll do, isn’t that all that the kids want these days”. It really also doesn’t help that there’s so little lyrical variety, so maybe the constant repeating of “hakuna matata” is fucking stupid, but really I’m the one who’s even more stupid for listening to it all the way through.
20. Loopy – Villain
People who watch the regular Kpopalypse livestreams will know that at the end of these, once I’ve taken a look at the week’s k-pop stuff, answered people’s questions, discussed whatever is happening on the website that week, plus fed my cat some treats (the important part), I tend to finish off the stream with playing computer games. I’m no master gamer or anything as my reflexes are quite bad because I’m an old cunt so I don’t even play all that well, but I grew up with computer games and still like them so I mainly just do it for some fun and also to give those who wish a chance to chat some more after the k-pop part of the stream is over in the group chat if they want to. I try to stream a different game each week where possible just to keep it interesting, and one week I decided to take a look at “Lost Daughter” because it happened to be free on Steam that week. It remains to date the very worst game that I have ever streamed, and one of the worst things about it is that between the Z-grade Grand Theft Auto style gameplay (I use the term “gameplay” loosely), the plot of the game is told through horridly drawn comics, that look exactly like the ones in Loopy’s “Villain” video, and also make about as much narrative sense. Watching the video gave me PTSD of playing Lost Daughter and getting annoyed at cars and people warping through scenery, having to do stupid tasks involving shooting at blocky “thugs” using some weird recoil-less weapon and the whole thing running at 10 FPS. I know this doesn’t really have anything to do with the music, but honestly one of these dull “I want to be R&B so bad but I couldn’t be fucked getting even one vocal lesson, let me just switch on this pedal” R&B/rap songs sounds much the same as all of them so there really isn’t a lot to say and I have to go on these stupid tangents just to keep myself awake. Anyway it’s to rap music’s eternal shame that they’ve let their own culture be ruined by this effortless, creativity-less garbage which is as easy to make as turning on Autotune and rambling over any excuse for a beat that someone can cook up in about 30 seconds, and just know that when people say “hip-hop is dead” this is exactly what they’re talking about.
19. Moonsun ft. Khundi Panda – Orb
It’s very clear as soon as this song starts up that you’re going to be hearing something very different. Now that’s generally a good thing so it made me quite hopeful of this song which only had double-digit views when I first listened to it. Then the rhythms started and the hope quickly vanished. I get that the rhythm is actually 6/8 in groups of three bars and that’s fine, and the singer is locking in with that too and that’s okay I guess, but the way the singer’s interpretation of the amount of swing necessary for delivery of the vocal line rubs up against the beat’s stricter interpretation of the rhythm is just nausea-inducing, like when you’re playing a 3D computer game and you can’t invert the Y axis of your mouse because the developers are too stupid to put the option in. However even that would be tolerable if she was singing something that sounded good, but she just repeats that same melodic line over and over, just shifting up the key when the song moves to chord IV like every boring blues-based song ever. I really don’t like putting super-nugus in lists like these because I know how hard it is to actually be a nugu musician, but Moonsun’s vocal lines are more annoying than Paimon’s English voice acting and someone needs to say something. It’s so irritating than when generic Korean rap guy #5872 comes in to do his thing it’s actually somewhat of a relief, and you know a vocal-based song is in trouble when the stupid rap break is actually relatively pleasant compared to the rest of the song. This song is definitely not emergency food.
18. Loren – Empty Trash
Loren is the guy who gets his guitar smashed by Rose in Blackpink’s “Lovesick Girls” video and is apparently also involved in some other Blackpink content like Rose’s Instagram lives and maybe some producing. I’m told that he also used to DJ at Burning Sun, that he’s a model, and on top of that, he’s the son of the CEO at Korean media portal Naver, which means that perhaps there’s a reasonable chance he knows even more than Seungri about all that Burning Sun shit but won’t ever get asked in the press about it due to his connections, and word on the street is that he also was a tremendous bully in his high school days. Now that’s a resume to rival Han Seo Hee, all that’s missing is the drug allegations (for now). Of course I can’t verify any of it, and hey maybe it’s all bullshit and he’s actually a perfectly lovely young man, so let’s not hate on him unreasonably – let’s instead pick apart this drastically fucking shit song. Seemingly selling itself as some kind of rock music, the rhythm track is all cheesy trap style sounds and sub-bass with hardly any actual meaty rock sounds to be found anywhere despite the endless rock-star style posing with instruments that you can’t actually hear any of on the track. Only the multiple layers of washed-out guitar providing any dirt, and even that’s capped off with a pedestrian babys-first-melody that just sort of grinds along with the same three notes, getting more and more stale and rhythmically simple as it goes on. It’s a bit like Boys Next Door’s “Shivers” with modernised music but without Nick Cave’s lyrical skill, so instead of coming across like a good guy stuck in a bad personal situation that one can maybe empathise with, Loren just kind of sounds whiny and dull like he should get over himself and maybe go outside more. You’d think that someone who used to DJ at Burning Sun would have a little bit more of a sunny outlook on life given that he still has a career after all that shit went down and many other people who used to frequent that club do not, if I was in his shoes I’d be kissing the ground I walk on every day and doing covers of “Walkin’ On The Sunshine” or maybe a fucking song with that Pororo bird so maybe on second thoughts we should be thanking our lucky stars that he seems like a really miserable seedy cunt. Song still sucks shit though, so at least it’s perfectly titled.
