Editor Pick: 20 K-pop Tunes Defining 2019

Note: The list below is arranged in ascending alphabetical order of the track titles.

  1. IU, Blueming

IU makes connections with her previous tracks with this one. Such include as “above the time” (2019) as well as “YOU&I” (2011), which by the way, made her attain the trademark as the singer who nailed the three octave high note.

It seems like “Blueming” (2019) brings IU’s lyrical love story to a close. At least for now.

Through a series of time and dimension travel while wooing her ideal partner, this track seems to be the right transition for IU. From a demure adolescent to a confident and chic lady.

So, is she “Blueming” or blooming? You decide.

  1. BTS, Boy With Luv

This track focuses on true love. This is in contrary to their 2014 release “Boy In Luv” (2014), centered on young love and teenage romance. 

In fact, I was drawn to the multi-hued music video. Reason being the visual side of the track broke social boundaries between masculinity and femininity

Note that the members don on different shades of pink right at the beginning, a gesture to bring in the so-called “feminine” characteristics to male in mainstream pop culture.

In all, BTS still goes by their maxim: Love Yourself.

  1. ITZY, DALLA DALLA

They’re the monster rookie group for the year without a doubt. “DALLA DALLA” (2019) was the group’s debut track. 

Though young, the girls do have something deeper to share. “I don’t care what they say, I am just who I am”, is what they advocate for: differentiating oneself from others to chase one’s dream instead of drifting with the current.

Their humble facade shows as they constantly honour pioneers of K-pop who they claimed paved the way for them.

Is this why they are “different”? Their popularity tells it all.

  1. TWICE, Feel Special

The testament for the sisterhood between the nine ladies in TWICE? The answer is “Feel Special” (2019). And the title speaks for itself.

This track was a timely release. It dropped shortly after the news of member Mina sitting out of promotions due to mental health issues broke out in July.

Be it the lyrics or the music video, both portray warmth and comfort while spreading positive vibes to listeners and viewers respectively.

  1. GFriend, Fever

Since their debut, GFriend is associated with perfectly synchronized choreography with a young and vibrant school-girl outlook. But they have soon took things to another level since 2017.

“Fever” (2019) was one of the most raved summer tunes this year. Well, owe it to the catchy melody and addictive moves. 

The group is known for their summer tunes, and this year’s release is not an exception.

  1. MONSTA X, Follow

This is the group’s latest release, and might unfortunately be their last with bandmate Wonho in it.

When things were amiable before the news was released, the boys still dished out their best dance moves. They even showed some skin in the music video.

The track is based primarily on the theme of “connection”, and how they invite listeners to “follow” them through time.

Consider “Follow” (2019) a sequel to the group’s previous release “Dramarama” (2017) if you examine the details visually. It all leads to the group taking charge of their own lives.

  1. MAMAMOO, HIP

The four member girl group served up charisma with “HIP” (2019).

Exploring the boundaries of K-pop idols, they want to find out what anti-idol encapsulates.

Here, the word “hip” has two interpretations. One being the body part, while the other is defined as being very fashionable.

Evidently, MAMAMOO does not give two hoots about naysayers.

  1. SEVENTEEN, Home

SEVENTEEN stands large at thirteen members. 

But they are not uncoordinated, instead they boast synchronised movements.

Spreading love and comfort at the start of the year, this track has to be in the list.

  1. SuperM, Jopping

Talk about this megaband, alternatively dubbed “The Avengers of K-pop”. The seven-piece boy band took the world by storm by their first album.

They are formed by SM Entertainment and Capitol Music Group.

For those who are still wondering, the electrifying track “Jopping” (2019) is the combination of jumping and popping. 

  1. BLACKPINK, Kill This Love

BLACKPINK dropped their one-and-only track for 2019 in April.

Many call this track a bop because of their strong lyrics. Others say so because of their speculated symbolism of feminism.

But we all know, it’s because releases from the quartet are far and few between.

  1. EXO, Obsession

Are we seeing double because EXO has dopplegangers? Not really, they’re named X-EXO, and are facing off EXO in this track.

This track might not be one you will adore on its first listen. Try looping it, and you’ll find yourself addicted.

  1. RED VELVET, Psycho

One of the latest releases of the year is right here. “Psycho” (2019) is from the album The ReVe Festival: Finale, which is the last of The ReVe Festival trilogy.

The group takes a mature turn in their musical choices too. They were refreshingly cute in their past tracks like “Red Flavor” (2017) and “Dumb Dumb” (2015).

Now, they are more like voguish individuals in their recent releases, like “Bad Boy” (2018) and their latest musical offering.

The trap elements and addictive moves got us almost like psychos. Me at least.

  1. (G)I-DLE, Senorita

(G)I-DLE’s “Senorita” (2019) is not one of the classic pop tunes you will expect.

Fused with Latin and Spanish music elements, the song comes as a pleasant surprise.

It features soft vocals that hit the spot. Leader So-yeon’s rap is also a notable mention. The girls end it with what seems like a killer-ending: Hey señor.

  1. CHUNG HA, Snapping

The 23 year-old soloist did not enjoy a silver spoon upbringing. Instead, she relied on hard work to bring herself to where she is today.

Chung Ha dwells on the uncomfortable end of a relationship in “Snapping” (2019). But no worries, she tells all that all you need to do is “snap” and all is well.

Netizens said she, well, snapped.

  1. SUPER JUNIOR, Super Clap

The veterans of K-pop prove themselves so in their October release.

Members Kyuhyun and Ryeowook have recently been discharged from the military too. Could that be why the band wants a resounding “super clap”?

Super Clap” (2019) has an easy rhythm to bop to, and you’ll find yourself humming to it spontaneously.

  1. DAY6, Sweet Chaos

This track is the perfect rock anthem for 2019.

But what caught my eye was the oxymoron in the title. It is said that the album “features the process of changes a person’s relationship with another person weaves”. 

It is at times “heartwarming, but other times, it’s chilling,” says the band’s main songwriter Young K. The title track “Sweet Chaos” (2019), features the former.

Well life’s like that too — a sweet chaos.

  1. KANGDANIEL, TOUCHIN’

The song is a groovy, sensual and mellow bop, complementary to his hit single, “What Are You Up To” (2019), released in July.

Those familiar with Michael Jackson would be able to detect some nods to the pop legend in the music video.

Kang brings a fresh take as the video features East Asian motifs like mahjong tiles which are woven into a classic film noir plot.

  1. IZ*ONE, Violeta

The group debuted last October through Mnet reality competition show Produce 48. Unfortunately, they are caught in turmoil because of recent situations.

However, that should not deny the track as one which defined our 2019.

  1. ATEEZ, Wonderland

The rising boy band has so much to offer in this anthem-like track.

The concept for the track is dark, but the boys want to deliver a message: they are trying to find their “wonderland”.

Wonderland” (2019) is also the title track for the band’s last album in their quadrilogy, titled “Treasure EP.Fin: All to Action”.

  1. GOT7, You Calling My Name

Tracks from GOT7 usually force one to get up and bounce. Perhaps it’s the thick layering of chords and instruments.

But this is not the case for “You Calling My Name” (2019). Instead, their vocals are magnified, because of the sparse use of instruments.

We can safely say all seven members put their sexy facade on display in this track.

  • Listen to “Editor’s Pick: 20 K-pop Tunes Defining 2019” Playlist on KKBOX here. And tell us, what songs defined your 2019.

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