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Red Light's Top 25 Female K-pop Songs of 2018 - FINALE

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Red Light
Posted (edited)

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2017, I am so sorry. I should have known better than to badmouth you the way I did in my opening post of last year’s thread. You actually contained some of the best K-pop songs I’ve ever heard, and I would have praised you to the heavens if I’d been looking in the right places. Many, many fantastic songs somehow slipped past my radar until the year was over, such as LOOΠΔ’s top-notch Sonatine and Kiss Later, and as a matter of fact, @Antunes introducing me to Good Day's Party After Party while my 2017 rate was going on. Worst of all, however, is that I had no idea Dreamcatcher even existed.

 

So I’m not going to dare say 2018 was bad. It was enjoyable, and I think it may have a slight edge on 2016. And there could certainly be songs I haven’t heard yet. But I will say that including 25 songs seemed a bit excessive for the kind of quality the year put out. I hated LOOΠΔ’s output this year compared to last year, for one thing. Pretty much all the second generation girl groups that got me hooked on K-pop are either disbanded or on hiatus now. And Red Velvet, while not releasing anything as atrocious as Rookie, had possibly their most underwhelming year yet. I really am jealous of the boy group stans. It seems like every popular boy group in K-pop put out multiple full albums this year, while BLACKPINK still has yet to even release enough songs to fill one complete album after two years. 

 

The top 10 this year is all absolutely excellent, but outside of that… Well, I never thought I'd say this, but it's got nothing on 2017.

 

And, exactly as I said last year: That just makes the songs that I did like all the more worthy of being recognized--I really don't care if I'm the only person to ever post in this thread. So here's how it's going to work:

 

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  • Any songs released between THE LAST HALF of December of 2017, and THE FIRST HALF of December of 2018 are eligible.

 

  • Any songs that I discovered that were released BEFORE this eligibility period will NOT be included.

 

  • Singles, album tracks, cover songs, and remixes may ALL be included.

 

  • International releases such as J-pop songs may also be included, as long as they come from K-pop artists.

 

  • There is NO LIMIT on how many spots an artist can take up on the list. If it's good, it's good.

 

  • All reviews and opinions are SUBJECTIVE and likely somewhat biased.

 

  • Unlike last year, there will also be awards for Album/EP of the Year, as well as Artist of the Year.

 

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  • Starting on the 6th, there will be two eliminations on even-numbered days, and three eliminations on odd-numbered days. This way, the rate will finish on the 15th and satisfy my OCD:gaycat2:

 

  • The rounds will all be between 8-9PM EST, although this is always subject to change.

 

  • January 4th: Honorable Mentions

 

  • January 5th: Unveiling of Nominees

 

  • January 6th: #25-#24

 

  • January 7th: #23-#22-#21

 

  • January 8th: Album/EP of the Year + #20-#19

 

  • January 9th: #18-#17-#16

 

  • January 10th: #15-#14

 

  • January 11th: #13-#12-#11

 

  • January 12th: Artist of the Year + #10-#9

 

  • January 13th: #8-#7-#6

 

  • January 14th: #5-#4

 

  • January 15th: #3-#2-#1

 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

 

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ARTIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

 

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TOP 25 NOMINEES

 

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Red Light

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LOOΠΔ (YYXY) - Rendezvous 18.6y

 

 

 

I forgot you can't ****ing center YouTube embeds. :ace:

 

Frozen is good, but this was the track that most stood out for me in the YYXY mini-album; a nice, dreamy, bossa nova-ish sound with interesting melodies, but it could have been so much better. I don’t know why they didn’t just go balls out with the acoustic sound and add a lush strings section instead of opting for that cheap-sounding synth string.

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Red Light
Posted (edited)

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BoA - U&I

 

 

 

The screechy trop house voice synth used for the hook is annoying, and the choruses are boring as hell quite frankly, not to mention it's missing a final chorus, so there's a lot of untapped potential. Nonetheless, those hard-ass verses with that dark synth and pounding beat are so orgasmic that they propel the song to greatness in spite of it all.

