Top Tens: Kris Reviews K-Pop #38: Best of K-Pop 2016 (100th Post Special)



Hey guys, it’s your girl KrisSimsters and welcome to my 100th post!! Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally at 100 posts on this blog. And to celebrate my hard work (regardless of issues along the way), we’re going to talk K-Pop 2016. K-Pop is the thing I’ve been dedicated to the most in my late-teens to now, I’ve been listening to K-Pop for seven years now and through the two blogs I used to have and this one I have now, I’ve been reviewing K-Pop for a good four years. This year hasn’t been the greatest, but after working on this list and writing it out ever since December hit, I’ve decided to give you my favorite songs in K-Pop 2016. Now of course, there is some criteria that I’m going to go over before we get started:

My Rules:

  • My List, My Opinions: This is my list, I had no help in this list. Every song on this list is songs that I have particularly chosen after listening to them for the past twelve months. Even if I critic them, it’s still one of my favorite songs.
  • Boy Groups and Girl Groups Count: I did not have time to make two posts (one dedicated to the boys and one dedicated to the girls) so this list is combined. I will be talking about boy groups, and then girl groups.
  • No SM Station Songs: I realize that SM Station has played a huge part of this year and I do have some SM Station favorites, but I’d rather talk about them in 2017 after the last SM Station songs have been released.
  • No BIGBANG: By the time this list is out, BIGBANG will be promoting. All the groups I’ve mentioned have already finished promoting and their songs have been out for a while, some narrowly making the cut because they came out in November and that’s my stopping point. I have already written a review for BIGBANG that you can read that here.

That’s it for my rules, so let’s talk about K-Pop 2016, shall we?


Top Tens: Kris Reviews K-Pop #38: Best of K-Pop 2016:

Boy Groups:

10). 24K-Still 24K (Release Date: August 10th. Overall Views: 1,554,855):

Man its sad that a song like this gets this many views. Still one of my favorite songs of 2016, 24K’s Still 24K has such a badass M/V feel to it that I honestly believe that B.A.P got their idea for Skydive by watching this and One Shot over and over again. It might not be the best K-Pop M/V, especially because of what I got later on in the year, but it’s still enjoyable. They spent a lot of time on this and I want to at least acknowledge it once more before the year ended.


9). Jun K. (2PM)-Think About You (Release Date August 8th. Overall Views: 2, 705, 552):

Damn that beat drop, I just love it. It’s like orgasmic. The song starts out slow and then the beat drops and your like, “where have you been all my life.” Just like with 24K, while I love this song, it wasn’t that popular with the Korean audience and it only has around 2,700,000 views on YouTube. I hope it does better longevity-wise, but for it’ll have to stay at the 9th spot on this list.


8). Lay (EXO)-Lose Control (Release Date: October 27th. Overall Views: 4,500,832):

This song is so good!! Technically it’s not K-Pop, it’s C-Pop (Chinese Pop) so it’s the only reason why this song is at #8. This is actually one of my favorite songs of the year and while it did technically show up on SM’s YouTube channel as a K-Pop song, it is a C-Pop song. The M/V to this song is gorgeous and Lay’s dancing is probably some of the best dancing I’ve seen all year. This is a good song, but it’s not a K-Pop song and I’m not doing an honorable mentions section. This list will be pretty long as it is and I don’t want to add more than necessary.


7). WINNER-Baby Baby (Release Date: January 31st. Overall Views: 9,601,417):

I hate that WINNER disbanded for two reasons. Reason one, we will never get the rest of the EXIT album as five and two, we will never get to hear WINNER as five. This is a damn good song, it’s one of the many reasons why I love WINNER and I hope that they can have this same sound even after Nam Taehyun has left. The only downside is that they this and Sentimental are the only songs we got out of them as a whole group in 2016. We didn’t get the rest of EXIT, but we got a Nam Taehyun solo that I will forever love and Mino released Body, which I will talk about below.


6). MINO (WINNER)-Body (Release Date: September 7th. Overall Views: 10,887,646):

This was honestly the best thing that came out of the MOBB sub-unit between iKON’s Bobby and WINNER’s Mino. When Mino’s by himself, he releases the best song. I’m Him is still one of my favorite rap songs and I still love all his songs (solo or paired up) from his season on Show me the Money. The only downside I have to this is that it took a while for the views to build up because MOBB got hardly any promotion and Mino sung this song live at least once. So while I think this M/V is good, I just wish it had been a Mino solo instead of a contribution to the failed MOBB.


