Many great tracks came out this year, some from established names, others from rookie groups and small companies. It was difficult to narrow down my expansive running list, but this should give you an idea of what excited me in K-pop in 2015 and what I’d like to see more of in the coming year.
In honor of their impending comeback, I wanted to share some of my favorite tracks from Infinite, the seven-member male group from Woollim Entertainment. Since their 2010 debut, Infinite has become best known for their intricate choreography and excellent synchronization, making their live performances some of my favorites in K-pop. The members have also done well outside of the main group, from leader Sunggyu’s solo work to the more hip-hop influenced Infinite-H unit composed of Hoya and Dongwoo, but it’s their material together that I enjoy most.
Narrowing this list to ten songs was extremely difficult; that’s how good SHINee’s music is. With each album, they become more enjoyable to listen to as their skills continue to improve and their music becomes more ambitious. A self-proclaimed “contemporary group,” SHINee is the epitome of versatility, floating from early 2000s teen pop to R&B ballads to complextro (a cousin of dubstep) with ease over the course of their career, and they get better and better with time.
The same is true onstage, where they are rightfully known for being some of K-pop’s most stellar live performers. Since their debut, audiences have seen SHINee grow from gangly teenagers to handsome men, and members have improved on skills they lacked when SHINee burst onto the scene in 2008. Taemin, who once had almost no singing lines, is now a powerful vocalist, Onew has proven himself as fully capable of keeping up with SHINee’s intense choreography, and their collective chemistry is something truly special (despite their past readiness to debunk the “brotherhood” image commonly conjured up by boyband marketers).
I could type pages upon pages about how wonderful SHINee is, but I should probably move on to the music. Here are some of my favorite SHINee songs:
For the second installment in the Favorites series, the featured group is Girls’ Generation, also known as SNSD (and abbreviation of their Korean name, romanized as So Nyuh Shi Dae). Girls’ Generation was one of the first K-pop groups whose music I encountered, and I became a K-pop fan primarily because of them. I was immediately hooked on their music, style, and dynamic, and they will always be my personal favorite girl group. Here’s a list of some of my favorite songs by one of K-pop’s biggest acts.
Welcome to the first entry in the Favorites series! The posts under this heading will be my personal favorite songs by a given artist or group. These aren’t necessarily a group’s best or most popular songs, but instead they are tracks that I listen to and personally join the most. Since this group is one of my favorites and all over the headlines recently, it seems appropriate to start with EXO. Here are ten EXO tracks that I can’t get enough of.