Thursday, December 31, 2015

suho_ftw's 15 Favorite K-Pop B-Sides of 2015

This is FEMM by the way. Yes I know they're Japanese. Yes they're singing in English. Yes this is a blog post about K-Pop. Are you confused enough yet?

2015 got off to a dry start when it came to albums but that doesn't mean that there weren't some gems to be found. These are the songs I personally found to be stand-out tracks that could have been promoted on their own. 

Just for disclaimers:
- I kept it one song per artists because I knew if I added more than one song by one artists then the list would have contained songs from like two albums, which would have been accurate but boring. Plus, some other groups had songs I wanted to mention.

- I cheat twice on this list by adding two rap songs. Only twice.

- Quite a few b-sides I liked didn't make it on the list and it does pain me. 

- I didn't have enough time to listen to every album by every artists, but I do listen to a lot of albums and most nugus very rarely even release mini albums let alone full length albums.

- We all know why this is mostly girl groups.

- It's all my opinion.

15. IU - "Zeze"

Starting off the list with everyone's favorite b-side of the year: IU's "Zeze!" It appears even netizens knew this hip-hop/pop song wouldn't do well on the charts so they made up a big scandal that insured everyone, even the non-IU fans, would hear this ear-worm! Unfortunately the plan backfired so bad IU's blacklisted along with T-ara, JYJ, and the ex-EXO members but she'll surely return with a comeback that will insure her cash-flow is solid like everyone listed above.

14. UP10TION - "Phoenix"

Expect f(x) to come up a lot in this list, since I personally find that f(x) have the best b-sides in k-pop it's only natural that if a song reminds me of their sound then I'll probably love it. Although I don't mind yoloswag concepts from boy groups when their done right (BTS, MonstaX), most of the time they're kind of boring. Fangirls eat that shit up so companies keep doing it. It is because of this, that I have a deep admiration for Up10tion because they seem to combine the boy groups pre-yoloswag with modern boy groups seamlessly and that makes them unique in my mind. "Phoenix" is one of those songs that do that: and upbeat dance number that's the f(x) kind of weird with just enough rapping so that it pleases the yoloswaggers but doesn't offend those who aren't fond of it. What's not to like?

13. 4minute - "Cut It Out"

This song gets on my list purely out of bias for this style of hip-hop. Being eighteen, I grew up on hip-hop songs mainly from the 2000's (how refreshing, someone born in the late 90's who doesn't pretend like they grew up listening to music from the late 90's.) In which a lot of artists, such as Ludacris for example, did this kind of style. Is it shit? Maybe. But it gives me the nostalgia of being a kid again and dancing (very badly) at summer block club parties. It's honestly refreshing to hear this coming from a k-pop group and to be truthful, I couldn't picture it coming any more perfectly than from 4minute.

12. Lovelyz - "How To Be a Pretty Girl"

Seemingly J-Pop inspired like most of Lovelyz's album tracks this song is what I'm going to describe as "pop disco" (if that's even how you would describe it.) It reminds me a lot of older f(x) b-sides like "Sweet Witches" and "Ice Cream" making it addictive and catchy as fuck.

11. Yankie - "Purple Night"

The main reason I cheated is because I really want more people to change. Yankie's "Andre" album is by far one of the best albums of the year and it was hard to pick my favorite song off of it, but in the end, it was "Purple Night" that made this list. I know on the surface it seems like a standard rap/hip-hop-meets-trap song, and it does kind of sound like funeral music in some parts, but it's not overbearing. It's mysterious with Yankie's rapping and Soran's soothing vocals with a rather interesting analogy for sex during the chorus ("Stop and go. Red and blue. I need you tonight. Let's make purple.") This is easily one of my most played songs of the year.

10. Girls' Genration - "Sign"

"Sign" is basically one of the let-overs from f(x)'s "Red Light" album and it's great. Has one of SNSD's best chorus's to date. The "trap" breakdown towards the end was bit unnecessary but it only lasts for like five seconds but other than that, the song is totally addictive.