17. Episode – Open My Door
When the girls of Episode start doing those meandering verse melodies, it feels less like a statement of “bad girl attitude” or whatever we call indifference when it’s lyrically expressed by a bunch of servants who are whipped within an inch of their life to care about every little detail of their own lives, and more like a profound realisation that the songwriter wasn’t appropriately motivated to do anything decent. Some of the beats and sounds here actually aren’t too bad at all, but the vocals are the brick inside the sack full of drowning kittens that’s dragging this all down to the bottom of the river. Of course I’m not talking about vocal ability or technique (only fuckwits care about that), or even vocal tone (most groups sound exactly like each other by design, Episode are no exception) or even lyrical choice (if I can put up with Blackpink’s cringey garbage I can put up with this too) but rather melodic choice and vocal meter are the issues. When it’s not just dumb chanting, it’s meandering blues-scale R&B crap, and when it’s not that, it’s totally idiotic tonally clashing nursery rhyme note choices that simply should not be in a song for adults. Oh and then of course there’s those breakdowns which suck and that we absolutely have to have because reasons. These are problems that have been rampant throughout all Korean pop music in 2020 and I could probably just recycle this review with a few small subtle changes for a bunch of other songs on this list. (Yes I know it’s boring to read the same review three times, now think about how bored I was having to listen to about 200 songs that sounded just like this throughout the year and try to find something vaguely interesting to write about each one beyond “this sucks – again”.)
16. A.new – Be A Rich (Money Rain Shower)
I always wondered what happened to online group Anonymous, that was supposedly going to change everything and save the world or whatever but seem to have gotten very fucking quiet over these last few years just when the world could actually use a little saving, yeah they did do a little bit of stuff recently but it’s a dull roar compared to what they were up to ten years ago when people were legitimately afraid of them. All we seem to have these days is those crappy failures at life QAnon, some split-off wack-jobs who hilariously think that Trump actually cares about bringing sex criminals to justice, as if anyone is stupid enough to really believe he would shit in his own bed that keenly. However I think I’ve found what Anonymous have been doing all this time – hanging around in the background of rubbish Korean rap music videos wearing their trademark Guy Fawkes masks. It’s good to know that they’re keeping busy and out of trouble I guess, perhaps their plan is to help us all be a rich by advocating for universal basic income or something. Then we can all afford crappy neck tattoos, a spiffy red suit and a nice line-up of bottles to rap in front of like this A.new guy. Still, with less than two thousand views I’ve got to hand it to this guy – he certainly didn’t purchase any YouTube traffic with that money, so he’s definitely not “making it rain” over at any dodgy saejegi-for-hire fake streaming companies. Hopefully A.new isn’t blowing his cash on hookers and weed either but is saving up his “money rain shower” for something cool, like a songwriter and producer he can hire to make a better track than this one next time.
