The Best and Worst K-Pop Songs from Summer 2020
Treasure has gained the attention of the K-Pop community being YG Entertainment’s first male group in 5 years. Since their formation during the conclusion of their survival show YG Treasure Box in early 2019, Treasure’s debut this year was highly anticipated. However, all of the hype surrounding the group led to a rather disappointing debut. Treasure’s “Boy,” is another song that is let down by an ill-fitting chorus. The use of an annoying electronic loop and repetitive lyrics cheapens the song that was building to something climatic. Treasure is still a rookie group but it is filled with talented members, so it won’t take long for Treasure to be one of the top groups in South Korea.
Weeekly is PlayM Entertainment’s second girl group in 10 years, joining Apink, which debuted in 2011. Its debut title, “Tag Me (@Me),” is a perfect mix of elements currently being used in K-Pop songs. “Tag Me (@Me)” is an energetic and lively song, grabbing your attention with loud chanting lyrics that match the youthfulness of the group. The chorus highlights their singers’ vocals, giving the song the emotion it needed. “Tag Me (@Me)” feels like a song that was performed by an experienced group, not one comprised of rookies. With their talent and charisma, Weeekly is poised to lead the next generation of K-Pop.
Starship Entertainment’s Cravity made their debut earlier this year with their song “Break All The Rules.” It most recent release “Flame” was a much-needed step up, but not by a lot. “Flame” was a decent song, giving the vocalist a chance to shine as well as providing a good instrumental background during the verses. However, a weak rap portion and an unmemorable chorus hinders the song. Just like its previous release, Cravity’s “Flame” does not break any rules and fails to make an impression. With two releases under its belt, it’s hard to see Cravity as more than a generic boy group.
Twice is known as Korea’s girl group, capturing the hearts of the general public with catchy songs and cutesy image. As the members continue to grow, so does its discography. While its tracks “Fancy” and “Feel Special” were good attempts at adding some maturity to the songs, “More & More” was a big miss. It failed to capture the magic Twice’s songs usually have, sounding more like a basic Western pop song. An uninspiring chorus and a randomly placed beat drop left people wanting more. Twice is now at a crossroads as it prepares to celebrate its 5th anniversary. Is it capable of growing as an artistic group or will Twice struggle to remain popular as the public moves onto a newer, younger group?
Rocket Punch recently celebrated its one year anniversary, releasing a new song, “Juicy”. Compared to its previous songs, “Bim Bam Bum” and “Bouncy, Juicy” was a big miss. “Juicy” lacks the explosive and intense choruses as their past two songs. Instead, it goes with an airy, tropical sound, which comes off as bland in what should be an exciting song. “Juicy” is geared towards being a summer song, but the lack of energy makes this one of the summer’s worse tracks. Rocket Punch has established itself as an exciting new girl group, but “Juicy” lacks the emotion of the group’s previous songs.
Stray Kids has been making waves in the K-Pop scene since its debut three years ago. Its summer release, “God’s Menu,” was the final push the group needed. Produced by members Bang Chan, Changbin and Han Jisung, “God’s Menu” is a brash and confident song that only Stray Kids group can successfully pull off. The song is rap-intensive, slowing down the pre-chorus to build suspense before the aggressive and loud chorus. The only flaw of this song is that it’s too short, ending at 2 minutes and 48 seconds. Not only is “God’s Menu” one of the best releases of 2020 but also has solidified Stray Kids as one of the best K-Pop groups today.
Dreamcatcher has already released a great song this year with “Scream” and continued its momentum this summer. Despite missing member Handong again due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the group still managed to produce another good song, “Boca.” “Boca” introduces more hip-hop tracks during the verses of the song but returns to rock influences in their pre-chorus and chorus like in “Scream” and “Deja Vu.” “Boca” is not as electrifying as “Scream” but it’s hard to follow such a great song. Dreamcatcher has not reached mainstream popularity, but the group continues to carve its own path in the industry.
Sunmi had her start in the K-Pop world with Wonder Girls but has established herself as one of the best soloists in Korea. “Pporappippam” is another great addition to her already impressive discography, with a synth-heavy track filled with touches of airy strings that give the song a fantasy vibe. The chorus, however, is the major stand-out of the song. The song pauses for just a second before the chorus introduces a breathy 80’s disco track, a welcome departure from the EDM and trap songs in K-Pop today. “Pporappippam” captures the pure feeling of a nostalgic summer and is easily the best song released this summer and possibly even of this year. While her releases may be infrequent, Sunmi is still at the top of her game and continues to drop high caliber songs.