Following from the Best K-pop songs of 2019 Part 1, which ended with my favourite new group of the year, Hinapia, here’s the (highly anticipated, I’m sure) second and final part.
As with part 1, artists and groups mentioned on this list only have one entry each, regardless of how many of their songs I loved from this year. I’m looking at you, Mamamoo. There’s even another token boy group on the list, which will come as no surprise if you’ve read my favourite debuts of January to April post.
No big introduction for part 2, let’s get straight into the music.
Hwasa – Twit
I feel like I’m cheating including Hwasa‘s Twit, when I have Mamamoo (spoiler alert) further down the list too. But Twit is such a bop and Hwasa is a queen, so I’d feel even worse if I didn’t include it in my list. Twit is her solo debut too, so it technically doesn’t count as a Mamamoo song…
Anyway, I thought Twit was a great song upon first listen but enjoyed it even more once I knew what it was about. Basically, it’s about a guy that does anything for her and she thinks he’s a “twit”, but eventually loses him and wants him back.
Hwasa is the true sass queen of K-pop and it was after listening to Twit that I got into Mamamoo. I know Wheein had a solo this year too, but I hope Hwasa gets to have another solo soon too.
Itzy – Icy
If it’s possible, I was even more excited for Icy than I was Itzy‘s debut, Dalla Dalla. I think it’s because I knew what they were capable of, was already obsessed with them and was desperate for another (hopefully physical) release. It’s safe to say Icy did not disappoint.
The MV is young, fresh, colourful and the song seems like a perfect evolution from Dalla Dalla. I am not ashamed to say I spent a few hours learning the choreo to the chorus, but the dance break kills me every time I watch it.
According to Spotify, Dalla Dalla was my most played song of 2019, which surprised me. As soon as Icy was released I played it on repeat. Both songs are regular go-to picks for me, though, as are Want It (from It’z Different) and It’z Summer (from It’z Icy).
What made the release of It’z Icy even more exciting for me was that it had a physical release and with two different versions. I pre-ordered one of each version straight away, and have since added two more It’z versions – one signed by Yuna and the other by Chaeryeong.
Mamamoo – Hip
As I mentioned in Hwasa’s entry, I’m seriously into Mamamoo now. This year they’ve been on fire, with Gogobebe, Gleam and now Hip. I’m still obsessed with Gogobebe and Gleam (hello, obsessed with how good an ad for sunglasses could be!?), but Hip takes things to a new level.
I loved the promotion for it, with the different versions of each member. I feel Mamamoo have the perfect level of individuality with each member, while still being cohesive as a group. My bias changes from day to day too.
Hwasa, obviously, is my queen, and when I got her lenticular card in my Reality in Black album I was over the moon. Solar is beautiful and so is her voice. Moonbyul is the epitome of cool. And Wheein really shone in the Hip era, and I’m obsessed with her blue hair.
Onto Hip, though, the song itself is almost annoyingly catchy – if Mamamoo could ever annoy me, of course. I notice new things in the video with every watch, and the live performances have all been incredible. Especially their performance at MAMA 2019.
While I hope the girls get a few months’ break, I’m eager to see what they do in 2020.
Momoland – I’m So Hot
It kind of makes me sad to include Momoland in the list, considering they’re now (officially) down to seven members from nine, after Yeonwoo and Taeha left recently. The status of Daisy is still a mystery too, though it’s been reported that the group will have a comeback as just six at the end of December. I am looking forward to it, but I worry it could be their last, and I love JooE and Nancy, so I have majorly mixed feelings about if they disbanded.
Anyway. Onto a positive note. I got into Momoland after they released Baam, and I fell in love with Bboom Bboom as well. When I’m So Hot was announced I was concerned it would be a different sound and that I wouldn’t enjoy it. Luckily, it stuck with the catchy, almost obnoxious, music and simple chorus lyrics and dance. I’m So Hot is a great gym song, as are Baam and Bboom Bboom.
The MV is also visually stunning, and I love JooE’s hair dark and multicoloured – though not as much as pink from the Baam era. She’s back to blonde currently, judging from her recent Instagram uploads, which makes me think I’ll enjoy whatever new era their next comeback brings, too.
Oneus – Valkyrie
I actually already included Valkyrie on my favourite debuts of of January to March, but it’s my favourite release from Oneus this year. I also love Twilight, but didn’t get into Lit on the first listen like I did their previous two releases. Lit has quite a different sound than what I enjoyed in Valkyrie and Twilight. It’s still a good song, but not the Oneus I fell in love with.
Valkyrie was such a good debut song, with a cool concept, sound and choreography. I really enjoy the different voices of the members too. I think I could easily stan Oneus if I let myself really get into boy groups, but I haven’t yet.
With a debut and two comebacks under their belt in 2019, as well as a US tour, I can see them having a great year in 2020. Hopefully a UK – or at least London – tour date too.