15. Blackpink ft. Selena Gomez – Ice Cream
The Blackpink hive-mind shat on me big-time earlier this year when I dared to suggest that maybe Blackpink would be better served with a comeback featuring just themselves rather than a collaboration with some random westerner, but not as much as Blackpink and Selena Gomez themselves who shat on all of us with this absolute trash. Despite the constant boringly obvious double entendres in the lyrics (“Ice Cream = sex” or whatever, yeah okay, we get it), “Ice Cream” is musically pure throwaway nursery-rhyme gruel that sounds like it’s aimed directly at the under-six pop fanbase. Watching the Blackpink girls stumble their way through some of the worst English language lyrics a k-pop star has ever uttered to horrible major scale “baby’s first piano” style arpeggios is jarring and kind of icky, coming off like deliberate fraudulent moral hang-wringing to get the lyrics past censors and concerned parents as hOw cOuLD A sOnG tHAt SoUnDs sO sUnNy aNd bRiGhT lIkE a cHiLdReNs sOnG bE aBoUt aNytHinG oThEr tHaN lItErAl IcE cReAm. Childrens’ TV at least in Australia always had that sly nod and wink to the bored parents who had to mind their kids by inserting subtle sexual shit everywhere that children wouldn’t get, they sure knew that you didn’t want to listen to “row, row, row the fucking boat cunt” without any cherry on top because nobody wants to listen to children’s music apart from actual children. Likewise, “Ice Cream” is tarted up with sexual innuendo aplenty and all the girls looking ridiculously good to help grown-up Blinks swallow the bitter pill that they are being force-fed child-minding music at its worst. I guess that’s thoughtful in some kind of fucked up creepy way, unfortunately it doesn’t make the listening experience any better, or even really explain why somebody would make this kind of nonsense in the first place. I’m not even sure if I can blame Selena as her other stuff doesn’t really sound like this, I guess that must mean that once again it’s YG’s fault, in any event you really do have to exist on YG levels of creep to appreciate this one.
14. Momoland – Tiki Taka
Oh, speaking of children’s music, that fucking Pororo bird sure had a lot to answer for in 2020. “Tiki Taka” is of course billed as “Momoland x Pororo” but that’s just to please the rugrat audience whose parents haven’t told them yet that Pororo, Santa Claus and Kim Jong Un’s personal trainer aren’t actually real. Of course the music is the type of shit you would generally expect from Disney TV hour except even more crap, so there’s not really that much to discuss – if you got bored of “here we go around the mulberry bush” by the time you were out of diapers this song isn’t for you. It’s not all bad news – of course Jooe gets about 50% of the screen time once again because she pretty much is Momoland these days, which is fine, and sure I’d like to see more of the other girls too but I understand that this is capitalism and there are products that need to be sold so I can let it slide. Also everyone looks great, apart from that fucking bird and his crocodile friend, who are natural predator and prey in the real world so they really should be trying to kill each other, but instead they’re getting along like a house on fire and that’s because they’re both predator here and the prey is the innocent people like me and you and thousands of others having their minds curdled by this shit. I suggest you give this one the bird.
13. Sohyang – Stay
Someone got shitty at me when I said in my roundups that this song was “pure cancer”, because apparently Sohyang had cancer or something, as if I actually closely follow the medical conditions of all k-pop idols and ex-idols and would even know or remember something like this. The fact is that cancer is very common – about one third of all of us will probably actually get cancer at some point, and about 99% of Korean singers will do a cancerous ballad, so that’s even more common, therefore the chances of me describing something in the future as “pure cancer” and either that person or someone in their group having or knowing someone who has cancer are extremely high. Does that mean I should stop describing the music this way? Of course not, and in fact I’m probably going to make a point of doing it even more, because I’m not entirely convinced that there isn’t a medical link anyway, who says that music this boring doesn’t atrophy the body and cause cancer cells to multiply? I remember one time that my grandmother came to visit our house, I was probably about five years old at the time, and my mother (T-ara’s Boram) told me “make sure you don’t say anything inappropriate” because even at that young age I had already gained a reputation for being a complete cunt. Anyway, we sat down to dinner, which was a steak of some sort, and I was horrified to see that my grandmother was eating the entire steak, gristly fat bits and all, instead of trimming that shit off like I and the rest of our family would do. Anyway so the dinner conversation turned to her trying to lose weight (somehow, wasn’t me who led it there) and I came out with the pearly wisdom of “grandma, if you don’t want to get fat, you shouldn’t eat fat”. Of course everyone was horrified, especially Boram who chastised me once again for dropping inappropriate truth bombs but I was just like “What did I say wrong?” Anyway I’m a bit older and wiser now and I recognise that people are sometimes offended by the truth, so Sohyang, I’m sorry if I caused you any offence by saying that your song was “pure cancer”, I really didn’t mean to ridicule your medical condition or that of your loved ones, “pure cancer” is just a turn of a phrase and I was just trying to say that “Stay” is just a fucking total worthless rancid boring ballad piece of fucking shit that should never be performed or listened to by anyone ever plus all recordings of it should probably be destroyed for the good of humanity. I hope this is now clear, I shall reflect on my actions.
