Alrighty here is the magic list you all have probably not been waiting for! These are my top 9 singles in Kpop for the year 2018. To qualify, the singles had to be less then 3 tracks and remixes, intros/outros were not counted.
These are listed in a numbered order, but it does not mean one is better over another. Also with the sheer number of songs released in 2017 I do have other lists prepared to cover those better.
1.) HAAN (Alone) by (G)I-DLE
I was a little late to the (G)I-DLE train in 2018. In truth, it was hearing Yu Qi’s vocals in Latata that sunk its claw in me and never let go. So when HAAN (Alone) released, I was there day 1 to listen to it. (G)I-DLE just has a great diversity in its vocal talent, everyone sounds different and it shines through in their songs, this release being no exception. The whistles instantly get stuck in your head. It moves from the verse to the heightened chorus and right back to its verse with ease, and the rap break from Soyeon is a kpop staple but as always works very well. It’s the perfect song to listen to after a break up and has the right amounts of attitude. I constantly had this on repeat and its just a damn shame that this was a single track release.
2.) I Love You by EXID
My first few listens of this song I was very much on the fence however the more I listened the more it grew on me in typical EXID fashion. Also I have to mention that SOLJI IS FINALLY BACK. This very much was a release where I listened and thought, “Wow I forgot how awesome Solji’s voice is and I missed this”. The sampling in the song is initially what had me on the fence but in the end I chose to just go with it. haha. Also how on earth are the vocals in this song so high, its mainly Solji and I almost felt like she had prove something when she came back. Like “I still got it!”. But damn girl, no one doubts it. This song is also very relatable to people these days I think. Drunk dialing and telling someone you love them? Yup.
3.) Dally feat. GRAY by Hyolyn
So far I am sensing a theme in these songs I picked for the year haha. I’m not sure why haha. This is yet another good break up song I think in a strong independent woman kind of way. It’s very catchy and repetitive and it’s easy listening but thats okay. I would say Gray is having a good year with a number of his songs that ended up on my playlists lol. I wish I had more to say about this song but it just speaks for itself. Its not inherently fancy or deep sounding, it’s just a good bop to shake your booty to.
4.) Idarui Sonyeo (Go Won) by LOOΠΔ
Coming off the high energy of Chuu’s Heart Attack I wasn’t sure what to expect from Go Won’s debut. In the end I found a fun and unexpectedly catchy bop in One & Only. It’s a good balance of singing and light rapping which Go Won is easily capable of both. It’s easy to listen to and I love thats its not sugary pop! I thought for sure it would be more cutesy but found the melody to be memorable with a slight dark tone to it. It goes with the music video really well! The b-side See Saw, which has both Go Won & Chuu I feel is underrated and the girls vocals compliment each other well. It has a sense of longing in the music and has a more somber feel to it.
5.) Banana Allergy Monkey by OH MY GIRL
When I saw the teaser pictures for this release I was initially skeptical. Oh My Girl is resorting to cutesy monkey concept now? I seriously thought this release would be far too sugary for my liking. I’m glad I gave it a chance because man the track list for this is amazing and I thought for sure more groups would do a more pixel/chiptune like theme after this. The intro Ukiuki Waikiki sets up the mood/feel of the album perfectly and I love the seaside sounds and the ukelele. With Banana Allergy Monkey, the chorus is the most sugar it gets. I love the effects sprinkled throughout the song and lyrically its pretty simple. It is Said, the third track is probably my favorite on this release. It really just captures the right balance of kpop with 8bit. I love the Navi sound bites from OoT!! Lastly the single ends with I’m in love with you, a solo song by member Seung Hee. The guitar captures the sort of seaside feel of the intro and her voice is just beautiful. There are a few other instruments I hear that remind me of the seaside but I sadly don’t know how else to describe them or what they are! This song feels like it belongs on a soundtrack to a romantic comedy drama. I also really have to say overall about this release…this is 8bit video game effects done right! This is how you incorporate it into your music!