5). Monsta X ft. Wheein (MAMAMOO)-Ex Girl (The Clan Part 1. Album Release Date: May 18th):

In the year of 2016, I loved a lot of side tracks and this was one of my favorites. I honestly almost wish that this had an M/V to it, they promoted it along with their title track. The good songs are always underappreciated and this one is no exception. Honestly though, I love all of Monsta X’s side tracks, especially Queen. Those two are my favorites.


4). SHINee-1 of 1 (Release Date: October 4th. Overall Views: 5,867,052):

If I could list my top ten SHINee songs, this woul definitely be on the list. The beat is easily the best thing about this song, the actual M/V not that far behind. The song itself takes me back to the 90s and I’m glad it was their intention. If there was one thing I didn’t like about this M/V, it was that Onew couldn’t be in the full final product and that he missed out on some promotion time, but only because he injured himself sometime before the M/V was released. Honestly, it wouldn’t be a SHINee comeback without a member injuring himself. Other than that, it was a good song and I loved listening to it.


3). Mad Clown ft. Lee Hae Ri (Davichi)-Lie (Release Date: November 24th. Overall Views: 1,305,405):

Why doesn’t this song have more views?! I don’t get it, it’s a great song and it’s from Mad Clown, so why doesn’t it have more love? Is it because he didn’t promote it? Did he release it too late in the year when K-Pop fans only cares about winter songs? That being said, this is a damn good song.

The beat jumps at you and the chorus is catchy. Lee Hae Ri’s voice is beautifully matched to Mad Clown’s rapping–even though I personally think Hyorin would have made a better partner seeing as though they worked before–and if you watched the YouTube channel, Kream Kulture, then you might be familiar to the two actors who plays the couple in the M/V. I haven’t watched it lately so it took me a while to recognize them. Either way, this is a good song to play when your angry, just like Without You was a good song to listen to when you were upset.


2). BTS-WINGS (Album Release Date: October 10th):

I’m not going to lie, I had EXO in this spot originally because I love Monster so much, but when I thought about it over during Christmas Day, I realized I wanted to be a little different with this list, which is why I choose BTS’ Wings. Don’t get me wrong, I love both EXO and BTS, and again, I don’t hate any of songs on this list, but when it comes down to it…this was more BTS’ year than EXO’s.

BTS had an amazing year, from their first M/V of their year to their last, from their mini album to their full, I have loved every BTS song in 2016. And then Wings comes out and every song is amazing. From their title track Blood, Sweat, and Tears to my favorite song off the album, Suga’s First Love, I loved every BTS song. I just wish that J-Hope could have released Boy Meets Evil as a full song instead of just the intro and as always, the Cypher is just amazing…Part 4 was just as mind-blowing as the rest of the album. BTS had a really good year, but my #1 has finally made their comeback.


1). B.A.P-NOIR (Album Release Date: November 7th):

B.A.P releasing Noir was probably the best thing that happened to them in 2016, everything else after the TS Entertainment lawsuit was not their best work. When I first started liking B.A.P, I liked how hardcore they were. EXO was on the rise and B.A.P were there to fight, making them the perfect rivals. And after they tried to sue TS and lost, I felt like a part of them had lost their spunk and their songs showed it. Wild, Young. and Free kept me entrained for a while, but after that…their songs kinda sunk. Feels So Good and That’s my Jam weren’t my favorite tracks and it seemed like BAP would never get their old grove back…and then Noir comes out.

The main thing that drew me to Noir was definitely it’s title track, Skydive. Yes, their M/V is like a grown up version of One Shot with one, clear ending, betrayal between the members, and all the guns and violence, but I still liked the song. The M/V and song fits perfectly and not many songs in 2016 has done that. The album is great too, just like with BTS and Wings, I love every song on the album, I have listened to Guess I Need U more than enough to determine its my favorite song on the album. The other songs aren’t bad either, I see the work B.A.P has put into this album and it felt like their debut again. I felt like 1004 (Angel), which was their last song before the lawsuit. It felt like B.A.P and it has made me really proud of them.


Girl Groups:

10). MAMAMOO-Décalcomanie (Release Date: November 7th. Overall Views: 8,106,685):

Now that we’ve finished with the boy groups, we can move onto the girls’ section, which makes my job a little harder. I guess if I have to start somewhere, then I guess I can start with MAMAMOO. I honestly don’t know what happened in 2016, but I did not like any of their songs as much as I did last year. The one I did like better though was Décalcomaine, which was better than You’re the Best and New York.

