Below are a few more gems I was able to find thanks to the Stereogum article. They are also the five best pop songs I’ve heard in years. If you care anything about perfect earworm hooks, great melodies, attractive people and tight, professional songwriting, I’m begging you to please give these songs a listen. I genuinely want to start a conversation! I’m getting tired of talking to myself!
miss A, “Bad Girl, Good Girl”
The epitome of an intro song. This was their first single from their Korean debut a couple of years ago, and exactly the sort of thing I’m starting every single mixtape with from here on out. miss A fun fact: Member Min was trained by her record label for eight years before her debut. K-pop is a rigid machine — singing, dancing, acting and foreign language lessons are standard. Make no mistake, these kids are products, perhaps even more so than their Western counterparts.
Hyuna, “Bubble Pop!”
But what a product! K-pop is the Coca-Cola of the music world; everything else seems like watered-down Sam’s Choice by comparison. This song, without a doubt, has the weirdest digression I’ve encountered so far: That would obviously be the brief dubstep breakdown at 2:18. The rest of it, though, is perfect. Even (especially?) the video, which is like a Kelly Kapowski comic book.
Hyunseung & Hyuna, “Trouble Maker”
Hyuna, once again. I haven’t heard too much from her group 4Minute that really grabs me, but she’s clearly the Justin Timberlake of the bunch. And Hyunseung here is from the boy group Beast that I highlighted last week, but I much prefer this duet. It makes me want to buy a thousand synths and drum machines and programs and force myself to learn pop songwriting. No song with a guitar has ever inspired me that way.
G-Dragon and T.O.P, “Knock Out”
Full disclosure: I have a crush on 24-year-old T.O.P, who, according to the English site of his label YG Entertainment, is “the rapper and the actor of BIGBANG with attraction of weighty low-pitched sound” currently “occupying one axis of BIGBANG with strong mask and attractive voice.” Strong mask indeed!
G-Dragon appears to be the more popular of the two, though, which is unsurprising. His mask is cute rather than strong, and his goofy charm would obviously appeal to young girls. He also has managed to acquire at least some sense of autonomy in the K-pop machine: From what I’ve read, he’s able to actively collaborate with this project, which, if you paid attention when I was talking about miss A up there, you learned is not an easy feat.
Did I mention this is a Diplo-produced track? I think that if K-pop was to actually happen in the US that these two would be the best ambassadors.
G-Dragon and T.O.P, “Don’t Go Home”
And I really want K-pop to happen in the U.S. This is my favorite song. Not my favorite K-pop song, I think it’s my favorite song out of all the songs. It’s also my favorite music video, just because there is so much to unwrap! We’ve got their label presented as the Warner Brothers logo, their names presented as The Cosby Show opening credits, more comic book-/pop art-inspired asides, and even the goddamn Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster. And one of the English lyrics is “secret party!” I want to go to a secret party!
Well? Are you not entertained???