Though irreversibly damaged by explosive scandals that revealed the extremely disgusting actions of many loved entertainers, this past March felt like one of the best months of Kpop releases in the past couple years. The first month of spring was led by exciting debuts and rousing, unconventional anthems from female soloists. Artists reached new peaks as they crafted original, boundary-pushing tracks that felt more authentic than ever, while idols impressed with inspired performances of songs that have finally graduated from the tired trends of 2018.
With all the disheartening news recently, it was refreshing to hear such quality music, which at this point may be the only reason many fans haven't left Kpop altogether. A top-ten list was incredibly hard to choose, but I tried my best to assemble an accurate ranking of my favorite songs from March 2019.
- Anda x R.Tee - “What You Waiting For”
- EVERGLOW - “Bon Bon Chocolat”, “Moon”
- GWSN - “Pinky Star”, “Miss Ping Pong”
- LEEGIKWANG - “Don't Close Your Eyes (D.C.Y.E)”
- Taeyeon - “Blue”, “Four Seasons”
- VAV - “Thrilla Killa”
- Park Jihoon - “L.O.V.E.”
- Jus2 - "Focus On Me"
- Baek Yerin - "Maybe It’s Not Our Fault"
- DIA - "Woowa", "No"
- MAMAMOO - "My star"
- PENTAGON - "Sha La La", "Lost Paradise", "Round 1"
10. SUNMI - "NOIR"
Sunmi had a monumental 2018. She gave the trend-ridden year a breath of fresh air by releasing one of last year’s best albums in WARNING, which happened to contain three of my favorite songs from 2018: “Heroine,” “Siren,” and the criminally underrated “Black Pearl.” That being said, expectations were high for Sunmi’s first comeback of 2019, and I’m happy to say that I believe she met these expectations. While “NOIR” wasn’t as triumphant as “Heroine” or as captivating as “Black Pearl,” it gave Sunmi’s airtight, ’80s inspired sound a darker, more nuanced edge. The lyrics and music video expose the willingness of society to go to great lengths, even to things that may harm you or others, to gain attention and recognition. The video pins social media as the main instigator of this problem and utilizes Insta-ready aesthetics along with noir-film-like sequences of Sunmi harming herself for meaningless “likes” and “follows” to drive home the message. The song is impressive in itself, with a funky bass-line throughout and an ear-catching chorus, though its thematic indifference borders on monotonous.
9. JEONG SEWOON - "Feeling" feat. PENOMECO
Unlike many dedicated Kpop fans, I did not watch Produce 101 season two and see the formation of Wanna One, but I eventually became familiar with that group, it’s members and the many talented trainees that did not make the final eleven. Though I hadn’t ever listened to Jeong Sewoon’s post-Produce solo albums before this month’s Plus Minus Zero EP, I knew that he had taken on the roles of a songwriter as well as an idol and made music that revolved around his skill as a guitarist. His latest title track, “Feeling” featuring rapper PENOMECO, takes full advantage of his adept strumming to create a guitar-led bop, which he took part in writing the lyrics for. The song’s two main standout moments are PENOMECO’s nonchalant rapping over Jeong’s fast-paced plucking (which somehow really, really works), and the delightfully punchy chorus where Jeong demonstrates his effortless falsetto.
8. Jang Dong Woo - "Gun"
One of March’s best debuts was from INFINITE member Jang Dong Woo, who released his debut mini-album, Bye. While title track “News,” was mesmerizing in its own right, my favorite from the album is “Gun,” a very INFINITE-style track that captivates with its effective use of a melancholy electro-pop mood. The song also incorporates a vaguely 80’s vibe in the angsty chorus, and displays Jang’s talent as an experienced singer and rapper, with emotive vocals and impressive rapping throughout.
7. Tomorrow X Together - "Our Summer"
March was filled with excellent debuts (see EVERGLOW, GOT7 sub-unit Jus2, and Wanna One’s Park Jihoon), but perhaps the most anticipated and lauded was that of BTS’ younger brother group TXT (Tomorrow X Together). Though “Crown,” the title track from their debut EP The Dream Chapter: Star, was impeccably crafted with near-pristine production, the real standout was the album track “Our Summer.” The song feels so incredibly fit for summer that it’s a surprise that Big Hit didn’t just wait to make it the group’s summer comeback. It starts slowly, steadily building to the effortless electro-pop groove of the chorus, which immediately evokes nostalgic daydreams of your best summer memories.
