My favorite songs of the year, #15-11.
I have been very, very busy this year moving around and getting an actual job that pays actual money, so I apologize that I haven’t been able to review as many music videos as I would have liked this year. But I have, however, been keeping up with the music, at the very least playing it in the background and dancing to it in the basement for some exercise. So here I am compiling my favorite songs—not music videos this time!—even though it was hard to narrow them down.
Please note: these are only my personal favorites, and my taste is rather different than yours may be. Right off the bat, let me tell you that I still generally don’t like ballads; I prefer catchy, fast-paced pop songs that are easy to sing along to. I like melodic songs that build to a climax, especially where the singers give it their all, really committing to the notes. I like rap sections in more melodic songs but not necessarily songs that are entirely rap (with some notable exceptions *cough*BIGBANG*cough*). Also, ha, I still know basically no Korean whatsoever, and while bad English doesn’t necessarily bother me to the point where I don’t like the song anymore, I do prefer good English if I can get it. Finally, you’ll notice that most of these songs have awesome music videos to go with them. This is certainly not required! It’s just that if they don’t, then it’s likely that I will never even hear of the songs in the first place.
I hope you enjoy! And as always, feel free to disagree with me and to recommend others to me! I’m running kind of low on my iTunes queue! Listed in backwards order:
#15: BTOB—“Lover Boy”
First off we have BTOB, who took the fifteenth and first places on this list, which you’ll see when it’s posted in two days. This song has some very impressive rapping and that quick repeating “naneun molla” (“I only know”) part that made me sit up and take notice of this song. Eunkwang’s “don’t say goodbye~” bit is also very good. Peniel needs more lines, though! (He’s actually from Chicago, so he speaks English, too, which is so sweet.)
I’ve really got to learn more about this group. They seem adorable and have great songs.
“Ooh, bungee jumping and riding on ATVs—risky behavior for pop idols!”
#14: Jewelry—“Look At Me”
After Jewelry’s fantastic “One More Time,” I began to despair that the group would ever come up with something as sexy and addictive as that song—but they did! After the member change-up in 2011, dropping members Jung-ah and Seo In-Young (who’s having a great solo career) and adding members Yewon and Semi, I believe they’ve finally settled into their positions long enough to put out quality content like this.
Sure, maybe at first I thought it was a bit simplistic and repetitive, but after just hearing it once, I found myself repeatedly humming this at work, so I’ve completely changed my mind to the point where this is one of my favorites for the year. A horn section has rarely been used to such great effect—and the long “oohs” are really great, too. Welcome back, Jewelry. I may not have been looking at you carefully before, but I certainly am now.
“Well, if you insist!”
This song is like listening to a zany horror musical, similar to…oh, I don’t know, “Ballroom Blitz”? Unlike most of the songs on this list, I love the verses more than the chorus. The verses have this accelerating sense of urgency, and I think the chorus unfortunately dissipates some of that building tension. Also, the transition to the slow bridge is a bit more sudden, jarring, and unnatural than I’m used to with KARA’s songs. So overall I prefer their song “STEP” from last year. But I like “Pandora” enough to include it on my list of favorites this year. The harmony of all of the KARA members’ voices is always so listenable, and the fast pace works well.
“That pink box reminds me of the Tesseract from Avengers.” So this would make KARA the female Avengers! Works for me.
#12: Orange Caramel—“Lipstick”
I have just this to say, and it’s FINALLY! Finally, an Orange Caramel song I love. “Bangkok City” didn’t do it for me; “Shanghai Romance” didn’t do it for me; none of the previous songs worked for me. This one does.
Part of it, I acknowledge, it certainly the fact that it samples that traditional snake-charmer’s song (see this article for more on that), and it seems that songwriters can only rarely go wrong for me by doing that. Heck, even Ke$ha managed to make a listenable song by sampling that (see “Take It Off,” my favorite song of hers). But I also absolutely love the “eomeoeomeo~” (“oh my, oh my~”) part in “Lipstick,” which matches the cute dance move.
“Doubles is hard enough in ping pong! Triples would just be crazy!”
A strange thing happened to me while listening to this song. At first I can legitimately say that I hated it. “What the heck does ‘V-I-C-T-O-R-Y girls’ mean?” I thought. Irritating drivel; too cutesy. But once the song ended, all I could think was that I wanted to hear it again…and again…and I finally realized that what I like about this song is that there are so many different sections but they all fit so nicely together, and the moods seem to alternate in each section. Some really are too cutesy, but some are almost badass (Lime’s rap! That bridge!). Each part is separately fairly catchy and memorable, even the parts that are somewhat annoying (“Hello? You know!”), but together the juxtaposition of the moods is great. “So cool, boo~” I also love the dance here. So flirtatious!
Not going to lie, it doesn’t hurt that Psy and the members of NU’EST are briefly featured in this music video also. *fangirls*
Also check out HELLOVENUS’s new song, “What Are You Doing Today?” Not as good as “Venus,” in my opinion, but still nice.
“If only everybody had cellphone animations abover their heads. It’s like watching The Sims!”
Next up tomorrow, songs #10-6! :)