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Red Light

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TIFFANY YOUNG - Over My Skin

 

 

 

I was obsessed with this when it first came out and was certain that it would end up somewhere in my top 25, but I got over it shockingly fast. It’s a great, funky, Ariana-style track with the kind of soulful melodies that Tiffany soars in (the ski-i-i-i-in run at the end of the bridge is so perfect that it almost sounds autotuned), the production is good, and to be honest I can’t pinpoint why it aged so quickly, but I just never want to listen to it anymore.

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RobDeWittBukater

Ugh, U&I is one of my absolute faves, glad to see it getting some recognition :heart2:

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Red Light

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RED VELVET - Power Up

 

 

 

It’s great to see Red Velvet fully committing to the bitpop they hinted at with Russian Roulette. Plus, the pre-choruses are absolutely heavenly, and the bridge is a lot of fun. Unfortunately it just lacks that wow factor of catchiness that Russian Roulette possessed and isn’t nearly as good. If Russian Roulette borrowed some of the 8-bit sounds from Power Up, and added Power Up’s cool bridge to its own for a double bridge, I can’t imagine how incredible the final product would be.

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PeopleLikeUs
Posted (edited)

It takes a while for me to finally like Over My Skin. At first, it was underwhelming and the video didn't help either then I realize I was randomly singing the song in the public then it finally clicks to me. Teach You is miles better tho.

 

The same goes to Power Up and I'm probably a few people that prefer Power Up than Bad Boy. PU gives me the happy vibe and truly one of the best on their Red side. The only thing that I wish they do is they add another 2x speed at the last chorus so the song can give another boost before it's over. 

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Red Light

Not me getting 503'd already. :deadbanana2:

 

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BoA - Little More

 

 

 

Not the first Woman album track to be mentioned, and not the last! This probably would have fit in better on her Japanese album, which contained more instances of terrific retro material like Manhattan Tango and Jazz Club, but the inclusion of it on the more modern Woman album really helps it stand out a lot more. This was my favorite album track when it first came out and I still love it. The jazzy bridge with the cheery, marching band-ready trumpets is heavenly.

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madonnas

Considering you put Rookie as a horrible song I’m assuming lady won’t be your SOTY 😞 

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Red Light

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LOOΠΔ - favOriTe

 

 

 

The second chorus, with the sub-bass bedding and modulated synth sax falling all over the place, is brilliant, as are the intense pre-choruses. Not to mention the “prrrrrrrrrrrrrrAH” trills are a lot of fun and weirdly addictive. Unfortunately the rest of the song doesn’t meet similar heights, and the mixing could be a lot better.

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Red Light

I'll be replying to everyone once the round is over. :flower:

 

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CLC - Distance

 

 

 

I can’t decide if this reminds me more of a T-ara song or a Brown Eyed Girls song, but that’s high praise one way or the other. I’m very surprised to hear this kind of acoustic mid-tempo from Cube. With Cube, it’s usually either a hip-hop banger or a full-fledged piano ballad like Cold Rain or Depression. I wish they’d do it more often since this is the stand-out B-side on Black Dress and probably one of CLC’s best yet.

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Red Light

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BoA - Like It!

 

 

 

While there were unfortunately a few production flaws in Woman’s title track, the followup track is pure ear candy with utterly spotless mixing. To make it even more enjoyable, the song follows a great structure of soft, slow-burning verses with syncopated percussion, to bright, energetic choruses with a thumping four-on-the-floor beat and colorful tropic-hinted synths… but not tropical enough to make me hate it. The song really makes a name for itself, however, starting after the second chorus, slowing down to a sexy, teasing hip-hop bridge before bursting into an exciting post-bridge breakdown and perfectly altered final chorus, packed full of soulful ad-libs and sputtering beat breaks.

