I always claim I am out of kpop, but I never really left. Limiting SHINee to three spots, here are top 10 singles sung by Korean artists that I have (embarrassingly) played the most this year. Note that this list is only based on play counts– if I were to do a top 10 based on my actual judgment, this following list would be very different.
10. Rum Pum Pum Pum, f(x): Finally, a girl group manages to crack my listening habits. f(x) shed most of the cute with Pinktape, and the result is a solid electro album.
9. Coffee Shop, CNBlue: Blame Lee Jonghyun. Nonetheless, the rest of the album was lackluster and sounded increasingly similar to their previous work. I am getting worried that CNBlue is running out of ideas.
8. Black Pearl, EXO-M: I panned XOXO when it came out, but I still kept it in my library. I rediscovered it this fall and have fallen in love since, and also gotten a lot angrier that some of these amazing ballads were not given to SHINee. Shawol through and through, eh? Nonetheless, EXO-M continues to surpass my expectations, and I think vocally (not counting the rapping) possesses the edge over EXO-K.
7. Tail of Hope, BoA: BoA’s Korean releases have been bores lately, hopefully she can come back with an upbeat track like Tail of Hope or perhaps another dance track.
6. Break Down, Super Junior M: Super Junior, the lords of the mindless dance tracks, i.e. the stuff I listen to when I do problem sets.
5. Growl, EXO-M: The most surprising song of the entire year, and most likely the best kpop single of the year.
4. Trap, Henry: I am a sucker for the piano instrumentals and Taemin sounds gorgeous. I reviewed it here.
3. Symptoms, SHINee: Sex personified in a song. Too bad it never comes out right on lives, more often than not because of Jonghyun. It really kills me.
2. Beautiful, SHINee: I played this more than Excuse Me Miss, and I am really puzzled.
1. Dream Girl, SHINee: One of the best produced tracks out of the SM masterminds. I said once before that Sherlock is the most representative of SHINee as a group out of all their singles. Considering only the vocals and instrumentals, it would have to be Dream Girl. Clean and sharp, without much other frills.