12. Park Sungho – Heyri Girl
Rapists, pedophiles, neo-Nazis, whoever is writing all those Pororo songs, and yodel singers. We could argue all day about which one of these categories of people is the most morally reprehensible, but they certainly all deserve their own wing of the prison, sectioned off so they can’t corrupt normal murderers and robbers who might otherwise have some slim hope of redemption. This isn’t some random concept either – Park Sungho has the uniform and the shitty dancing correct and present, which means that he knows exactly what this is and is doing it deliberately for whatever godforsaken reason. The music here sounds exactly like the German beer drinking polkas that my father would listen to (which is as modern as his music taste got – as soon as 1950s rock and roll hit, all popular music in his eyes was “just noise”) but at least those strapping German lads in their baggy overalls kept mostly within their vocal range and they didn’t yodel, which actually means those crap songs from my dad’s dusty 12″ vinyls were better than “Heyri Girl”. This is quite amazing to me, as I never thought I’d find anything in k-pop that was both similar to and worse than my father’s record collection. There isn’t even some Fräulein in a low-cut dirndl holding a stein of warm ale to spice things up visually, although probably only Twice’s Jihyo has the required figure to really make such a concept work and I understand that she would come at a fee that is probably out of nugu yodeler reach. Anyway, safe to say that this is trash as well as all other songs in this entire genre, and I’m going to refuse to cover any future songs that sound like this because in the unlikely event that a beer drinking polka yodel trend sweeps through Korea’s pop music scene, these lists will become filled with this and only this type of music, which would make my future yearly “worst of k-pop” lists very accurate, but also very boring to actually read. It’s bad enough that we’ve had to put up with tropical house, we need to draw the line somewhere.
11. Bling Bling – La La La
Okay, so Loona’s “So What” sure is a crappy song that has a lot wrong with it, as discussed in more detail above, so I don’t really need to go through the reasons why the song is a failure again. However “So What” doesn’t suck anywhere near as much as “So What” on a shoestring budget – if nothing else at least Loona have some good sounds in there, even if they don’t do a damn thing worth knowing about with those sounds. Whoever wrote “La La La” can’t even get the sonics right, with every single synth and drum patch here sounding like it came straight out of the same Casio keyboard’s default settings and was just dry-input directly into the desk. On top of that they’ve included everything else that’s wrong about girl group music in 2020 – too much shouting and trying to be “badass”, cacophonous backings that make no sense when they’re paired with the vocals, or even when they’re not paired with the vocals, random nursery-rhyme melodies for no reason, laughably poor lyrics, riffs that audibly clash with the few vocal lines that are actually sung, and so on. Even the clothes in this “performance” video are hideous, with each girl seemingly having their outfit calculated to be as simultaneously skin-revealing yet unappealing as possible. The only ray of light here is that the chorus has an actual reasonable chord change or two in it, but the ride to get there is so appalling that you could be forgiven for not even noticing any harmony changes above the sound of your own screaming as you beg whoever is playing this to you to turn this shit the fuck off. Even Chris from Korean Indie didn’t know what the fuck to make of this bullshit and he’s heard a lot of eclectic music in his life, so I don’t think the rest of us have much chance of figuring it out either.
10. Digital Dav – Weekend Getaway
Somewhere in my radio station’s library which stretches back to 1979 is a 12″ vinyl by a guy called “Devastatin’ Dave (The Turntable Slave)”, called “Zip Zap Rap“. It’s one of those records that nobody ever plays on air but that is taken out to laugh at a lot just because of the sheer ridiculousness of the way the album art looks, as it’s such an amusing relic. When I heard “Weekend Getaway” fir the first time, I wondered if he’s related to his namesake Digital Dave. It actually prompted me to listen to Devastatin’ Dave’s “Zip Zap Rap” for the first time ever, and I’ve got to say, Devastatin’ Dave absolutely has the better song – it has some sort of beat, it’s kind of funny, and it even has a worthwhile message (“don’t be a dope/don’t smoke that coke”). Meanwhile all Digital Dav can do it throw money around like a materialistic fuckwit and whine nasally at some girl about “let’s escaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape from the cityscaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape”, oh how this type of music has gone downhill. It’s amazing how the absolute dogshit we used to laugh at heartily in the 1980s actually stands the test of time pretty well compared to the new morass of characterless, formless, idea-less digitised R&B shit which will probably all be swept away in the sands of time. I don’t want to sound like one of those “it was better in my day” old cunts, because to a large extent it really wasn’t, but a few select things were actually better and this is one of them. Let’s hope he does go on that weekend getaway, break down somewhere far, far away from a recording studio and start a new life in the wilderness doing something productive with all that money, like just about anything at all except for this.
