As is my custom, I have compiled a list based on my last.fm statistics: my most played kpop / jpop songs of 2014.
1. Overdose, EXO-M / EXO-K
The first by over 300 plays; definitely a track in which SM shows what it’s the best at doing. Simple, clean visually-oriented music videos with a non-offensive, catchy dance track. I discussed it briefly here.
2. Drawing the Line, Royal Pirates
Something about Moonchul’s voice, man. I haven’t heard its likeness in the kpop industry: delicate, wavering, sweet– very boy next door. I would love to hear him sing a lot more stripped down ballads that center around his especial vocal flavor. However, producers of Royal Pirates keep steering them in an “FT Island” direction, and it’s just not working (sorry, Seoul Hillbilly, sorry).
I originally drew attention to them here.
3. Fantastic, Henry
Henry was graced with another solo in 2014, and it was a good follow-up to his debut, though a little predictable (so we did the piano thing in Trap… now we gotta do, wait for it, the violin!). I vaguely remember meanly laughing at his lives because he still is a terrible scratchy and thin live singer. The rest of the album was okay, I wouldn’t skip it if it came on shuffle– but that’s the only time I listen to it– on shuffle.
4. Unravel, TK
2014 was an amazing year for anime; Unravel is from the opening sequence of Tokyo Ghoul. Its haunting falsetto fits the tone of the anime incredibly well, and by itself, is strangely beautiful and a style rarely heard.
5. Bring It Down, Daichi Miura
For the longest time, I thought the words said in the beginning were “porn star”, now I’m not so sure– it is Daichi, should probably give him the benefit of the doubt. Classic hard-hitting dance from Daichi, vertiginous, laced with vocal runs and dubstep dance breaks.
6. Dried Up Youthful Fame, OLDCODEX
Another opening from an anime, this time Free! Eternal Summer. The opening is actually sung by one of the voice actors (in particular, the one who plays Makoto Tachibana). It’s a lot more pop-rock than I usually listen to, but hey, I suppose if I love the anime, I must love the opening and closing tracks as well.
7. People in the Box, 聖者たち
This time, a closing song from Tokyo Ghoul. I’m surprised that I listened to it so much actually, since this downbeat track is a weird combination of mumbling-singing-talking, which sounds so unappealing even as I’m typing it.
8. Picasso, SHINee
I’d be embarrassed if SHINee released something this year and it wasn’t at least in the top 15. Reviewed here.
9. MAMACITA, Super Junior
One of the best releases by Super Junior, simply because it’s off-the-walls and openly embracing Super Junior’s reputation as a hyperactive and comedic group.
10. Experience, Taemin
Well, this is embarrassing. I actually like Experience a lot less than Ace, which didn’t even make the top 15. Blame it on all those days of statistical programming in which I’m concentrating so hard I even lose track of what I’m listening to. I think a few times I left Daichi’s Bring It Down on repeat and only realized it an hour later. Then made the same mistake again.
11. A Day Without You, Jonghyun & Chen of SM The Ballad
I’d be embarrassed if Jonghyun released something this year and it wasn’t at least in the top 15. Reviewed here.
12. 365, SHINee
Oh, look, another SHINee track. Reviewed here.
13. Spellbound, TVXQ
Not a fan of their tattoos nor their appropriation of Caucasian women. Nevertheless, a fun instrumental with creative choreography.
14. Danger, Taemin
If I was a bigger Taemin fan, I’d probably have been dying over Taemin’s solo debut. I realize I don’t give him as much credit as I should. He did well in 2014, and I’m excited to see
Jonghyun’s solo cream you in 2015 your further development in SHINee and solo activities this upcoming year.
15. Good Luck, BEAST
BEAST had a solid release in Time. Certainly not a revelation, but nice for a few listen-throughs.
In line with SM’s solo debuts, Zhoumi had his in Chinese and Korean; I highly enjoyed Rewind. Taemin’s Ace was likewise smooth and had me wishing it was a SHINee song instead, pairing with Symptoms. Surprisingly, I also listened to a good dose of SNSD’s Goodbye from MrMr. SM has been on top of their game in 2014, despite some scandals, and a Jonghyun solo first thing come 2015? Please have mercy.