Happy 2016! It's been a long time since we've last talked about KPOP so let's get cracking, shall we?
CL - "HELLO BITCHES"
With every day that passes, Scooter Braun and CL herself try again to remind us all that an American release is coming. 2NE1 reunited as a four-piece recently at a Korean award show but all the reunion was within a solo CL performance that included this song -- a hype track for her upcoming American "debut". Even Justin Bieber was tweeting about it to help spread the word. It's catchy, sure, but also tirelessly repetitive and doesn't bode well for this whole "I fear they might try and turn her into the Korean Iggy Azalea". Hmmm.
Speaking of ferocious, bad ass, four-piece girl groups, f(x) returned to the scene a few months back with a stellar album that was yet another step in their awesome maturation. "Rude Love" and "Papi" also saw a lot of spins on my end but the house bop single "4Walls" was a second strong bow by SM Entertainment toward being trendy without trying too hard (the first being SHINee's "View").
BROWN EYED GIRLS - "WARM HOLE"
Nope, it's not a typo. The song is really called "Warm Hole". These ladies might be literally the only ones in the current KPOP scene who can somehow swing something this blatant and be praised for their ingenuity. Good on 'em.
Whether or not you're into K-RAP or not, BTS is smashing it left and right.
VIXX - "CHAINED UP"
On the surface, I really shouldn't like this -- mostly because it sounds like a bootleg version of EXO's "Mama" through a 90's teen pop filter, executed with a 50 Shades of Grey concept. But it's so damn catchy.
The same could be said here. If I could only get this gibberish earworm out of my head -- months later, it still lives within me. Sure, it's kind of the epitome of throw-away KPOP at its best and shiniest (those poor girls with those terrible wigs and outfits) but damn, it's done well.
When it comes to new girl groups to stan for 2016, the ladies of TWICE might just be our girls. Brought to us by the same folks who gave us the Wonder Girls, 2AM, and 2PM, this nine-membered JYP girl group (age 16 to 20) is out to give Girls' Generation some competition with a hidden attack up their cute sleeves: three members are from Japan and one is from Taiwan. Not unlike the gals from MAMAMOO or EXID, TWICE is striking for their charisma and general likability. Try watching "Like Ooh Ahh" and not choosing a favorite or three. They aren't afraid to act a little silly while still killing it with the choreo with a strong debut song to boot. They are setting the bar high. I can't wait to see what's next.