6.) Like A V by PRISTIN V
I was really surprised/bummed that this was the only release by PRISTIN last year. This release feels more girl crush/darker than their two EPs so far and I dig it. I guess this is what you get when the group goes full Black Widow. Get It is a good mix of pop with some hip hop elements. The video definitely gave me that vibe! I really dig the raps in this and theres this really low sounding effect throughout the song that I love! Its easiest to hear between the choruses. My only complaints about this is that not all the girls are part of this release and Kyla is around to rap. Also what is with PRISTIN and having sirens in the background of their songs? lol. Their b-side Spotlight is the perfect compliment to Get it musically. Like peanut butter & Jelly.
7.) Thank U Soooo Much by YUBIN
First a public service announcement, Y’ALL NEED TO STOP SLEEPING ON THIS FORMER WONDER GIRLS member. She is amazing and she put out some of my favorite singles this year. It really was a toss up between Lady and Thank U Soooo Much bit in the end chose the later, because the release has more meat on the bones. While not quite city pop like Lady, this single carries over the 80s/early 90s feel very well. As a huge fan of Wonder Girl’s end-career work, this pleased me greatly. The single starts with Let You Go, a groovy and upbeat melody featuring synths, electric guitar, claps and piano. Going into Thank U Soooo Much, the song used for promotions, its so catchy with the synthetic whistles! I love Yubin gets to stretch her rapping skills again which were sadly missed in Lady. This song just oozes 70s/80s and the video really does a lot to make that point too. Finally with Game Over, it closes the single with a sad, wistful electronic pop ballad that manages to tie the sound of the single together with a nice little ribbon.
8.) IS Who by MINSEO
MINSEO is probably one of my top finds of 2018 in the Kpop realm. Theres just something about her that is so amazing and refreshing. I’m a little bummed because while I have this release in my top for 2018, shes already released a new single in 2019 with this already existing tracklist but one new song. She was supposed to debut with GFriend but opted out because she felt her style would not be able to flourish in a group setting and I say you go girl. You do you! Where do I even begin with this single? The first track Is Who made me shutter with excitement and made me go “WHO IS THIS GIRL?!”. This is one of the MOST jazzy, blues, gypsy-esque songs I’ve heard in kpop…ever. PARDON MY FRENCH BUT THIS GIRL FUCKING SCATS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SONG…A KPOP SONG. I love that the piano and fiddle trade off in riffs and just overall this was one of my top 5 kpop songs. The second song which was her first single, Growing Up is a soft and simple pop folk song with vocals and guitar. The third song, The Grand Dreams is a fun innocent but non cutesy pop song with amazing piano and bass playing. Her singing “Fly hiiiigh” just brings me to life. It’s a beautiful, positive song to listen to when you’re down on your luck. The last track is an acoustic version of the The Grand Dreams and it mainly piano and vocals with some strings I believe in there to replace the bass. It’s equally beautiful but I think I still prefer the original.
9.) Idarui Sonyeo (Olivia Hye) by LOONA
Last we have the last member of LOONA, Olivia Hye. I will be honest, this is a very fierce competitor with Jinsoul’s Singin’ in the Rain for my favorite Loona debut. Which is funny because Jinsoul actually features as a rapper in this. So where do I even begin? I love the overall sound of the song, the effects with the piano sounds like almost pulsating. The contrast between her lower voice and the higher sounding piano. The freaking epic drop that I don’t even know how to describe what is happening. The rapbreak from Jinsoul is a welcomed reprieve in the middle of the song and incorporates the synthetic whistles heard throughout the chorus. The video and song go together beautifully, just like Jinsoul’s which is why I think i love it so much. Finally the b-side Rosy, which features fellow members Go Won and Hee Jin. As my husband noted to me one day, the intro to the song sounds like Neon Genesis Envagelion lol. The song is fun, poppy and I love the contrast between Olivia’s lower range and Go Won’s higher range. It’s another good example of Go Won’s singing vs. rapping. Speaking of rapping, they let Heejin handle it which i was surprised. I knew she was supposed to rap for JinSoul’s release but never go to hear it so when I saw this song I thought it was Olivia and Heejin singing with Go Won handling the rap portion.
Easy by Whee-In feat. Sik-k
Selfish by Moon Byul
Lady by Yubin
Between Us by LABOUM
BBiBBI by IU
And thats it for my favorite singles of the year! Stay tune for my other posts~