Now that it's July and summer has arrived, that means 2017 is already halfway over (That was fast)! The year was a blur so far with all the dating scandals, debuts, and more - but the crazy (good) music releases are what always has the K-Pop fans coming back for more.
To commemorate the halfway point to what hopefully will be an even more awesome second half of 2017, here are the staff picks of the best songs so far in 2017 (Releases between January to June 2017).
Cara: 'Produce 101' season 2 ''Pick Me''
''Na ya na! Na ya na~~'' A fan of 'Produce 101' or not, you know you've heard that melody somewhere. ''Pick Me'' by the trainees of 'Produce 101' season 2 is definitely the best and also the most popular song so far. The show was undoubtedly a great success and the theme song has also taken over Korea. (This song is literally playing everywhere!) Young or old, men or women, no matter who you are the song is easy to sing along and I especially like how ''Pick Me'' has like the ideal idol vibe to it. Overall, catchy melody and easy to follow key choreography is the definition of a hit K-Pop song and ''Pick Me'' has it all. It's also just super addictive and it's screaming at me like, ''Pick meeee pick me pick me pick me pick meeeee"
Paul: Dumbfoundead "Hyung"
I was originally gonna go with "YNF" boasting Groovy Room's smooth production and rapping from Nafla / Verbal Jint but that just missed the cut as it was released in December.
This song is something I can relate to and features two top rappers in Dok2 and Simon D. If you're a Korean male who grew up overseas you may relate to the song as it talks about the respect culture. Younger Korean males must pay respect to older Korean males by calling them "hyung." This song flips that expectation and flips it on its head, saying you have to give me respect first before I respect you. "Show me respect, i'll show it back. Thats the code of conduct. I could give a f*ck if your bitch ass older." - Dumbfoundead." With bold lyrics and freedom to speak his mind, this is something I can respect.
KpopJoa: KARD ''Don't Recall''
Had a few songs in mind, like G-Dragon's "Untitled" for a sentimental feel, WINNER's "Really Really", the chorus was really addictive, Dreamcatcher's "Good Night" for their goth-rock appeal, or even MVP's "Take It" for its ground-breaking sound. But had to give it to KARD in the end. Everything about this group is striking to me. Not just the fact that they are a co-ed group which is pretty rare to see in the K-pop industry nowadays. I like their overall concept of each member representing a playing card. Onto the actual song, I found myself playing this on repeat ever since it was released. It has a dynamic beat and felt the member's parts were evenly distributed throughout. B.M and J.seph's rapping segments are on point and compliment Somin and Jiwoo's sections like an actual conversation happening. The MV is very artistic as well.
Jenny: 'Produce 101' season 2 ''Never''
While ''Never'' didn't win #1 during the concept evaluation, it's arguably the most successful song as the only song to get an all-kill on music charts and stay high on charts (It's still ranking decently, even after the show has ended). The group, made of Kim Jong Hyun, Hwang Min Hyun, Ong Sung Woo, Kim Jae Hwan, Park Woo Jin, Lee Dae Hwi, and Lai Guan Lin, ended up with the most members in top 11 (Kim Jong Hyun is the only one who didn't make it). As a LOㅅE, the song being #1 is especially special as Min Hyun mentioned in previous interviews how much he wanted a song with his voice to be #1.
beansss: IU ''Palette''
I strongly believe "Palette" is a song which allows listeners, especially many females in their 20's, to sincerely reflect on themselves as individuals while listening to it. Sure, at first, it might sound like IU is just talking about herself the whole time. But the point isn't that she likes the color purple, or pajamas with buttons, or corny things. As you listen to each of the things that she's learned about herself, no matter how trivial, you naturally think about what color you like, what kind of pajamas you like, whether you like corny things or not, and all that. Also particularly touching are the encouraging lines, "I got this, I'm truly fine. I think I've learned a few things about myself now." I think no matter what age you are, realizing that you've learned to understand yourself better is a good thing. Lastly, you can't listen to this song without listening to the accompaniment song, "Dear Name". "Palette" is about understanding oneself a little bit. "Dear Name" is a vow, calling out to one's own name and promising it that the singer will find their name one day.