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EXID - I Love You

 

 

 

The “I love you like lalalala lalalala lalalala la la” is more annoying to me than catchy, and the production is pretty rough, with that cheap, tinny snare sample that sounds a billion light years away from the rest of the soundstage driving me insane. The funky attempt at pure 90’s house in the second verse is pretty cool, but you’ve also got the flaw that plagues so much of EXID’s discography: I Love You once again completely lacks a bridge… actually this time it doesn’t even bother to go for a third chorus. But Solji. Solji, I worship thee. I am honestly beginning to consider her one of the finest vocalists in all of K-pop. She has that remarkable Judy Garland-esque quality where you can just feel the emotion in her vocal delivery and it sounds as though the essence of the song is being ripped right out of her. That was what made L.I.E a thousand times better than it had any right to be and the same goes for I Love You.

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Red Light

Last honorable mention, falling just outside the top 25!

 

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OH MY GIRL - Secret Garden

 

 

 

This is an absolutely gorgeous, practically flawless song with outstanding production that really deserves to be up a lot higher than it is. I've seen pretty much universal acclaim for it online and it deserves every bit of it. NOBODY does dreamy synthpop like Oh My Girl and I consider them one of the most underrated girl groups on the scene today. Every element of the instrumental is tasteful and mixed perfectly, from the subtle, wavey sine bassline, to the grand interjections of power ballad-esque guitars, to the angelic string ensemble. In addition to that, the melodies are catchy enough to be memorable but not overly obvious or conventional, with long, complex chord progressions in the chorus that remind me a bit of APRIL's Take My Hand. The Cm chord during the "punggyeongijiman" bar of the chorus is breathtaking, as is all of the bridge. I also love how they incorporated the snare in this song, making it a trebley extension of the kick so that all you really hear is a long, pelting reverb--it shares this with a similar ambient synthpop song that will be in my top 10. Yet another ambient synthpop song that Secret Garden shares similarities with is its B-side, Love O'Clock: Love O'Clock, to me, is everything Secret Garden is... except with harps. And that's partially why Secret Garden didn't make it any farther than the honorable mentions: I enjoy Love O'Clock so much more that, in comparison, Secret Garden has always been slightly forgettable to me. It's still objectively better than half of what will be in the top 25, though.

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Red Light
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, RobDeWittBukater said:

Ugh, U&I is one of my absolute faves, glad to see it getting some recognition :heart2:

 

The Queen of K-pop in general doesn't get enough recognition. :'(

 

1 hour ago, PeopleLikeUs said:

It takes a while for me to finally like Over My Skin. At first, it was underwhelming and the video didn't help either then I realize I was randomly singing the song in the public then it finally clicks to me. Teach You is miles better tho.

 

The same goes to Power Up and I'm probably a few people that prefer Power Up than Bad Boy. PU gives me the happy vibe and truly one of the best on their Red side. The only thing that I wish they do is they add another 2x speed at the last chorus so the song can give another boost before it's over. 

I also think Bad Boy is overrated, although I don't prefer Power Up to it. In general I think PU's choruses sound oddly slow. I like the second half of the second chorus where the beat glitches out and gets really frantic. 

 

1 hour ago, madonnas said:

Considering you put Rookie as a horrible song I’m assuming lady won’t be your SOTY 😞 

EXID's Lady or Yubin's Lady? :priceless:

 

Thanks all for replying! :heart2:

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Red Light

Since it's my thread and it was a topic of discussion last night, everyone give a listen to my FL Studio instrumental of Russian Roulette! It has a lot more of the 8-bit incorporation I mentioned I would have liked in my review for Power Up, and it's one of the best instrumentals I've done. Beware of listening to anything I did before 2018 though; some of them are good but in general I couldn't mix for ****. :toofunny3:

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Beyonnaise
Posted (edited)

That Oh My Girl song is great.

 

Agreed about those LOONA songs. I can never enjoy their music because every time there's one or two interesting elements there's a host of uninteresting or generic parts that overshadow the rest of the song. 

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Red Light
Posted (edited)

AND THE NOMINEES ARE...

 

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Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ARTIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES...

 

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Red Light

And finally...