Yes, the M/V is confusing as hell…it made it more confusing with them switching songs right in the middle going from Décalcomaine to their other good song, Memory–which is basically a Christmas song–and then the kissing scenes…yeah, this M/V has a story and it matches the song, but it’s confusing to get on the first try. That being said, regardless of how I feel towards the M/V, the song is good. It’s upbeat and MAMAMOO excels vocally. It still makes my list, they just won’t be as high as I want them to be.


9). Bulldok-Why Not (Release Date: October 20th. Overall Views: 1,596,603):

I expected a lot of girl groups to form this year, especially with the help of MNET’s Produce 101, the survival show that with the help of the nation (Korean and international), picked the top 11 girls to form the group, I.O.I. While I’ll probably talk about I.O.I later in this list, I want to talk about one of the groups that has formed after the show aired, Bulldok. Their song is good, I liked it more than I should have, mainly because it reminds me of old girl groups such as Evol, D Unit, G.I, groups that were forgotten and disbanded much sooner. This song is one of my favorites and I wish this group well. I hope KCONIC does well with this group and I hope they won’t get left behind in 2017.


8). Jeon Soyeon & Nada-Scary (Unpretty Rapstar Vol. 3. Album Release: Varies):

Despite my feelings towards the drama side of my favorite summer show, Unpretty Rapstar, the songs on the show are some of my favorites. From cyphers that range from introductions to determine who’s eliminated and fighting for a spot on the volume’s album, I love most of the songs that female rappers release throughout the show. My favorite song from this season happens to be Scary rapped by Jeon Soyeon.

nother Produce 101 contestant who made the rightful switch to Unpretty Rapstar, Jeon Soyeon became my favorite trainee of 2016. Her charisma alone is fantastic and her rapping skills are really good. I hope she gets some solo work in 2017 because it would be a bad idea for CUBE to waste her talent. As for the song, I liked it more when it was just Soyeon. Don’t get me wrong, I love this song but Nada just doesn’t fit the song. She’s not Scary enough.


7). 4MINUTE-Hate (Release Date: January 31st. Overall Views: 33,077,791):

Being the last title track sung by 4MINUTE before their disbandment in summer 2016, Hate isn’t a song I hate. Yes, it did leave 4MINUTE in a fucked up situation, either win with this song or disband, the song and M/V wasn’t bad overall. If I have to say anything about this song, it’s just that it was the wrong song from them. As somebody who usually loves 4MINUTE’s title tracks, I honestly believe that this is better as a B-side. If you want a real good title track that means do or die, then CUBE should have gone with Blind. Man that song is just perfect. But Hate isn’t a bad song. Sadly, it just wasn’t as great as 4MINUTE hoped it would be.


6). I.O.I-Whatta Man (Release Date: August 8th. Overall Views: 26,022,969):

So yeah, lets talk about Produce 101 for a bit because I love backstory. Produce 101 was a Korean survival show–thanks MNET–and premiered in January. From that show, eleven girls were choose to be apart of the nation’s girl group I.O.I. Then in the summer, they decided to do a subunit of seven girls and even though I might have had gripes with the song–and that Somi’s still sixteen, but she looks 22–I actually like the song. When it’s just the seven of them, they move more fluently than they do at 11. I think this is mostly why so many people liked it, besides the fact that the song was good. I’m still not comfortable watching the M/V…Somi–my bias member–is still 16.


5). EXID-Lie (Release Date: May 31st. Overall Views: 26,134,812):

EXID’s Lie was actually a sneaker hit. I didn’t like it at first when it came out, but I changed my mind in a week or two. It’s a good song, but like all of EXID’s songs since Up & Down, they follow a particular pattern. A pattern in which Hani and L.E. get the most amount of lines while Solji, Hyerin, and Junghwa are barely in the song. This bothers me, but it doesn’t get under my skin like it does some fans. What does get under my skin, is that while I like this song–which is why it’s on this list–I don’t like how there is no real dance to it.

Or there’s a dance but Junghwa is the only one who can do it properly? This irked me so much during promotions!! I kinda hated how the other four would leave the stage for five seconds only to come back and do this half-assed dance. Saying this song doesn’t have a dance is better than doing a dance half as good. I’m sure other people loved the dance, but I didn’t.


