the best of kpop 2021 thus far

We’re so close to the end of the year… 2022 is only one month away!

As such, I’ve brought it upon myself to bring the sequel to my ‘best of kpop 2021 so far‘ list and add fifteen new songs as contenders for the overall ranking of the ‘best kpop 2021 songs’.

It really has been a journey in K-pop! A lot of debuts, some surprise comebacks, different tie-ins, and title tracks up the wazoo. 2021 has, thus far, been a very good year in K-pop, so it was really hard to find 15 songs that I thought deserved the title… there were just too many!

So, without further ado, here are the fifteen songs I’ve thought were the best in K-pop during the year!

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the best of jpop 2021 thus far

Here we are folks, we are at the sequel stage of 2021’s very best of Japanese pop in 2021. Surprisingly, my last post, “the best of jpop 2021 so far”, received an incredibly slow but warm welcome, to the point where I got inspired to share more songs that have been on my radar from 2021.

Let me tell you, it has been a journey! I ended up listening to way more Japanese pop music in 2021 than I ever did over the last five years, so this is saying a lot for the current state of the Japanese music scene.

So… without further ado, here are the best J-pop songs of 2021 up until the end of November!

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mini-album review: Billlie “the Billage of perception : chapter one”

New girl group alert!

Billlie is one of the new girls groups formed in 2021, formed under entertainment company Mystic Story. I recall that there was some hype with the group, having been previously known as Mystic Rookies, with anticipated members Moon Sua (well known for being part of ‘Future 2NE1’), Takeuchi Miyu (of both AKB48 and Produce 48 fame), and Produce 101/MIXNINE participants Lee Soo Min and Kim Su Hyeon. Finally, in 2021, its members were revealed, minus Miyu and Soo Min.

Billlie, despite its odd spelling, introduces themselves with a very creepy, almost horror-like concept that could very well be treading into Dreamcatcher territory. One has to wonder if they’ve executed it well with their first mini “the Billage of perception : chapter one“. Is this Billage one with great perception, or are we closing the book on this group at their first attempt? Let’s see!

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single review: Jessi “Cold Blooded”

There were two things in Korean media in the year 2021 that really made a name for themselves: the first was the fiery competition of Street Woman Fighter, the Mnet program that pinned professional female dance groups against each other to determine the fiercest of all-women dance troupes; the second was Korean rapper Jessi, famous for being an Unpretty Rapstar, entering the variety market and turning herself into the queen of South Korean variety.

So, it was only fair that we would see the two influential figures meet in the middle for a red-hot collaboration to promote Street Woman Fighter and Jessi all at the same time. The top crews of SWF would go on to gain a slot within the music video for the collaboration, known as “Cold Blooded“, and serves as a platform to display the crews’ extraordinary talents.

As for the track itself, is it cold-blooded? Or are we just listening to something that’s only just lukewarm? Was this a meant-to-be collaboration? Let’s take a listen.

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single review: Girls Planet 999 “Creation Mission”

Have you been watching Girls Planet 999?

You might remember how Korean TV network Mnet had the Produce series out for a significant chunk of K-pop’s current era, and yes, they faced a lot of controversies; the biggest of them being that each season was RIGGED (you saw that correctly). However, that might not be the case here, considering all eyes who are watching the program have Mnet on a leash. Dressed under a new name, Girls Planet 999 aims to create a new girl group meant to promote globally with Korean, Japanese, and Chinese members, and it’s basically Produce’s fifth season.

So it comes as no surprise to anyone who’d been following Produce that a slew of new tracks would be coming to further promote the trainees; this time, they are under the single title “Creation Mission“, compiling the four tracks performed by the remaining trainees in sets of 5 and 7. Will each song prove to be worthy of your vote or will you turn off the TV with these tracks? Read on!

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single review: TWICE “The Feels”

Did anyone see this coming?

TWICE makes their return following the summery title song of “Alcohol-Free” with their very first fully English-single “The Feels“, marking this moment in time to be TWICE’s foray into the Western market.

With the current world enthralled by Korean acts and media such as BTS, BLACKPINK, Squid Game, and Parasite, it makes sense for JYP Entertainment’s hugely popular 9-member girl group to finally step in those waters, even if they’re already household names in the Western hemisphere. The girls look to keep their momentum going and challenge themselves to fully have ONCEs sing along with them, and from what I can tell, it could be a formidable effort.

That said, is this single guaranteed to give you the feels, or are we in dated territory with a title like this? Let’s check it out!

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mini-album review: aespa “Savage”

aespa returns!

The four-member group (or eight-member, if we’re going by the group’s formalities) from the ever-popular SM Entertainment umbrella has made waves in the K-pop scene with their third single “Next Level”, reaching heights as the new hot 4th generation girl group. So, when the announcement for a mini-album comeback (this being their first) came along months later, the hype was real: will this follow “Next Level” in its footsteps to securing aespa’s fame?

With a mini-album and a title track titled “Savage“, you know aespa isn’t coming to play around with the next comeback. So, it’s here we have to ask: is this on the “Next Level” for the girls or is this not on the same “Savage” level as Megan Thee Stallion? I kid, but we have to wonder how savage this could be… read on!

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album review: Perfume “Triangle”

As I mentioned previously in some recent posts, I am getting back to finishing up a lot of backlogged reviews. Just recently, I finished reviewing three singles from Perfume’s catalog from 2008 to 2009, them being “love the world”, “Dream Fighter”, and “One Room Disco”. These three singles lead up to the studio album release of “⊿”, otherwise known as “Triangle”.

” is the second studio album release from electropop sensations Perfume, a trio of girls produced by famous electronica composer Nakata Yasutaka of CAPSULE. Having secured their status as a prominent force in Japanese pop with the release of their first-ever original studio album “GAME” in 2008, all eyes were on the girls for the follow-up sophomore album and interest developed on what sound it would tackle, especially with its three preceding singles having very unique sounds when compared.

With “⊿”, Nakata was going through a rebranding of his sound on his own right, and if you listen carefully to this album, you might just hear those influences bleeding into his works with Perfume. One has to wonder if this experimenting into what almost seems like an exploration into the 80s will shape this triangle to its right angles… the only way to find out is to take off into the night…

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single review: Perfume “One Room Disco”

Since Perfume has made a stellar comeback with their “Polygon Wave EP” release just only days prior, I’ve gotten into a huge Perfume kick. It’s here that I realized I haven’t actually finished a lot of my Perfume reviews! And as a treat for my return to blogging after a few months, I decided to return to taking a look at their releases.

First up is the final single for their Triangle album, “One Room Disco“. Having already reviewed two of the three singles for their second album, I believe it’s high time we take a look into this release, which takes listeners into the journey of living independently, usually in places known as ‘one-rooms’ in Japan. It’s an interesting concept that takes a left-field from the more futuristic efforts the girls had released prior. However, will the foray into more pop and more present territory fare well for this disco, or is there not enough room for this ‘one-room’ to disco?

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