K-pop in 2015: comebacks, songs and rookie groups #2

If yesterday I tried to focus my attention on some of the South Korean songs from 2015 that were my jams, now it’s time to get more serious and focus on those songs that spoke to my soul.

I’m not a romantic, or at least I am not into that cheesy type of romance that people like to display on Valentine’s Day, but I do like a song that makes me feel things. And since in 2015 Korean artists released a couple of songs that made it to my playlist of songs to listen to when I feel blue, I have to talk about them.

From BTSGOT7BIGBANG or iKON songs to EXO and a part of VIXX songs, this playlist might have only tunes that have a sad vibe, yet they manage to make me feel better. Sadness is a part of life, but as long as we embrace it and understand that it’s just our memories playing a number on us, we are all set.

If you recall, when iKON had their debut I said that I wasn’t really into this band and I expected them to be different from what they turned out to be. It’s hard to be part of YG Entertainment as a rookie group and not have people compare you or think of you as the next BIGBANG.

It’s going to be really hard for any group from South Korea to actually get to BIGBANG’s level, that’s why I just imagined iKON like a combination between BIGBANG and WINNER, because WINNER is also a rookie group that showed some great potential last year.

I do hope both groups will get to step on BIGBANG’s footsteps, especially since they have the chance to share the same agency and have all the time to become better, learn and grow 🙂 No other group will ever get to be BIGBANG, but someone has to at least come close and make the hyungs from BIGBANG proud.

Call me crazy, but I actually think that hard work and songs that will be even better than ‘Apology’ are a key to that, but in my opinion this song is one of the best that came out in 2015 when it comes to Korean pop. I like that ‘Apology’ doesn’t focus only on the rappers or on the voices, but on both in equal doses.

At the same time, I think that iKON needs to work really hard to prove that all the credit from YG Entertainment and the fan base that came with it are worth it. Let’s not forget that they are still rookies, they have a lot left to prove, plus I think that all the members should stand out, not just two or three 🙂

Maybe I gave them the chance to be my number one pick because they really surprised me with this track, but at the same time I think that there is no denying that this song deserves the credit. It might not be a catchy tune that makes you jump off the couch and bounce to it, but the lyrics have a lot of meaning and the vibe of the song makes it relatable.

It’s no secret that BTS is my favorite group ever, so in a way one of their songs should have been my number one this year. But the thing with BTS is that they were no surprise for me, I already knew that they were going to shine in 2015, win their first awards and finally get all the credit they deserved to get.

It just felt like the right time for that, these seven amazing dorks have been working a lot since their debut, not to mention that they come from a small agency, so they had it harder than other groups.

You can feel that they love what they do; music is that one thing that they see themselves doing not just now, but for a long time from now on, and they weren’t just put on a group because of the looks. They make the best team, plus you can sense that they make great friends outside the band and that they enjoy being together.

‘I need u’ was just a proof of what these boys are capable of, but I already saw this one coming, because I have been saying that they were great long before this song was released. Before iKON‘s ‘Apology’ and GOT7‘s ‘If you do’ came out, this was my number one, but I went for the surprise factor when writing about iKON‘s song before BTS‘s one.

So it seems like my absolute favorite three songs from 2015 are about love stories that go nowhere, that end up in tears, apologies, drama or people trying to get over it with self destruction. I have to say that this doesn’t reflect at all my love life in 2015, thanks God I had the chance to take a break from all that.

My three picks may actually come like a surprise for everyone, even for the Korean pop fans from around the world, since BIG BANG came back this year and yet I didn’t say a word about them yet. BIG BANG are kings, but this year I seem to have a better connection with these three bands that I picked and their songs. It’s not about the heartbreak and the unshared love, but more about the way these three songs managed to express them.

GOT7‘s ‘If you do’ is more tough than my first two choices, but it still managed to get to my heart and make me think of all the times those lyrics could have spoken to me and make me realize that I was on the wrong road and had to find the way out as soon as possible. Love is a game, but it still has to have both players active and willing to give it a shoot, it’s not fair for just one of the players to give the best and for the other to just make the game more complicated.

When it comes to EXO, one of the songs that I ended up loving in 2015 is ‘Sing for you’. EXO has gone through a lot of stuff, especially since having three members leave the band in less than two years. And this song just feels like it was meant to express what the band feels like with all the changes. The MV is so powerful, with the 52-hertz whale and the lonely astronaut played by Sehun.