9. Lim Kim – Mong
So there was once this vocal group called Miranda Sex Garden. I remember listening to them on Australian TV’s late night music video show “Rage” when their single “Gush Forth My Tears” came out, which wasn’t a bad song actually, so when their debut album “Madra” came out, I bought that shit based on the strength of the single (plus they all mrs just quietly). Upon listening to the album, I noticed a problem, which is that all the girls in the group had basically the same vocal range so when they sung on top of each other doing all these layered vocals, it actually was annoying as piss to listen to. While it wasn’t specifically promoted as such, the “Gush Forth My Tears” single that I did like was actually a “dance remix” with instruments that filled out the lower frequencies quite nicely, whereas the entire album was produced by some classical music fuckhead and was just those three girls unaccompanied all the way through because I guess he figured that was enough. “Madra” remains one of the most grating albums I’ve ever heard for this reason, it’s truly the “Metal Machine Music” of the voice, despite the girls all singing and harmonising quite well, just because of the constant irritation of hearing the same small collection of frequencies over and over with basically no textural variation and those same classical cadences ad nauseum, even the girls themselves seemingly couldn’t stand it and dumped their acapella concept after just one album. That’s what listening to Lim Kim’s “Mong” is like, even though “Mong” is hardly acapella it has a similar effect – apart from the odd stray random bass drum everything is built into that same tiny window of frequency, from the vocals, to the twinkly noises, to the other twinkly noises, and the funny crash thing, and so on and so on. Even worse is that Lim Kim doesn’t even have that great a handle on what to sing through all this, and her pentatonic warbling just sounds aimless and adds to the irritation factor. I get wanting to be all “independent” and “different” and stuff and if nothing else this is very unique so good on her once again for trying (and I’m sure this song will please other sites with low musical standards who just want cultural boxes ticked and nothing more), but as with last year’s “Yellow” she’s proven once again that music can’t live off concept alone.
8. Kana Bathe – When I Feel Love
Remember those crappy whispery raps that Madonna used to put in her songs back in the days when hip-hop was first really trending in the pop sphere and she was going through her “hey everybody I have a vagina, I am a human female” phase? Well okay, that was about 30 years ago so I’ll actually understand if you don’t remember any of that, as even those of us who were alive back then have been doing our best to erase from our memory that phase Madonna went through where she decided that indistinct grunting sounded better than songs. Anyway there’s something kind of like that at the start of Kana Bathe’s “When I Feel Love”, and it’s not really any better or worse than when Madonna did it, but what’s probably the most notable about it is that it’s actually the song’s highlight. The rest of this junk is just the usual Autotuned slow crap that rappers use to try and pass themselves off as R&B singers even though nobody fucking asked them to sing like, ever, except it actually sounds more reedy and thin than it usually does. It’s almost as if the Autotune program itself was so disturbed by this music that in an act of AI heroism it refused to even process the full audio signal to try and save us all. If that’s not enough reasons to hate this bullshit song there’s a few dribs and drabs of tropical plinking around because gosh we sure haven’t heard enough of that sound over this last five years. The entire package comes off as confused an extraneous as Kana Bathe’s fancy eyewear that looks like a cross between a welding protection visor and a blue maggot with wings, someone quickly tell LA Galbi to put the meat back in the fridge before it gets flyblown.
7. Dbo – Sticky Top
This video starts off with Dbo sitting down with a girl on her knees in front of him. At first it looks like they’re engaging in friendly fun adult consensual sexual interactions, but then the camera pans around and instead we find out that Dbo and the girl are both playing disgusting mobile phone computer games. At this point you are obviously morally correct to be completely appalled and revolted because why would anyone willingly promote the scourge that is mobile gaming in a highly technologically advanced country with such a huge computer gaming culture where there are desktop PCs readily available. That opening moment is a pretty accurate indication of the lack of thought, moral values and mindfulness exhibited in the rest of the song, but just in case you were unsure, at 0:21 we get a solitary “eh”, which is probably not enough for a 2NE1 plagiarism controversy to start, but it’s still by far the best lyric on offer here. It’s all downhill from there as we’re treated to lots of horrible raps written while under the influence of “pussy money weed codeine”, and delivered in a voice so nasal that it’s almost impossible to tell if he’s hard Autotuned or not, accompanied by random dancing to a song with no actual beat in it as Dbo “puts the culture in my shit”, although it feels more like he’s putting the shit into my culture. You know a song is bad when the neighbours actually call the police to stop the music video shoot, you can see the cops in this video rolling up at 2:03 to say to Dbo “it’s too late at night for this trap nonsense, we have people in this area who actually work for a living trying to get to sleep you know”. If nothing else “Sticky Top” is certainly a very good laugh, which is the only thing that spared it from an even higher position here – I can’t penalise too harshly a song that gave me so much entertainment, even if it wasn’t for any of the reasons intended.
