mini-album review: Kep1er “FIRST IMPACT”

Where are all my Girls Planet 999 fans at?

If you recall previously at the tail end of 2021, Mnet unleashed a new survival reality TV series known as Girls Planet 999, which is just a Produce 101 program with a fresh coat of paint (to hide all the drama of 2019). After several episodes, the girl group Kep1er was formed, with a lineup that had everyone talking.

After a bump in the release schedule thanks to COVID’s evolving forms, Kep1er finally makes their debut in the new year with “FIRST IMPACT“, a mini-album that might have you wa-da-da-ing with your mvsk off… but is the mini-album going to make you see the light on Kep1er? Let’s take a look…

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the best of kpop 2021

Lo and behold! We are here!

Let’s put it short and simple: this is MY list of the best Korean pop songs of the year. What a year, though! While we are still on uncertain times, 2021 proved to be a period of refresh, with South Korean acts pumping out comebacks that were unique and fresh, debuts coming in left and right (with many more to come in 2022), and BTS continuing to dominate the world as we know it.

We’re going to take a look back at the fifteen of the year’s efforts, and yes, they are ranked. So, without further ado…

Here is my list of the best K-pop songs from 2021!

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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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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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mini-album review: STAYC “STEREOTYPE”

STAYC, girls, it’s going down, again!

6-member K-pop girl group STAYC, from High Up Entertainment, returns with their very first mini-album, ‘STEREOTYPE‘. The release comes after the release of their first 2021 release ‘STAYDOM’, which features the viral hit “ASAP”, propelling the girls to success. All eyes have now landed on STAYC for the next future releases, giving them the distinction of being one of the top fourth-generation groups to come from South Korea.

With this being their first mini-album, there is more to offer from STAYC following “ASAP”. This time, opting for a high school-like aesthetic that has Clueless vibes written all over it, STAYC returns with the title track “STEREOTYPE”. It’s time for this former high schooler to go back in time with STAYC’s third comeback and ask if this release is bound to break the stereotypes that STAYC must face with this concept and their status as rookies – will it succeed, or will it fail to be unique amongst its peers?

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