When I first wrote about IV of Spades last year, I was already a bit behind on the curve. But then bigger things were just coming for them: the release of “Mundo” catapulted the four-piece to crossover success, their song acceptably playing in both indie kids’ Spotify playlists and masa radio stations. But then, even bigger things happened: vocalist Unique Salonga suddenly left the band – well, not suddenly, because there were weeks of arguable drama, which saw the band’s three remaining members continue to perform before an official departure was announced in the middle of the night – and suddenly, we have two entities, creating music separately. Today, both the new IV of Spades and Unique released new singles, and because we love ourselves traction, we’re pitting the two up against each other.
First, an update from an entry we wrote three months ago: Momoland’s “Bboom Bboom” has become a legitimate hit. (Just when I got cautious in making that prediction.) It never quite topped the official Gaon charts (they were held off by Ikon) but it lingered in the top ten for months. And, in a scene where songs have a relatively short lifespan, it finds itself stretching its arms out around the world, a feat usually reserved for groups from bigger agencies. I’ve just seen two cousins of mine, who’d otherwise not post about K-pop, talk about how “Bboom Bboom” is stuck in their heads – and they’re just among many others on my feeds. So, we’re reacting to that by featuring five songs from famed Korean producer Shinsadong Tiger, he who’s responsible for that earworm – and many others across this wave of K-pop success.
Shy Shy Shy is Astrid Cordes and Simon Kjeldegaard, a duo from Denmark who have subverted our expectations of Scandinavian indie pop with a synth-powered mix of awkwardness and confidence. We’ve been writing about them for the past three years or so, across which we’ve seen them push their boundaries while keeping that sense of fun. This Friday they release their debut full-length, Make Up, and to make the occasion we’ve dusted off this feature and asked them about the five songs they can’t live without. It’s not entirely synth-powered.
Here’s more proof that I am starting to fall by the wayside, at least when it comes to listening to the songs I’m apparently supposed to listen to and like, here’s a relatively pop-centric list of my ten favorite songs for 2017. I attribute it to the fact that I may have listened more to my K-pop library this year (it does have some therapeutic claims) and that things seem to blend with each other more this year than in previous years. In a way, it’s a good thing: finally, some parity between the slickly produced and the more down-to-earth ones. But some will say this is me selling out. Nah, nobody is saying that. Nobody cares about this thing, yes? But we have to put it out, like everybody else, so here, in alphabetical order, are my ten favorite songs of the year. [NB]