6. Leenalchi – Tiger Is Coming
Okay, is this song seriously for real or what. Someone please fill me in here, as I feel like I’m the victim of some kind of strange inside joke. “Tiger Is Coming” is such obviously unlistenable painful caterwauling nonsense, the video is equally crap being a 360 degree vision of computer-generated hell, and the like/dislike ratio on YouTube is so heavily skewed in the like direction that I’m convinced that I absolutely have to be getting trolled here. Clearly I’m the victim of some Truman Show style hoax, where thousands of people around the world created this fake band, this pretend song, then coordinated themselves to construct the social media presence and the views for it, and then surreptitiously slipped it into my roundup recommendations so I’d notice its existence and be appropriately horrified. The neighbours on the other side of my adjoined dwelling are probably monitoring my online presence through the walls and right now smiling to themselves as I write this review, high-fiving to each other as they order pizza to congratulate themselves on a job well done. That’s definitely what I’m going to tell myself anyway, because the alternative possibility, that there’s actually a bunch of people out there who listened to this song and really think it’s great, is unfathomable. Whatever reality scriptwriter thought this up, I’m sure there’s a hefty bonus waiting for you from your boss now that your plan has come to fruition, so enjoy yourself I guess, and I hope you didn’t actually have to listen to this too much as part of the process because I’d be seeking worker’s compensation for that if I were you.
5. Lil Cherry – Vitamin B
Amazingly, and despite seemingly trying really hard, Leenalchi didn’t even have the worst 360 degree computer generated video this year. Lil Cherry’s “Vitamin B” looks like it’s been made by the very same software as it has exactly the same weird quirk where even though it’s a complete 360 panoramic vision there’s literally nothing to look at which is off to the side anyway so they may as well not have even bothered and bored us to death in two dimensions like everyone else. However they worked out how to make the video even more irritating, by featuring a disjointed child avatar that resembles the godawful “Dancing Baby“, the 3D computer generated fetal turd from the 1990s that is widely known across the Internet as “the first meme” and is probably responsible for ensuring that an actual Internet meme culture didn’t properly develop until nearly a decade later because everybody was too busy vomiting and getting their tubes tied. Of course the only thing that could make this worse is some shitty trap music and naturally Lil Cherry delivers on that front as well with what is admittedly very appropriate visual accompaniment for such trash. So fitting is the voice to the images that after a few listens I’m actually now convinced that Lil Cherry looks exactly like the avatar in this video and what we’re watching isn’t a computer generated image slideshow but a reality TV documentary. Let’s hope we can all work out how to use the remote control quicker than Ozzy Osborne so we can switch the channel and forget this shit ever existed.
4. Singing Evergreen – Evergreen
The thing about the global pandemic that hit the planet in 2020, that makes it completely different from any other tragic world event is this: it’s not something that’s happening in an isolated area and affecting only certain people, like for instance, Australia’s bushfires, or flooding in the Philippines, or stupidity in America. The coronavirus affects literally all of us, and every single person reading this has had their lives changed by COVID-19 somehow. Due to this fact, there isn’t a reservoir of kind folks “not affected” somewhere that you can tug on the heartstrings of for sympathy, donations or 419-style scams – those of us who are alive are all going through it, somehow. Nobody has time for anyone else’s sob story, we’re all truly sick of hearing about it and just want to get to the other side of this godawful shit as best we can, and we sure as fuck don’t need any people running around “raising awareness” – oh fuck no. We’re all very aware, thank you so much for asking. Of course that doesn’t mean that if you’re a celebrity who really wants to “do some good” in the face of COVID-19, that there aren’t any options. Here’s a few.
- Give a bunch of money to someone who is helping, or better yet, someone who needs help
- Sew a fucking mask or two
- Make some free content that is entertaining and cool and that doesn’t involve or reference the pandemic in any way
But if you absolutely must get together with your singing buddies and do a song for all the medical professionals, at least don’t do a fucking ballad for fuck’s sake. These trot performers here had the right idea, I mean I still would have preferred they do a non-COVID themed song instead, but at least they did something rocking and cool that can inspire people to kick some virus ass, and they even put Sunny in the video just to “give them strength” even though she’s not on the track, now that’s consideration, we all love Sunny. Why not do something like that, instead of a remake of this dreary “Evergreen Tree” song that’s potentially going to make them fall asleep during their commute and cause a highway accident. The song wasn’t exactly outstanding in its original incarnation, but this reworked version is as generic as “benefit ballads” come, and anybody attempting to transform anyone else’s innocent song into a “benefit ballad” this awful should be made to do three months of 16-hour shifts working in a COVID ward changing bedsheets.