9. Ailee - "Love Recipe"

I liked "Mind Your Buisiness" but damn, "Love Recipe" should have been the title track. The chorus and melody is just awesome. It's basically the same thing Ailee does with her title tracks only it's just better. I can't explain, you'll see what I mean if you listen.

8. Twice - "Must Be Crazy"

CLC might have had the better title track ("Ohh Ahh" was pretty awesome but I can't deny the greatness of "Pepe.") but Twice had the better b-sides. Their whole debut mini album had me coming back for more, and "Must Be Crazy" is one of those synthy dance R&B pop songs that's hard for me to resists.

7. BTS - "Ma City"

I'm a fan of Kendrick Lamar, and I really like "I" and apparently the kpop version is just as good. Boy groups doing 70's funk is nothing out of the ordinary but it's rarely this fun or energetic. Also Jimin's bridge before the chorus is one of the most eargasmic things I've ever heard.

6. BoA - "Clockwork"

BoA really outdid herself for her 15th anniversary, and it shows a lot with how high quality her 8th album is. A lot of songs from BoA's "Kiss My Lips" album could have made it on this list but "Clockwork" takes the cake for me. It's a nice sultry and mysterious tango song and I'm praying she does an MV for it.

5. Seventeen - "Fronting"

Don't ask what I like so much about this song I just do. And know it's not because Hoshi owns the live stages (bless his adorable soul though.) This is just one of the (much) better done trap+hip-hop mixed with pop songs. It keeps me coming back.

4. Dynamic Duo - "How You Doin?" + Red Velvet - "Lady's Room"

Couldn't decide literally had both stuck in my head for a week (separate weeks.) That Dynamic Duo song is pretty new with their new album just coming out about three weeks ago but damn, song got stuck in my head, the beat is just that good, plus I'm always up for more Gaeko. I'm still replaying the shit out of this song. As for "Lady's Room", needless to say, SM stepped up their album production A LOT this year. "The Red" is probably my favorite album of the year, and I feel that "Ladies' Room" is one of the more underrated songs from the album. Most people obsess over "Time Slip" or "Red Dress" (both great songs imo) but "Ladies' Room" just takes you for an old fashioned synth-heavy disco(?) trip with just enough creativity behind it to keep your attention. It's also one of their more mature songs since the lyrics are basically about RV getting drunk at a club/party and meeting in a room to discuss the hot guys they're gonna hit on later.

3. f(x) - "Papi"

I honestly love the "4Walls" album and find it another stellar edition to f(x)'s already great discography, and many if not all the songs could have made this list but in the end, it's "Papi" that I figured belonged here. I honestly haven't heard such a great clubbing song like this since T-ara released "Sugar Free" last year. This follows the same formula of a good clubbing song with a catchy melody and an infectious chorus with the actual instrumental being fast and on a large enough scale that you just lose yourself in the trip it takes you in. Also, it has guitar in it and whenever a clubbing song incorporates guitar into it, I have a hard time disliking it.

2.) Wonder Girls - "Candle"

Hands down one of the coolest songs to have ever taken inspiration from early 80's dance music. It has everything you love about that era of music: cheesy chorus ("light my candle") thumping dancing beats, synthy harmonization. What's not to love? Paloalto was even able to put in a modern-sounding rap without it coming off jarring among all of the old-school vibes. 

1.) Girl's Day - "Macaron"

I seriously want to throw a brick at whoever chose "Ring My Bell" as Girl's Day's title track when "Macaron" shits all over that song in every way. This has all the upbeat energy of RMB but makes it more salvageable by making it an amazing jazz-meets-pop-meets-hip-hop dance track. It has a far better chorus, verses, bridge, and really just everything about this song is purely awesome and my personally favorite b-side of the year.

So those are my favorite b-sides of 2015. Fairly decent year for b-sides, and I hope 2016 remains just as good if not better.

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