6. Park Bom - "Spring" featuring Sandara Park
Ex-2NE1 member Park Bom’s solo return has been teased and promised for some time now, but personally, I was doubtful it would ever arrive, due to all the label drama and absolutely unnecessary hate from netizens. Thankfully, Bom carried out her promise and blessed her fans with a new single album with three diverse, high-quality tracks. Though “Shameful,” the standout dance-pop track that closes the album, might be my personal favorite, I can’t help but recognize the title track “Spring” as the real choice for one of the month’s best songs. Inspired by her own first name (“bom” means “spring” in Korean), the track feels remarkably intimate for a Kpop song. The song is filled with revelatory moments: a guest rap from fellow ex-2NE1 member and close friend Sandara Park, deeply personal lyrics, a tastefully placed backing choir, and the main hook, where Bom heartbreakingly wonders, “Will spring come to my heart again?” as a pounding beat shatters the ambient synths of the Brave Brothers production.
5. Suran - "Wander & Flow" featuring Yoonmirae
Singer/producer Suran returned in March with Jumpin’, a triumphant EP that serves as the sonic sequel to her 2017 EP Walkin’. Like its predecessor, Jumpin’ displays Suran’s keen ability to craft pop-R&B songs that perfectly utilize her unique, soulful voice. The first and arguably best track from Jumpin’ is “Wander & Flow,” featuring rapper Yoonmirae. Like its title suggests, the song floats along on a carefree spacey-synth groove, Suran’s distinctive voice winding placidly along with it. Yoonmirae provides a short but characteristically potent verse midway through, which prevents the song’s unaffected flow from becoming monotonous.
4. Epik High - "Eternal Sunshine"
Veteran hip-hop trio Epik High made their first comeback since leaving YG Entertainment with the EP sleepless in _____. My personal favorite from the collection is the meditative “Eternal Sunshine,” which was co-produced by BTS’ Suga. The track stands out for its jazzy instrumental and deeply reflective lyrics that express the exhaustion of the entertainment industry. The song’s instantly memorable chorus is home to the album’s best and most direct lyrics, “Do you get lonely? Sick with anxiety? Can’t trust anybody? Well, same here.” It’s rare for mental health to be addressed in Kpop or in popular music as a whole, so it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a group tackle it so straightforwardly.
3. Stray Kids - "MIROH"
Being completely honest, I wasn’t sure that Stray Kids could ever release a song that matched the sheer energy and force of their powerful debut, District 9. Well, I was wrong. The self-producing boy group’s new single “Miroh” soars on its uncompromising stamina, effectively utilizing the beat-drop-as-chorus format to forge an astounding sonic whirlwind. It eschews typical song structure in favor of a more streamlined production that keeps the energy and anticipation up throughout. Armed with lyrics that champion perseverance and determination, “Miroh” proves that Stray Kids are at their most compelling when they craft songs that rely on the kind of power only they are capable of producing.
2. DALsooobin - "Katchup"
Perhaps my most anticipated solo comeback of the year so far, Dal Shabet’s Dalsooobin didn’t disappoint with the eclectic banger “Katchup.” I’ve been a major fan of her solo music since 2017’s lovely “A Circle’s Dream,” and she’s one of the artists that I admire most due to her complete creative control over her music and her determination to make songs that push the boundaries of what a Kpop song can sound like. “Katchup” is her most daring single yet, incorporating sparse yet effective background elements with zany worldbuilding to make the chorus’ dramatic drop all the more inventive. The song progresses towards a showstopping finish, slowly sprinkling new sounds atop the layered, guitar-and-piano-led foundation that serve as hints to the club-ready breakdown that propels its final thirty seconds.
1. HEIZE - “Hitch Hiding” (feat. sunwoojunga)/”So, it ends?” (feat. Colde)
After four years of releasing yearly EP’s, HEIZE returned in March with her first studio-album, stunning graduation of her brand of rainy-R&B that instantly became my favorite album of the year so far. Lead single “She’s Fine” (or “Her Fine Weather”) proved to be another addictive title track from the consistent singer/rapper, but where HEIZE really shines is on the two polar standouts of the album. The first, “So, it ends?” a gorgeous piano ballad featuring duo OFFONOFF’s vocalist Colde, blends emotive vocal delivery with a brooding instrumental to create an unforgettable breakup lament. The second, “Hitch Hiding,” featuring singer/producer sunwoojunga, is a sparkling disco-R&B anthem in the vein of IU’s “Jam Jam” (which was co-written, arranged, and composed by sunwoojunga). The melancholy jam incorporates HEIZE’s trademark sound with glittering disco flourishes and self-reflective lyrics to make it a singularly impressive album track, one which boasts meticulous craft and attention to detail.
Thanks for reading my list :)
Feel free to comment your own lists or give opinions on my list.
Also please, if you notice any typos, comment them because idk about you but I wouldn't want to read an article with a bunch of typos!
also sorry but for some reason, I can't tag Jeong Sewoon or PENOMECO