My Mainstream Playlist 08/07/2018

Tuesday, August 07, 2018


My Mainstream Playlist is a recurring post that allows me to share my favourite songs over a period of few months, primarily of mainstream nature. Usually features recently released K-pop singles, but may occasionally also extend to drama OSTs and indie finds. Expect personal bias.


MAMAMOO - "Starry Night"

MAMAMOO released "Starry Night" back in March but I never got around to properly listening to it until summer arrived. So although I'm a bit late to the party, I do enjoy this song a lot. It's slower and more serious than the group's usual work, but still interesting both vocally and musically. While some of MAMAMOO's previous singles have focused more on showing off the members' vocal prowess, rather on a song's emotion, I'm glad that "Starry Night" doesn't sacrifice either and actually helps the girls to breathe more life into their peformances. 


MAMAMOO - "Egotistic"

MAMAMOO's newest single "Egotistic" is a clear winner. I love the Latin-inspired sounds and the general production of the song. While strong, sultry vocals are a given with this group, I am glad that they are put to good use in an irresistible chorus with a marvellous hook. Within a few listens of the song, I could already tell it would become one of my favourites of the whole year. I'm also very satisfied with the overall concept of this release, which tickles my fancy with tropical outfit designs and general summery warmth.


BTS - "Fake Love"

No playlist of mine is complete without BTS, even if the song in question was released already back in May. "Fake Love" isn't necessarily my favourite song from the group, but its got a solid chorus, emotional delivery and highly impressive choreography, which all combined create very exciting experience nonetheless. Only thing is that I do find myself reaching for some of BTS' lighter, more easy-going songs like "Airplane Pt. 2" or "Anpanman" off the same album when the dramatic moodiness of "Fake Love" is a bit much to listen on a beautiful summer day.



BTS (RM, Suga & J-Hope) - "Ddaeng"

I sometimes forget just how good BTS' rap line is but thankfully the boys have given me the perfect reminder. Co-produced by Suga, "Ddaeng" served as a gift to the fans ahead of the group's fifth anniversary. It mixes traditional with modern and cleverly references cultural in-jokes and idioms to create a response to anyone who's ever doubted or criticized the boys throughout their careers. While I love the song entirely, I am especially impressed with RM's part during which he brilliantly incorporates stuttering into his rap. All in all, this is one of those songs that I just grow to appreciate more with each listen.


Day6 - "Shoot Me"

Day6 is finally back to the youthful rockin' sound that I've so dearly missed. I was also a fan of their Japanese single "If (We Meet Again)", released back in March, but I like the more polished sound of "Shoot Me" even more. As much as I appreciated the band's last year's project Every Day6, I definitely noticed that they seemed to lose steam by the end of it. Thankfully, they're now back with the bold energy that I fell in love with and "Shoot Me" truly hits all the right notes as far as I'm concerned.


Red Velvet - "Power Up"

Last summer, Red Velvet released "Red Flavour", which is probably my favourite single from the group thus far. A year later, the girls are back with a new mini-album and its main track, which is meant to be a spiritual successor to "Red Flavour". Though this newest single "Power Up" does not surpass the group's last summer hit by any means, it definitely has a similarly catchy vibe and overall charm. I think it's going grow on me with every repeated listen, though I do admit to occasionally cheating on "Power Up" with "Hit That Drum" from the same album.


Red Velvet - "Cookie Jar"

Before I even knew to expect Red Velvet's Korean comeback this month, I was actually quite content with listening to their Japanese single "Cookie Jar", released in June. The song might seem as sugary as the title itself, but it's got a decent hook that despite the controversial use of a hashtag, is actually fairly addicting. Performed by another group like, say Twice, "Cookie Jar" could easily become irritatingly aegyo-heavy, but thankfully Red Velvet's vocals and overall musical style keeps the song balanced and enjoyable.


Seungri - "1, 2, 3!"

Seungri amuses me. He returns with a solo album titled The Great Seungri, which of course, and releases a music video where he is the star of his own musical. How very modest. This musical-inspired track is "1, 2, 3!", which despite being rather different from his previous solo releases is still very Seungri at the core. The catchy, pop-rocky vibe is perfectly suited for my personal tastes and it's impossible not to love the overall entertainment that the song and video deliver. It's cheesy fun, but I don't mind it at all. 


