At the end of each month, I look back at my three favorite title tracks by K-pop artists. I take my own ratings into account, but there’s a bit of wiggle room as certain songs tend to grow or fade.
October 2023 Overall Thoughts
Though it boasted a more exciting line-up of big-name comebacks, October felt like a continuation of September. Honestly, not much stuck out to me. This is despite new music from some of my favorite artists (ONF, Sunmi, TXT, Taemin, etc). These songs were hit or miss, but even the hits felt tempered.
Other tracks from a-list artists (Seventeen, NCT, NewJeans, LE SSERAFIM) placed comfortable in the mid-7’s to low 8’s on this blog, representing a general feeling of “it’s fine.” Or, as the kids say these days: it was mid. It was a very mid October for me.
My top three songs of the month surprised me. One group was almost guaranteed to make the cut but the other two acts have never placed in a top three before. One has never even been part of my honorable mentions! As usual, it’s all about the songs themselves. Personal bias can only carry things so far, and more and more the “bias” in this blog’s title refers to a bias toward (or against) certain songwriting tropes. With so many K-pop title tracks following a handful of pre-established templates, my ear is longing for music that feels a little different from current trends.
With that in mind, my favorite song of October doesn’t do anything new, but it does trade in a genre that’s not currently popular in K-pop. This alone makes it stand out.
You know what I really want? More girl group songs I fall in love with. A girl group song hasn’t featured in my top three since May (though Soyou represented for the ladies in July). Conversely, my favorite global pop songs of the year are almost all female-fronted. I wish K-pop would steal some energy from these global artists. It feels like this year girl group songs are either NewJeans-esque ‘subdued cool’ or sing-talk chanty. Where has the melodic GFriend/WJSN/Lovelyz/Oh My Girl sound gone? There surely must still be interest in it, right? Or am I alone in this?
J-pop had a so-so month as well. There were lots of songs I liked but few I loved. Fortunately, November’s looking to turn things around for both industries. I’m excited about new releases from Golden Child, NINE.i, ZEROBASEONE, aespa, Red Velvet, The Boyz and more. In Japan, we’ve got new music from personal favorites Fantastics and Ryugujo pretty early in the month.
So… come on! Let’s end the year with a bang. After all, eligibility for my K-pop year-end countdown closes at the end of November…
Month Cumulative Rating: 7.8
(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)
TOP J-POP SONGS OF THE MONTH
3. Sakurazaka46 -Sukimakaze yo
2. INI – Hana (review)
1. Queen Bee – 01 (Zero Ichi) (review)
Chuu – Howl (review)
E’Last – Kiss Me Baby (review)
Heejin – Algorithm (review)
Jessi – Gum (review)
Jini – C’mon (ft. Aminé) (review)
Moon Jongup – X.O.X (review)
NCT 127 – Fact Check (review)
NewJeans – Gods (review)
Queenz Eye – This Is Love (review)
Riize – Talk Saxy (review)
Seventeen – God Of Music (review)
Treasure – B.O.M.B (review)
tripleS EVOLution – Invincible (review)
TXT – Chasing That Feeling (review)
82MAJOR – Sure Thing (review)