Putting two of the loneliest beings on this planet together in the same scene is just plain sad, there is no way one could not feel sorry for both. Especially since both have their own way of communicating and there is no way they could actually understand each other.

Add the sad song and the slow vibe and you have the perfect song to cry along, while thinking of all the things that went wrong this year, last year and all the other years you lived until now. But maybe it’s just the MV and knowing the story behind EXO that makes both the MV and song so sad.

And since I loved EXO Next Door, the OST is also one of my favorite songs from 2015. Baekhyun has such an amazing voice, when it comes to my voice biases from EXO he is my number one. Only Baekhyun and his stunning voice could have made ‘Beautiful’ sound so perfect, plus you can’t get past the part in the beginning of the MV where he says ‘EXO Next Door’ with his cute Korean accent.

Another awesome song from 2015 is ‘Beautiful Liar’ from VIXX‘s Ravi and Leo, a song that is yet a proof that VIXX is a great band, with six talented versatile and members, a band that might be just a bit underrated after all.

I am not such a big fan of this band, yet I listened to a couple of songs and I love ‘Error‘. Just because I am not a big fan, doesn’t mean that I can’t give them all the credit they deserve. I like how they stand out from all the other South Korean bands with their darker concepts and different looks.

When it comes to girl groups, I have to admit that my favorite song is ‘4 Walls’ from f(x). I actually don’t really listen to girl groups that much, I am not sure why. I just feel like I can relate more with boy groups and their songs, yet I can’t say that Korean girl groups aren’t just as good as the boy groups.

Even if these aren’t songs from 2015, I have to say that I really like ‘Something’ from Girl’s Day or Hyuna in Trouble Maker’s ‘Now’, plus a couple of other songs that she released on her own, not to mention 2ne1’s ‘Missing you’ or ‘I love you’.

I also have to say that rookie girl groups such as Twice or Mamamoo that had their debut in 2015 look pretty good, and let’s not forget about Red Velvet that just made a debut in August 2014. These rookie girl groups show some amazing potential, I cannot wait to see what their 2016 comebacks will look like.

Coming from an American music background to Korean music, I am not all about the cute songs. That’s why you will also notice songs like ‘Wet’ from Joo Young or ‘Sex Trip’ from Jay Park in this playlist; they remind me of artists like Chris Brown and every other singer I listen to besides Korean artists.

BTS and GOT7 have three more songs that made it to this playlist, but then again these songs are just those that also have a MV or that were promoted at music shows. It’s pretty clear that the albums released by these two bands in 2015 are great, a lot of songs would have deserved to have MVs and to be promoted, but the ones they picked are some of the best, so I can’t complain.

‘Run’ and ‘Butterfly’ from BTS are my two favorite songs from ITMFL pt.2, but take notice that I haven’t given the whole album a good listen, because I am waiting for my copy to arrive from South Korea. I like the idea of listening to an album the old fashioned way, so I guess it’s worth the wait. This might sound crazy, but I was actually thinking about buying a CD player, that’s if they still make them anymore.

GOT7’s ‘Confession Song’ was such an amazing choice to promote as a winter holiday song. But then again the original album and the winter repackaged version have other good songs as well, like ‘Tic Tic Tok’, ‘Put em up’ or ‘Eyes on’, just to call two or three songs of the top of my mind.

I have to admit that BTS and GOT7 really ruled my 2015, I can’t think of any other band(s) that I listened to as often as BTS and GOT7 over the past few months. Or any other bands that made me get their merch. My South Korean collection kept growing as comebacks kept happening, but I like investing time and money in things that I love and in things that I can use as many times as I like to.

Now that 2016 is here, I am really happy that all the groups and artists finally have a change to take a break, enjoy some free time and spend some quality time with friends and family. Comebacks are just around the corner, and since 2015 was such an amazing year for most of my favorite artists, they really deserved to have a little time for their own.

I am at the same time excited about what the year 2016 could bring when it comes to Korean music. I am pretty sure I will have a lot of great songs to listen on repeat or talk about in the near future, so hold on tight.

I fell a bit sorry for all the South Korean songs released in 2015 that didn’t make it to any of my two playlists, because I am sure that there are a lot of other great songs that I didn’t have a chance to give a listen to last year. Of course, there are other songs that I listened to in 2015 that also didn’t make it to these playlists, but I tried to pick just those songs that I could call my favorites 🙂