South Korea has one of the fastest-growing and most sonically exciting Pop scenes in the world, so we have decided to bring you “The K-Pop Bulletin”, a column highlighting some of the hottest K-Pop singles of every month. Today, we take a look at the finest releases of February 2019.
ITZY – Dalla Dalla
The definitive marker of a good year in K-Pop is the strength of its debuts, which is why we have been so excited this month about JYP Entertainment’s ITZY. Besides having the backing of one of the “big three” agencies, the group was already highly anticipated, as its members were already making a name for themselves on variety shows like MIXNINE and The Fan. “Dalla Dalla” is a very solid debut; many might say it’s kind of a mess, but the fact that it’s all-over-the-place is precisely what makes it so effective. It not only displays the range of the girls’ talents, it also promises on the sonic possibilities of future releases, which is what a debut should be.
FTISLAND – God Bless You
There are several K-Pop acts with a strong rock edge (Day6, The Rose, Dreamcatcher, N-Flying), but sometimes you gotta leave it to the true veterans to create something that is as anthemic and pop as it is heavy on the overdrive. FTISLAND‘s “God Bless You” is as straightforward as it gets, but the band’s legendary ability of crafting huge hooks out of catchy interwoven melodies can be fully appreciated here. And the mixing takes this to incredible heights.
Dreamcatcher – PiRi
This is single of the month on the basis of the mindblowing songwriting and production, but most importantly, on how the arrangements work together. There’s something about the combination of trap snares and palm-muted guitar riffs that’s just haunting, but then an acoustic guitar enters the pre-chorus, and it paints a more interesting picture. “Piri” might not be the catchiest or the most immediate Dreamcatcher single, but it’s the one where they finally unleash their full potential.
Taemin – Want
Taemin is already a legend; his work as part of SHINee and his run of exciting solo releases have consolidated him as a complete force in the Korean scene, to a point that we can have a very specific set of expectations every time he announces a new single. This does not mean his music is predictable, but that he’s one of the very best as his particular brand of K-Pop. He is first and foremost a dance artist, not only by virtue of his amazing choreographic skills but by the mood he sets in his tracks. “Want” contains all the elements that make his music special — rich basslines, a space-disco atmosphere, and a vibe that’s charged with sensuality.
Monsta X – Alligator
Monsta X is a band that has spent years meticulously crafting their own style, honing their skills and perfecting the presentation of their sound in every album and title-track. Their comeback single “Alligator” heralds the launch of We Are Here, the natural sequel to October’s Are You There, and yes, the cohesiveness between both releases is extraordinary. With this band, you know what to expect: staccato-funk guitars, in-your-face synths, slick, crushing beats, and some of the most impressive collective rapping in idol pop. The energy is magnificent.