Esther: BTS' ''Spring Day''
What is there not to like about this song?! BTS really knocked it out of the park fully capturing the essence of a lost friendship and how one wishes to rekindle the severed connection. Don't we all experience this sometime in our life? Don't we ever ponder what happened to our friends back in elementary, middle, high school? What and where are they now? I sure do. Additionally, the lyrics of this tune is bittersweet. Within the V sings, "How much more do I have to wait? How many more nights do I have to stay up? Until I can see you?" and in response, Jungkook sings, "If you wait a little longer, if you stay up a few more nights, I'll go see you, I'll go pick you up." Literally, the member is answering in response to V's desperate call to have his friend back. If that doesn't hit you right in the feels, I don't know what will.
Matt: IU ''Through the Night''
In my personal opinion, IU is without a doubt, one of the best solo artists to ever hit the K-Pop music scene regardless of gender. Debuting at such a young age to now, she has truly matured into an artist. Despite her soft and quiet voice, when she grabs her guitar and starts singing, she has the potential to swallow up even the loudest crowd by making the audience gravitate towards her voice. This song is just one of many examples. IU herself wrote the lyrics to this amazing song and the song itself is just so easy to listen to that is sonically pleasing. I believe IU best showcases her talent and abilities through music like "Voice Mail", "Friday", "My Old Story", "The Shower", "Heart", and "Knees" – this song "Through the Night" is right up there in the same alley.
Elliefilet: Sanchez ''5 More Minutes'' feat. Beenzino
"5 More Minutes" is a song that seems specifically tailored for Sanchez in that his sense of rhythm and falsetto elevate everything about it. The instrumental goes from obviously there to almost absent at times, but Sanchez plays with the harmonies and ad-libs in a way that fill those pauses in perfectly. I'm going to say I've listened to this song for way more than 5 minutes.
Eric: KARD ''Don't Recall''
K.A.R.D. already made a fan out of me with "Oh NaNa". There's just something about that blend of house and reggae that totally rocks. I love the contrast of the guys rapping about their love and the girls' sharp rebukes. Fun to listen to, fun to sing along to, this song is lit.
Edward: A Pink Eunji ''You're My Garden''
Not only was the drama 'Strong Woman Do Bong Soon' absolutely amazing, but the OST and entire soundtrack for this drama were fire! I absolutely fell in love with A Pink Eunji's powerfully angelic voice all over again. I feel the lyrics perfectly describe that overwhelming feeling of when love for someone fills your entire life and they become your everything! It is a wonderful feeling and this song beautifully paints the picture and sends shivers down my spine each and every time - especially with Eunji's effortless high notes and vibrato! I can never get sick of hearing it!
Patrick: S.E.S "Hush"
"Hush" is a song that fans of the fresh new crop of girl groups might have missed, but O.G. K-poppers are likely to love it. It's always great to see a first generation act that still makes music and promotes, so for S.E.S to do not only that but provide genuinely slick, smart and sexy sounds was one of my 2017 highlights. S.E.S has always been great at sultry R&B, and this dreamy tune sounds right at home alongside classics like "Twilight Zone."
Rebecca: IU "Palette"
Fans, including myself, have waited anxiously for IU's return to the music scene, and she did not disappoint with this one. The world has literally watched IU grow since her debut at just 15 years old, and this song is reflective of that. She invites fans to reminisce back to her iconic "Good Day" days, and the song is also her coming-of-age story. It's something everyone can relate to since everyone embarks on their own journey of self-discovery. And plus, it also features G-Dragon! Like the title of her album, "Palette," IU really shows off her various colors through this song.
What is your favorite song released in the first half of 2017?