Rocket Punch – Bim Bam Bum
Another group to debut in 2019, Rocket Punch got off to a great start with Bim Bam Bum. It doesn’t have the feel of a debut at all, with strong vocals, visuals, a stunning MV and intricate choreography and unexpected key changes.
Their mini-album, Pink Punch, is a great first offering, with Love Is Over a perfect B-side to Bim Bam Bum. It shows these girls can do cute or girl crush concepts, so I can’t wait to see which direction they go in 2020.
The MV is exactly what I like in a K-pop MV too – colour, colour and more colour. There’s glitter, sequins, neon lights and lots of effects.
Saturday – BByong
Like Momoland, Saturday have had a bit of a line-up change throughout 2019. Also like Momoland, Saturday go down the catch melody and fun chorus route. It works though, even if it isn’t quite as polished and put together as Momoland.
February’s release of Wi-Fi was immediately added to my playlist and I listened to it to death. When they started promoting the song again on music shows I was confused, but then realised their line-up had changed and the promotions were crowdfunded. I think that’s what made me excited for their next comeback too, the fact they knew the fans were wanting more.
Of course, before BByong, two more members left, meaning they were down to just five. I think being a smaller group allows each member to shine more, though. It also means the company has less to spend on wardrobe and other factors, which I’m sure all plays a part in how often they have a comeback.
Somi – Birthday
Somi‘s debut was easily the thing I was most excited for this year. After falling in love with her from her I.O.I days, I was dying to hear her solo music. When she joined The Black Label, part of YG, I was even more excited, seeing as she’d be linked to Blackpink. I should have known that would mean I’d be waiting ages for Somi to debut, though.
When she eventually did, Birthday wasn’t what I was expecting, but I loved it from the first listen. It fits her image perfectly – young, fun, exciting. Birthday is a seriously strong debut, though given her experience on Produce 101 and in I.O.I, I wouldn’t have expected her to do anything less than burst onto the scene.
I have no doubt she will continue her momentum, but I am still holding out for that rumoured I.O.I reunion, too.
Stray Kids – Miroh
It turns out I like more boy groups than I think I do, but with good reason. Stray Kids, from the same company as Twice, have such an edgy, cool vibe that it’s difficult not to enjoy their music. This year they’ve released Miroh, Side Effects and, most recently, Double Knot. Miroh is the one I’ve consistently gone back to though, which is what earns it a spot on my list.
I could listen to the chorus continuously, with the heavy beat that it’s difficult not to dance along to. The thing about Miroh I really enjoy is the wardrobe in the MV. If you haven’t already been able to tell, I’m a big fan of colour, and the MV is full of neon shades. A big win, in my book.
Sadly, Woojin left the group in October, and Han is currently not promoting with them due to his anxiety. Hopefully JYP will continue to support the guys and Han will be feel better, but it’s definitely a worrying pattern in K-pop.
Sunmi – Lalalay
Sunmi doesn’t have the vibe of K-pop I usually go for. Admittedly, Gashina was one of the first K-pop songs I listened to and enjoyed, I didn’t rush to keep up with her releases because I prefer the more bubblegum or girl crush side to the genre.
But I gave Lalalay a chance and I’m so glad I did. Sunmi’s voice is beautiful and I love that she doesn’t take herself seriously. The song is about not caring what other people think or say about her. It’s empowering and much deeper than K-pop usually is, and the MV tells a story. Even though people are talking about her and making fun of her, they eventually start copying her.
Twice – Fancy
You can’t call yourself a K-pop fan if you don’t love Fancy and have at least attempted to learn the choreo. Fancy took Twice in a new direction, away from the cute concept and into something more mature. I was a fan of Twice before Fancy, but now I’m a FAN. They also released Feel Special in 2019, as well as a Japanese comeback. I love Feel Special, but I prefer the album tracks Get Loud and Trick It, to be honest. There was no competition in terms of what got a spot on my favourites list, though. It had to be Fancy.
The song is fun and, while it’s still clearly Twice, shows a different side to the girls. The dance routine to the chorus has probably been the most popular choreography of 2019 and I’ve seen countless memes featuring it on Twitter.
The album tracks on Fancy You were also great, such as Girls Like Us, which Charli XCX and MNEK worked on.
Weki Meki – Picky Picky
I casually listened to Weki Meki before Picky Picky, as I had Crush and La La La on my playlist. But Picky Picky really got me hooked on them – even if it was just for this one release. I didn’t enjoy Tiki-Taka(99%) as much, but I am interested to see how much I like their future releases.
Picky Picky really builds as it moves from verse to bridge to chorus and, unlike some K-pop songs, they each flow well into each other. I’ve listened to this song on repeat, thanks to the dance practise video, and I’m still not bored of it.