It’s time for the final Kpopalypse Nugu Alert of 2022! Let’s take a look at the last nugus for this year!
The end of the year is quickly approaching and it’s no secret that I’m currently compiling lists of my best and worst songs of the year, an event which takes considerable planning including weeks of preparation and listening to literally thousands of songs. Of course there’s so much material out there, hundreds of new songs are released in Korea each week and I simply can’t cover everything, so as a result plenty of eligible nugus get glossed over due to time and space constraints. So this is my well-intentioned but probably completely futile attempt to compensate for that a little bit, and highlight some of the absolute best tracks that emerged this year that I haven’t already covered in roundups and that were from artists not well known in the Korean pop sphere. Will any of these songs appear in Kpopalypse’s top 30 for 2022? You’ll have to wait to find out, but I’ll tell you this much for now – they’re all pretty fucking good. Oh and it’s probably not even a slight fucking coincidence that all these songs are from independent artists and they all have heavy guitars in them. Read on and enjoy!
Usual rules apply:
- Less than 20,000 views on official channels
- Probably not on your curated algorithmic playlist
- Relevant to Kpopalypse
StarryWave – Glow
Korean versions of melodic metal have always tended to be weakly conservative and honestly a bit piss weak, they usually lag significantly behind attempts at the same thing from other countries, but StarryWave are a pleasant exception, they sure keep up the pace and heaviness to an international standard, and then some. “Glow” is right up there with your melodic metal favourite from whatever country you can name in terms of production and musicianship, with tough riffs that make full use of extended-range guitars and bass, blast-beats that startle when they appear, and best of all melodic vocals that actually sit at the right place in the mix for a song like this i.e not too far forward. While the all-black image is a little bit drab compared to what I’m used to seeing, it still looks pretty sharp and makes sense for the material, it’s certainly not as cheap-looking as it could have been given that I’m sure this band is budgeting on a shoestring. It’s such a great song, the only real criticism I can think of is that I wish they had an actual live keyboard player with them instead of a backing track for the synths, that big empty room looks like it could fit one more person easily enough.
Oh and have a bonus video of them doing a short version of Itzy’s “Wannabe“:
They’ve made the verse much, much better, but the chorus slightly worse just because there’s a little too much going on in the guitars and while it’s technically impressive it also takes away from the catchiness somewhat… but it’s a net positive overall.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 9986
Notable attribute: that wire mesh backdrop is another iconic Korean set choice that you may recognise from some of Future Idol’s productions
Nugu Alert rating: very high
Method – Turn On The Radio Loudly
If you however prefer your metal style to be a bit more old-school, then there’s Method. The group have been around since 2002 and it definitely shows in the type of music that they make as there’s not too many new groups reaching for this aggressive 80s thrash type of sound, so it’s probably time that I stop ignoring them and give them some promo here. Actually “Turn On The Radio Loudly” is pretty alright but it isn’t my favourite song of Method’s as it’s a cover so it’s slower than their usual type of thing, I’m just including it because it’s the only eligible song they’ve got so far for 2022. I much prefer their original songs, like last year’s excellent “Run For Your Life” which gives me strong Kreator vibes and was at 19998 views when I first looked at it, only 2 shy of being ineligible for Nugu Alert at all:
Oh and there’s also the recent “Ways Of Pain”, now that’s pretty rocking too and highly recommended:
Their official website is easy to navigate so if you’re liking what you’re hearing as much as I am, definitely go poking around there for more information. They do lose a few nugu points for being industry veterans and not nugu in the traditional sense, but they’ll certainly be unknown to a lot of k-pop fans and they also certainly fucking thrash pretty hard with high quality songs across the board so I’m more than happy to feature them here. Mosh!
Youtube views at the time of writing: 2132
Notable attribute: nice Metallica ripoff logo at 2:56, everyone don’t tell Lars I think a lawsuit would stretch the V guitar-buying budget a bit too far
Nugu Alert rating: average
Girls2000 [Princess Project] – Bad Girlfriend
In Kpopalypse Nugu Alert, a large part of the appeal of assessing each song is checking out and commenting on aspects of the music video. So if I’m putting a song here even though there’s no video of it that exists anywhere that I can find, you know there’s a fucking good reason. Girls2000 Princess Project are a Korean “live idol” group that are modeled heavily on the Japanese style of underground idol groups, where there’s not so much of a focus on making music videos and sucking corporate cock, and more so on doing small club performances, selling merch and rocking out. This actually has a lot in common with underground metal bands, so they actually fit right in here even though their music is more electronically driven. The above lyric video is actually the official demo that came out earlier this year, below is the final version of the song which was finally released as a single last week, and it’s scarcely different other than that the line up of the group has changed so some vocal parts have been re-recorded, and the audio transfer is slightly better quality.
I did also find some fancams and documentary footage of this group but sadly not a full performance of the entire song which shows all members, if you have one send it through! Nevertheless I had to include “Bad Girlfriend” here anyway because I won’t let you miss out on this ridiculously catchy and rocking take on the “Roly Poly” chord progression with drop-dead hilarious lyrics to boot and if you don’t like this song I’m going to tell Hana where you live and she will sort you out, probably while singing the chorus at the same time.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 13119
Notable attribute: yes they do have a Pink Fantasy style ‘hidden’ member who wears a gas mask onstage, perhaps Daewang is moonlighting?
Nugu Alert rating: high
That’s all for 2022! Thank you for all your support, Kpopalypse Nugu Alert will return next year!