This might ruffle some feathers but I can explain.
Maybe my taste is getting more specific and niche. Or maybe I’m just outgrowing some artists and groups. Probably a mix of both. But this month I felt like there even fewer gems this go round. If you missed my tweet, I decided I want to try something different with December’s Best & Worst post. Every week in December I’m going to release a weekly recap post of my reviews on everything that came out that week. Then at the end of December I’ll release the best and worst post(s) based on my weekly review. I haven’t decided if these will be separate blog post or not. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
On to this month though. This time I want to get the bad ones out of the way and end things on a positive note. So let’s get started with honorable mentions first.
aespa – Black Mamba
I love the furniture and sets in “Black Mamba” music video and the girls are stunning but the song was lackluster for me. But there really aren’t too many SM artist that blow me away on their debut song. So I have faith that things will get better from here. I’m still rooting for them.
Taemin – Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 2
I love “IDEA” as a title track but I just wasn’t feeling this album. It was definitely the weaker half of NGDA for me. Do I think this mean I think Taemin is on a decline musically? Of course not. You’re allowed to not like your faves releases sometimes. It’s okay. As I mentioned in my “Criminal” review, the timing on NGDA was off due to Taemin’s injury. And with his preparations for SuperM, I just think unfortunately, the quality of his releases this time took a hit.
Alright, with those two out of the way let’s get started with the actual list!
TREASURE – MMM
I’ve been trying to get into Treasure but I just think they’re not for me lmao. RIP the days I was a fan of a YG boygroup (Winner). The flow of “MMM” was just too jarring for me. I did like the styling tho.
Really wish they’d stop putting dreads on the rappers for funsies though in Kpop.
MAMAMOO – AYA
I’m just tired of no chorus songs like this. It can work but there’s no lead up or anything catchy to make up for it. I went to listen to the Travel mini album and I wasn’t feeling any of that either. It was different from the jazzy, r&b, pop sound they usually go with. It’s been so long since I didn’t like an entire Mamamoo album. I was surprised.
Ha Sungwoon – Forbidden Island
“Forbidden Island” is an alright song but that’s it. Visually Sungwoon looks amazing and the set is nice. Buuut this song just doesn’t grab me. And Mirage was just as boring. I’m not sure if he’s still trying to figure out his sound but compared to Twlight Zone, which was released back in June, I prefer that album and title track.
Bling Bling – G.G.B
This song a long with a few others I wanted to put on this worst list, just were loud for no reason. I think I’ve mentioned it before but I’m over this watered down Blackpink/G-idle girl crush concept a lot of these rookie groups are doing. The choruses are either nonexistent or terrible, there’s a bunch of horns or some loud instruments, loud chanting or cheering for no reason. I just hate it lmaooo. But again this is their debut song, so we can only go up from here.
NCT- U – 90s Love and this whole RESONANCE era
I’ve been an NCT stan from pretty much the beginning. I remember the original version of “The 7th Sense” with Haechan singing. I remember the rumors about Doyoung and Johnny debuting with NCT China. But this year I’ve been less and less impressed with 127 and even less thrilled with U. SM doesn’t do anything with NCT U for years and now they’ve decided to just lump everyone under U all at once? Uh okay? My main complaint with NCT is that their subunits like Wayv and Dream have a distinct sound, and they stick to it. Or in the case of NCT Dream, as they’ve matured, so has the music. Wayv is here to drop thot bops in English and Mandarin, and we love to see it.
I can easily simplify the brand. I can’t do that with NCT 127 anymore. That’s a huugggeee problem considering they’re supposed to be the mainline group. Not only do they promote full time in South Korea (hence the 127..it references the longitude coordinate of Seoul), they promote in Japan (don’t know how much longer with NCT Japan finally happening), and the United States. They tour in other countries too but those are the big three. And I know Resonance is mostly an NCT U thing instead of NCT 2018 like the last time SM round everyone up Avengers style to release music. But it’s a part of a larger problem with NCT going into the future.
NCT 127 and NCT U have always had this fight over which is the main sound/group everything comes back to. U was always supposed to be the more experimental group. While 127 was to be the more mainstream hip hop and r&b group. Or atleast that was my understanding as a stan in 2016/2017. But now I think the water has been muddied and it’s a turn off for the public and non Nctzens. When I talk to my friends about Wayv and NCT Dream they get the difference pretty quickly. It’s harder to explain NCT 127 and NCT U when they’re trying to make the same damn music. Don’t get me started on the favoritism among SM and promoting certain members more than others.
In fact if we’re just going on title tracks alone, 2017 127 and 2018 127 are so different it’s jarring. How do you go from “Limitless” to “Simon Says”? Granted “Simon Says” is the repackage, but “Regular” was still far from the r&b classics like “Baby Don’t Like It”. “Regular” also isn’t a fun pop/r&b/dance mix like “0 Mile” or a banger like “Cherry Bomb” which is their first hip hop heavy title track. Even when Wayv did their version of “Regular” the vibe was just completely different. It still managed to be on brand without trying too hard.
