The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? But in this instance it’s not so much a problem as a new passion. Throughout the pandemic and the lockdowns I’ve been really starting to get into J-Pop and K-Pop music. I had previously had a small interest in it a few years ago, but recently I’ve really stuck with it.
I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of the Japanese and Korean language is next to nil, but the feeling of the music can defy translation. As a critic, we’re often trying to look for the deeper meaning in the music, look for the metaphors of the lyrics and the context of the release. That’s not to say that K-pop and J-pop tracks are lacking depth, I’m merely saying that my lack of fluency in the language removes my ability to look for deeper meaning, and just ride the feeling of the song.
And if anything, it’s something I should be doing more often. Embracing the feeling, rather than the meaning. To that end, here’s my list of six K-pop and J-pop tracks that I’m really feeling at the moment (and maybe some hip hop tracks snuck their way in there as well!)
I’ve included them as Youtube links rather than Spotify links, as the choreography in some of these videos is so good it would be a waste not to include them!
BANG YE DAM – WAYO
A solo song from a member of the boy band Treasure, WAYO’s soft guitars and catchy, wistful vocals give way to a powerful beat and danceable finish.
LOONA – Star
The first girl group on this list, Star sounds like it would slot in nicely anywhere on the Top 40 – a driving beat and singable chorus mean that this one is bound to get stuck in your head.
RIP SLYME – 楽園ベイベー
Roughly translating to ‘Paradise Baby’, this track from hip-hop group RIP SLYME oozes summertime cool, sounding just as good by the pool as it does striding down the boulevard with this track blasting in your eyes.
Chelmico – COZY
Backed by a Sleaford Mods-esque beat, chelmico’s brand of hip hop is so earnest and becoming, you can’t help but bob your head and tap your feet to it.
Golden Child – One (Lucid Dream)
A bombastic opening gives way to a snappy bassline and tender yet melodic chorus, backed with strings and tender harmonies.
ITZY – WANNABE
This song has a chorus so catchy it needs a vaccine. Bright and poppy and instantly danceable, if you don’t immediately add this song to your liked songs list theres something wrong with you.
I’m always on the look out for new tracks to add to my K-Pop and J-Pop playlist below. Let me know if I’ve missed any of your favourites or any that need to be added!