3. Oh My Girl – Bara Bam
I was going to make Pororo songs ineligible for the Kpopalypse worst-lists because I figured this would just get repetitive, as if digging through any of the turds on this list isn’t monotonous enough, but then I changed my mind when I heard “Bara Bam” – if I don’t tell these people not to do this, how will they know otherwise? Somebody needs to be out there informing these k-pop labels what isn’t acceptable music. I’ve got even less to say about “Bara Bam” than Momoland’s song, but it’s telling that only five members of Oh My Girl actually consented to participating in the group dance. I’m not sure how the others got out of doing this one, given the near total lack of control that idols generally have about anything at all I can only assume that they heard the next-level irritating chorus and decided to call in sick on the day of shooting the video. That, or those horrible kiddy-chants made them genuinely ill and disgusted with themselves and they were rushed to hospital with a severe case of Shit Music Disease. Either way the five girls who actually stuck around for this soul-crushing sonic weapon of parent/child torture are certainly the victims in this equation and if Oh My Girl disband soon it was probably the friction created from them being saddled with this crap while the other girls got to sit it out for whatever reason that finally stretched the tension within the group to breaking point. Someone in Korea should start a counseling service for people who were forced to sing Pororo songs and their families, there’d be good money in it plus a steady stream of new clients.
2. BTS – Life Goes On
Ah, BTS – the Nickelback of k-pop. A group so incredibly average that newer readers might be surprised to learn that they haven’t featured on any Kpopalypse lists at all since 2014’s excellent “War Of Hormone“, where they were so fresh off the boat that I unironically called them nugus at the time. Ever since those early days BTS have settled on a path of pure, undiluted mediocrity, climbing charts and breaking records everywhere but contributing absolutely zero to k-pop’s (or the world’s) landscape on any sort of musical level, instead just sliding straight into existing formats and styles as blandly as possible. People may think that I’m a BTS hater but it’s not true – hate is an emotion, and BTS have been so incredibly unremarkable that they haven’t been able to stir up any emotions in me at all, positive or negative. Hell, I can’t even bring myself to properly hate their fandom – sure, they certainly act like undiluted worthless sacks of fucking shit, claiming themselves as the morally superior arbiters of good taste at every turn while simultaneously being addicted to cyberbullying, doxxing, and generally embodying the very worst power-tripping aspects of all k-pop fandoms, but their brains are held mentally captive by some highly manipulative and clever marketing so if anything I ultimately see them as victims. I’m sure that their hive-minded fanbase will all cape for this incredibly putrid Coronavirus-themed song, where the boys gather to reminisce about the times when they didn’t have to socially distance or wear masks, while simultaneously not socially distancing or wearing masks, which is about as stunning and bizarre a contradiction as BTS promoting UNICEF to help “protect children” and then performing at a political propaganda concert for a country that’s bombing the same children UNICEF are trying to save (yes, literally the very same ones) a few months later. BTS are no stranger to moral contradictions, and that theme continues in “Life Goes On”, which is one hell of a title for a pandemic-themed song as it’s probably the single most callous and mean-spirited thing one can possibly say to someone who may have lost a family member or friend to the Coronavirus. I guess that’s what happens when a bunch of closeted living-in-a-bubble kids are allowed to write their own lyrics, as they’re way out of their depth with this topic – the only really good BTS lyrics are in those songs where they sing about subjects they actually know about, like “War Of Hormone” (being horny and stupid), “Fake Love” (pretending to give a shit about their own disgusting toxic fandom for dollars) or “Black Swan” (completely losing the passion for their own craft and resigning themselves to their fate as corporate robots churning out bland crap for uncritical hive-minded idiots). Still, the music is even more insulting than the words with that horrid nauseating pentatonic vocal lurching in the chorus being the actual highlight of an otherwise completely bland tune with zero meaningful variation or progression that overstays its welcome by almost its entire running length. Still, as terrible as this song obviously is, I couldn’t bring myself to give it the number one spot this year – BTS are a group that have become so synonymous with musical unremarkableness that they even fail at completely failing.