We do get back to basics on the b-sides of NCT 127’s 2018-2020 releases but most people aren’t going to take their time to dig through their discography. If they don’t like the title track, where’s the incentive to dive deeper? You have to be able to balance what the fans what and what’s gonna be popular.
I’m tired of seeing Nctzens complain about NCT being slept on when they don’t have a set sound. It really doesn’t help when they keep adding members. Most people don’t have time to keep up with 23 different members. They’ll pick their faves and keep it moving. I just don’t think this current direction NCT and NCT 127 in particular are going is going to get them top tier group status. We know how protective fans can get in Kpop and you can’t look me straight in the eye and say you love all 23 of these guys equally. You’re really going to spend money and time into all of them equally? Sure Jan.
So maybe I’m just a casual fan now. I’m one of the people who now checks to see what my faves are doing and dips back over to other groups like CIX and Seventeen. One is still a rookie but making music I genuinely enjoy. The other is an old but reliable fave. I can’t say that about NCT or NCT 127 anymore. So that’s my take. Let’s move on to my best releases this month lmao.
MONSTA X – Love Killa
It’s so funny for me to put Monsta X on here right after NCT because I’ve grown apart from MX as well. “Love Killa” isn’t my favorite recent title track of theirs. In fact, I haven’t been in love with a Korean title track of theirs since “Alligator”. I put “Love Killa” on this list because it made me listen to their 3rd album Fatal Love and there were a few songs on there I loved. I still have some faith in the lads. When it’s time to deliver, they come through. Don’t get me wrong, I loveeeee the music video. They look amazing. I love the concept. That’s one thing for sure that’s been consistent. The boys can take a concept and kill it.
My fave songs from Fatal Love are “Guess Who”, “Night View”, “대동단결(Stand Together)”, and “Last Carnival”.
Park Jihoon – GOTCHA
This song just fooking slaps. And then MESSAGE is flawless from start to finish. I still haven’t picked a favorite song from the album yet. But I know it will be on replay the rest of the year. The way Jihoon was like,” I’m gonna make the best banger of fall 2020″ was so sexy of him. I really have nothing but praise for this whole project. Out of everyone on this list, if you love Khip hop and r&b, you NEED to listen to this song and album. You won’t be disappointed.
GFRIEND – Mago
I may have to revisit “Mago” for a music video fashion post. The girls just look absolutely stunning and I love the sets in the music video. I haven’t loved a Gfriend song or album like I’ve loved “Mago” and Walpurgis Night in such a long time. Everything here is perfect. I love that the song is a bit more mature but still Gfriend. Walpurgis Night is my favorite Gfriend album to date. If you’re not normally a Gfriend fan, I highly recommend this one. It’s a similar vibe to Apink’s newer releases. I like that both Gfriend and Twice are having this moment in music where they’re still cute but maturing along with their music.
Got 7 – Breath
Now I’m just as surprised as you for seeing a Got7 song on here. I haven’t been much of a Got 7 listener in a while. It makes me tempted to see what I’ve missed. But I loved “Breath” from the first couple of seconds. I love when they release chiller songs like this. I don’t need rapline yelling at me every 30 seconds. The less Jackson, the better lmao. Anyway I’m also a big fan of the styling in “Breath” as well. Everything was just so well executed with this one. I couldn’t skip it.
KAI – Mmmh
From one man I hate (Jackson) to another (KAI) lmaooooo. I’m not going to get into it on here. If you’d like specifics of my complex past with Jackson and Kai, you’ll have to dm me personally for that tale. Anyway, when a song slaps, even if it’s from someone I don’t particularly care for anymore, I gotta mention it. I got to give it to mr. Jongin, he did what he had to do with this one. Back when I was a Kai stan, I felt we never really got an opportunity to hear his voice much. He was just for visuals.
I guess the biggest reason why I’ve been listening to “Mmmh” so much is how catchy the mmmh part in the chorus is. The song itself is midtempo and easy to vibe too. It doesn’t put much work on Kai’s vocals and I think that works perfectly for him. I’ve said this before but not everyone in Kpop needs to have powerhouse vocals that will blow you away. Sometimes you just need a good voice, good beat, and good lyrics to share the work load. We will never need a power ballad from Kai. That’s not why he’s here. He’s a dance guy. He just needs a beat to grind to.
I’m just so impressed with Kai’s 1st mini album. They really knocked it out of the park with this one. I guess that means I still gotta keep Kim Kai in my life another day.
I hope I didn’t make too many enemies with this one. I always enjoy writing posts like these because I’m a Gemini and I love
controvesy and discourse exchanging opinnons on things. All joking aside, what was some of y’alls favorite or least favorite releases this month? While working on this post I got my Spotify 2020 wrapped list. No surprise BTS and Seventeen were two of my top artist but I didn’t realize how much Ateez I’ve been listening to recently but they beat out Seventeen in my top 5 list. BTS ranked 1, Ateez 3rd and Seventeen 4th. 2nd was Tinashe and 5th with Doja Cat if you were curious. It did give me an idea for doing my top 10 Kpop favorite albums of 2020. I’ll have that up at the end of the month along with my 2021 wishlist post.
Until next time,