Sometimes I think this blog exists for the sole purpose of hosting annual lists such as this one, and you know what – I am totally okay with that.
This was meant to be a “50 Favorite K-pop Tracks” but as I write, there might still be comebacks to look forward to before the year ends. I’m thinking I might still be working my way up until the last day of the year because cut-off’s are my style aniya.
So fuck it – here are the one hundred(-ish, give or take) K-pop tracks I listened to this year, the ones that I loved to pieces, the ones I looped, included in playlists, the ones that scored real life memories in the making and the ones that to me, mattered. I didn’t rank the songs according to importance, but rather to keep things simpler, the titles appear in the order of release in 2015.
2015 kicked my ass for sure. This just might be my least favorite year in recent memory as far as IRL developments are concerned. I got burned out, quit my job, went back to school in Q2. In Q3 my apartment got robbed, and now at the tail-end of Q4, a family member unexpectedly got sick. Did I reach my quota? I’d say so. However, despite the bitterness, disappointment and mind-numbing drudgery 2015 dragged me through, there were always pockets of solace I found in these pop songs.
So instead of talking about each track in a critical way (though I guess there would be a little bit of that), I’d rather talk about specific ways these tracks sort of got to me.
“Deja Boo” Jonghyun feat. Zion T
I loved that the songs on Jonghyun’s debut mini album were written by Jonghyun himself, and its first track,”Deja Boo” is typical of his style – it’s a little sexy in that “I’m not afraid to go falsetto on this track” way.
When I sat down to listen to this, I was starting a brand new journal – a large plain Moleskine Cahier in purple and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the notebook visually. Then – “Ooh ooh ooh…stay oh cool…” and before I knew it I was reaching for my bootleg SHINee stickers and sticking the Jonghyun ones all over the page. I titled the journal entry: “Hey, Jonghyun there’s a party over here!” in teal and purple markers.
Good times ❤
“27 Years Old” Jung Yong Hwa (with Peter Malick)
In March I went to Seoul for the second time to see EXO. That trip just might have been my last really good memory for 2015. It’s like I hit some sort of cosmic peak early and the universe just decided to go downhill from there.
Anyway, this song came on shuffle at 3AM as I sat in the back of a cab en route to the airport and it struck me as one those songs that complement the wide awake at 3AM mood so perfectly. There’s another Peter Malick track that gives me a very similar feeling – it’s his collaboration with Norah Jones on the “New York City” mini album (Hah! Well it had seven tracks…!) called “Strange Transmissions”. At 3AM, highways are especially beautiful to me, and even EDSA at this time can create a hazy, dreamlike and cinematic mood. What made”27 Years” special was that it scored my cab ride on the way to another adventure in Seoul.
I’m a sucker for songs that celebrate one’s beauty. “Beautiful” makes my soul feel like how my face feels after I wash it with baby soap at the end of the day. Amber sings this as though her own face is bare and is lovin’ it. Definitely a song to better appreciate your own beautiful self to!
Yeah, okay. I cried when I first heard this.
“Growing Pains” Super Junior D&E
My ideal Super Junior album would be filled with Donghae-penned tracks. I like his style as a songwriter – it’s a little twee, sure but it suits him, and his songs have a softness to them that reminds me of his face.
Donghae coming up with sweet tunes is a nice thought, and I like imagining him writing songs barefoot in a fuzzy cream colored sweater. I’d think about that whenever I’d cross the street in Hongdae and I’d hear “Growing Pains” playing from an accessories shop close by.
“Is You” Geeks feat. Lena Park
This one almost slipped my radar because strictly speaking, it’s not as K-pop as the bubblegum idol-based tracks I consume like an addict. I came across this song a little while after its release on a Spotify playlist called “Kpop Daebak”, which pretty much compiles all the fresh tracks released for the week/month and is updated regularly.
I’ve never come across a Geeks track I didn’t like, and “Is You” had my favorite Geeks elements – a swingy little beat and a laid-back melody. I think it was a slow week tunes-wise for me when I heard it and I got excited I had something new to seek out.