 

NOMINEES FOR MY TOP 25 SONGS OF 2018

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Come back tomorrow at the same time for the first two eliminations! :flower:

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Red Light
Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Red Light
3 hours ago, Beyonnaise said:

That Oh My Girl song is great.

 

Agreed about those LOONA songs. I can never enjoy their music because every time there's one or two interesting elements there's a host of uninteresting or generic parts that overshadow the rest of the song. 

I was in love with LOONA last year and I'm still a fan, but they only released one song this year that I liked as much as anything they put out in 2017. :chick3:

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Red Light

#25

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In what I think must be Red Velvet’s moodiest song ever, the oddly suspenseful Mosquito is allegory driven to its absolute hilt, analogizing a persistent male suitor to a mosquito that won’t leave you alone--even coming with its own quirky, squeaky synth sample that buzzes back and forth between each ear like a mosquito. Besides that, the instrumental is practically 100% screechy orchestral hits that attack the soundscape in slow, suspense-building stabs akin to the Jaws theme. To top that off, the harmonic choices and overall chord structure are brimming with angst and mystique, sealing every chorus as well as the bridge with a shiveringly dramatic sharp. And as always, Red Velvet’s vocal harmonies shine as well, menacingly accompanying the orchestral hits in the same suspenseful fashion, as well as filling most of the soundstage with a mournful droning in the background of the choruses. The choruses take a bit of getting used to, as they aren’t traditionally climactic--they’re actually a slowdown from the verses, but they’re jarringly different enough that they’re surprisingly satisfying in a very backwards way. In all, Mosquito is a fascinating song, dripping with creativity and doing almost everything necessary to shoot to the top of the list and become one of my favorite RV songs of all time.

 

But, sadly, it doesn’t actually go that far. The production is just plain barren, and barren in a way that doesn’t suggest subtlety, but plain laziness. This is SM we’re talking about here. If they had done something as simple as filling the rest of the instrumental with a nice, deep sub-bass--which would be insultingly easy for them to do--Mosquito could transform from a bizarre, underproduced B-side to one of the most authentic and creative bangers in all of K-pop. It has everything going for it to be a full-fledged dark, cinematic trap song, and comes just within reach of achieving it, which just makes it downright frustrating.

 

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Red Light

#24

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LOOΠΔ's 2018 output has been nowhere near the quality of last year, mostly because it’s harder to get me to like the bright, cutesy synthpop that’s made up so much of their 2018 material than it is the retro, string-driven tracks from last year (e.g Kiss Later, Sonatine), or the experimental dream-pop put out by Odd Eye Circle. Egoist, and its sister track, Rosy, came pretty close, however. Egoist is one of LOOΠΔ’s most ambitious tracks yet, which is saying a lot: The song is imaginative, to say the least, with its only generic earworming moment being the brief whistle progression in the chorus. Sonically, it’s unstable and chaotic, like a scrapbook of different synth fonts pieced together and forced to coexist. And then you have its most glaring quality, which also happens to be its downfall: Overproduction.

 

LOONATIC had similar mixing issues, but I welcomed it with open arms, as it seemed totally intentional. Egoist, while dreamy, doesn’t take any inspiration from shoegaze music as far as I can tell, which just makes it poorly mixed. And you can’t really blame it--the level of production layering is nuts, and anybody would have a hard time getting it to sound clean--but there’s one particular gripe I have with the instrumental that makes it hard to enjoy all of its positive features: The bass kick is simply too strong, in some places. There are moments, especially in the pre-choruses, where you can easily hear the kick sample briefly “Pulling down” the rest of the instrumental. The same problem arose in BoA’s Woman, which was a filthy-stinking-rich SM-approved production, so LOOΠΔ’s team can hardly be faulted for it--but it’s a pet peeve of mine that I can’t shake off no matter how hard I try. Nonetheless, it’s a great song, and I can certainly understand why everyone else loves it so much; not to mention the EDM break after the first chorus is excellent.

 

Three more down tomorrow night at the same time! :flower:

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