SHINee - "Our Page"

Although SHINee's latest comeback is, as The Bias List so perfectly puts it, tinged with sadness I'm wholly amazed by the group's ability to bounce back with grace and success. While I haven't gotten around to listening everything they've offered in their three part album The Story of Light, I've enjoyed the dreamy yet cohesive sound of both "Good Evening" and "I Want You". For this playlist, however, I've decided to choose the album's emotional conclusion "Our Page", which is as beautiful as it is powerful, deeply sorrowful yet also decidedly hopeful. While I can't listen to the song without aching a bit inside, I can't help but feel utterly grateful that it exists.


Hyo - "Sober"

I don't mean it in a bad way when I say that Hyoyeon's most recent solo single "Sober" has a very mainstream appeal. Since her previous solo endeavours have failed to stand out for the right reasons, I think it is a good sign that "Sober" delivers what most people want to listen to in the summer—a catchy dance track. While the song doesn't reinvent the wheel or anything, it's likable and easy to listen to, which is enough for me at the moment.


Seventeen - "Oh My!"

I admit I was a little bit disappointed that Seventeen didn't make their latest comeback with something louder and more powerful, which is something I've come to expect from them, but I can't complain too much because I do enjoy "Oh My!" in a different way. It's a more relaxing, sweeter track from the group, but nevertheless catchy and enjoyable. I find that the song sounds best in live performances, which give me a chance to see the full choreography and enjoy Seventeen's strong onstage presence.


Twice - "Dance the Night Away"

Ever since "Cheer Up" I've found it difficult to listen to Twice. I've come to terms with the fact that we'll never get another "Like Ooh Ahh" from the group, but I regret to say that "Dance the Night Away" is the first song I've liked from them in two whole years. This release didn't appeal to me immediately, but I got hooked on the chorus within a few listens and ended up realizing that I actually enjoy the song. I still have minor complaints like the overly cutesy delivery, but in general I think it works well as a summer hit.


N.Flying - "How R U Today"

N.Flying continues to impress me. While I've loved the silly humor of "The Real" and "Hot Potato" previously, I'm very happy that for their May release the idol band decided to go for something more mature and grounded. While "How R U Today" uses some well-incorporated tropical house influences during its verses, the chorus explodes into a louder, more rockish sound that is characteristic of the band's earlier discography. In the end, what we get is an interesting blend of genres that feels both moody and summery.


Dreamcatcher - "You and I"

Dreamcatcher might not be among my favourite K-pop groups, but I like how they continue to build upon their preferred musical style with each release. Much like their other singles, "You and I" has a distinctly Japanese sound but this horror-inspired dance rock style suits the group perfectly and I don't want them to ever change that for something more mainstream K-pop. "You and I" has an addicting hook and great vocals, which combined with the overall energy makes for a very enjoyable song that's unique in K-pop, yet consistent with Dreamcatcher's previous discography.


Minseo - "Zero"

I usually find it hard enough to keep up with the latest K-pop releases of my favourite groups that I don't always get around to lesser known artists such as my recent lucky discovery Minseo. Initially, I planned to cover the rookie singer's jazzy June release "Is Who" in this playlist, but at the last minute decided for her latest song "Zero" instead. Maybe the scenic music video, featuring two parkouring teenagers in a race until the end of the world, was what made me change my mind or maybe I just like the anime-opening-feel of the song, but "Zero" just appeals to me in a different way than any other song in this post, hopefully also adding some variety.


MOMOLAND - "BAAM"

I can't decide if I'm happy with MOMOLAND's latest release "Baam" or not. One the one hand, I am disappointed how obviously similar this single is to "Bboom Bboom", but on the other hand, I probably ended up liking it precisely because of those similarities. I suppose that although "Baam" doesn't show much artistic growth, I still can't deny that the fun dance track marks another success for the group. I will always prefer "Bboom Bboom" over "Baam" but damn if they both aren't catchy.


iKON - "Killing Me"

Believe it or not, but until now I haven't actually listened to a single iKON song. I'm familiar with Bobby and B.I through their other musical endeavours, yet not with the group as a whole. It's only by chance that I came upon their latest release "Killing Me" and for some reason I couldn't really get it out of my head. I'm not necessarily impressed with the song as the verses don't build up to anything and the chorus is just a beat drop, but as disjointed as "Killing Me" feels I find the performances in the song rather compelling. Also, the repetition of jukgetta becomes rather addictive after a while.

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