1. Kim Hyun Joong – A Bell Of Blessing
Although I figured out that all organised religion from Christianity to Islam to Judaism to all the rest was total brainwashing bullshit and social control by the time I was able to pee in a straight line, it might surprise readers to know that I actually was in a Christian band once, in my teenage years. It all happened very much by accident. A friend of mine who was a Christian and also the drummer in the group invited me to his church because they were apparently looking for a bass player, and I was young with very little gigging experience at the time, so I thought why the hell not. When I arrived there I started playing with someone else’s guitar instead (because I didn’t actually have a bass with me, I was going to borrow somebody’s) just sort of noodling around doing blues scale stuff that guitar players do, and the singer who was also the church preacher, said “hey that sounds cool, why don’t you stay on that instrument and just keep doing that”. I asked what the songs were so I could maybe learn the chord changes or something like that and he said “oh, don’t worry about it, just wing it”. A few minutes later, the congregation was starting to arrive and then the gig was on, less than ten minutes after I had first met this guy. The songs were all some weird Christian rock stuff and I didn’t know if they were originals or covers (fans of Christian rock will know that much like k-pop, it’s very much “another world” of music and there are huge hits that are not known outside of the core audience, so anything is possible) but the singer always made sure to have some sort of breakdown in the songs at some point where he could forget about the song’s melody and integrate his preaching into the actual songs. During all of this, I would do my best to liven things up by inserting little blues passages in between the singer/preacher’s vocalising, which was actually quite difficult to do because the guy literally would not fucking shut up at any point in any of the songs to give me much space to do a damn thing. Needless to say, we sounded pretty bad, but the audience absolutely loved it and the singer was impressed by my performance and I was invited to return and do this again. I did this about half a dozen times before eventually quitting due to not feeling very comfortable in that environment. After a few weeks of me being there every Sunday, the friendly enquiries along the lines of “have you been saved yet?” started, which was annoying, as there was certainly an expectation from some of them that I would eventually “see the light” somehow, but the weirdest moment and the moment which definitely prompted me to cut ties with these individuals was when an unexpected visitor turned up at the church one afternoon. I have no idea of story behind who it was or why he was there, but the singer and a few other key members of the band paused the song to take the guy outside and beat the shit out of him. They then came back in, the singer was like “sorry about that folks, now – where were we…” and then they all continued on with the music like nothing had even happened. Even though I wasn’t a Christian I was generally familiar with the bible and I was pretty sure that “it’s totally okay to stop a musical performance to beat the shit out of some random cunt” wasn’t in the tablets that Moses brought down from the hill. I didn’t like Christianity much but I liked religious hypocrisy even less – surely if you’re going to believe in that crap, you should at least make some sort of effort to stick to the rules (even if it’s technically impossible, at least try and pick the rules to follow which suck the least).
I didn’t go back to the church after that incident, but it taught me a lot about the role religion plays in some people’s lives. After my church experience, I met many people who were Christians but who didn’t seem to be acting in a very Christian way. For example, a guy who used to dress ultra-sharp with a hat and bow tie and sing old-time Christian songs in my town’s shopping mall for decades was loved by many shoppers – until a while ago when he was arrested for pedophilia and jailed. As it happens, his pedophilia was the reason for his singing – he was “born again” and decided to dedicate himself to a lifetime of singing and bringing people joy with the word of god, because he did actually feel some remorse for what he had done, and hoped that god would exonerate him for his crimes. To many people Kim Hyun Joong being in an overtly Christian song might seem a little strange, given his interesting history, however in my view it fits this pattern perfectly. The people who embrace religion the hardest are often drawn to its power to forgive, so they tend to often be people with a laundry list of past activities that they feel require forgiveness, and I haven’t met one “born again” Christian who didn’t talk my ear off about what an incredibly bad person they were back before they saw the light. Kim Hyun Joong is determined to nauseatingly millennial-whoop his way out of the darkness and through the pearly gates, and while there’s no direct reference to how you must pray to god or whatever in this song, the title of the song plus the line about angels makes it clear enough why he’s singing this poop. It’s the worst kind of religious song, because it’s so dishonest, trying to play off the Christianity as some kind of generic spirituality everybody can get along with, even third-rate early SNSD knockoffs like teensEL are superior because not only is the music significantly better, but at least they’re honest about what their message is and not trying to slide the theism through the latch in your door like a domestic violence addict attempting a break-in. Speaking of which, I do hope it all works out for Kim Hyun Joong, and those girls in the group at least seem to be happy and bruise-free for now which is good, so I hope he’s not treating them like James Brown treated his backing band (or his wife for that matter) and has indeed seem the error of his ways. However if he could leave us out of having to hear the musical result, I think that would be just lovely. As shit as my old Christian preacher’s band was (and boy did we suck diiiiiiiick) we were actually slightly more musically entertaining and less bland than “A Bell Of Blessing”, and that’s about the worst criticism of any music that I can possibly think of.
That’s all for this list, I hope you enjoyed it! But if you didn’t, I hope you at least secretly extracted some masochistic entertainment out of being tortured! Also remember that if this list upset you and you can’t handle this trash (who can blame you), see my 2020 favourites list to restore some faith in k-pop! See you in 2021!