4). SISTAR ft. Giorgio Moroder-One More Day (Release Date: November 21st. Overall Views: 1,999,657):

Guys, guys…I am shook. When I heard SISTAR was teaming up with Giorgio Moroder, I knew something was going to happen. I didn’t how this duet was going to come out, but after watching this M/V over and over again, I am shook. I love the story, I love the tone and as a bisexual myself, I love the love story. I love it when K-Pop subtly sneak in same-sex love stories, I hope to see more of those stories in the future. Like Korea needs to stop being so basic, we’re in 2017 now. That being said, I liked the other songs they released this year as well, the bow dancing in I Like That still excites me and makes me wanna learn the dance.


3). BLACKPINK-Boombayah (Release Date: August 8th. Overall Views: 84,401,558):

BLACKPINK was the debut I waited years for and I’m so glad I got it before I completely lost interest in K-Pop. Their debut was good and out of all four of their songs, I love Boombayah the most with Playing with Fire a close second. I still like the newer songs, but Boombayah is definitely more memorable. I like the M/V just as much as I like the song, I like the dance and I like the small “oppa” they throw into the song. Some fans who expected them to be totally badass don’t like that part, but I did. It’s something unexpected. And the song is good, I just wish they sung it live for a special stage like SBS Gayo. I can imagine the stage for it and I want it to happen. I also want them to get more promotion next year, I don’t want them to be another failed YG idol group.


2). TWICE-TT (Release Date: October 23rd. Overall Views: 96,288,410):

Regardless of how I originally felt about this M/V…and I felt a lot about this M/V as seen in my review, I do like this song and the overall result was pretty cute. The song is nice and in my personal opinion, much better than Cheer Up and before the fanwars start, I’m going to tell you why. The beat. The beat to this song is fantastic and while I love the beat to Cheer Up as well, this one is more inviting. Singing this song with them and doing the bang movement with my hands, it made me smile. It was their better songs of year and I hope it’s not ruined in 2017 with constant replays like Cheer Up was. And to the JYP label, why doesn’t Jungyeon have more lines? Her voice is fantastic, don’t waste her talent, she’s better than Sana.


1). Red Velvet-Bad Dracula (Album Release Date: September 7th):

This is the number one song of the year, this is the song that I love and I hate that it’s so underrated. As much as I love Russian Roulette as a main track, I honestly believe SM missed an opportunity to have this song as the title and since it was close to Halloween at the time, damn this could have been a really well-inspired title track. Everything about this song is damn near perfect and I’m sure that the fanbase loves this song just as much–if not more–as Russian Roulette.

This is a true example of a K-Pop label–even as somebody as huge as SM or YG–making a really bad decision. Maybe the fans should pick future RV songs, this is why they have listening parties. This is also another way of saying, “Since we want our songs to be public friendly, we’re letting the public help decide.” Korea really needs to be more open to their music.

Honorable Mentions:

I know I said I wouldn’t do honorable mentions, especially since I’m tired, but there were some songs I’m sad didn’t make the list and I still love them, so lets talk about them before I conclude:

  • Agust D/Suga ft. Suran-So Far Away: I love this song, it’s literally my motivation song as I head into work, we play this song constantly and especially with the meaning of the lyrics. This is the Never Give Up song of 2016 and I will play it as I enter 2017.
  • EXO-Monster: It was really hard not to include this song in my list, I love it. But I wanted to have some variety. This song is still awesome and I still love the dance to it. Any EXO song with a great dance is going to be on my favorites list no matter what.
  • Akdong Musician (AKMU): How People Move & Re-Bye: As much as I love both of these songs, they are forgettable. The album is good, but it’s good for only a few listens. I looked through my Spotify K-Pop 2016 list and it’s not even a mention. Even Lee Hi got a well deserved shout out and her songs were boring this year.
  • GFriend-Rough: Rough is probably one of my favorite songs of the year, but it didn’t make this list because I honestly forgot where I could have placed it. I really did plan on putting the song on the list, but I did write the list out beforehand and I had found a place for them, but when it came to typing it, I changed my mind. But I still love GFrined, this is my favorite song from them and I want to hear more of their great music in 2017.
  • AOA: Ten Seconds: I knew I couldn’t have too many B-side tracks in this list, even though–if I’m being honest–B-side tracks have ruled this year because some title tracks haven’t been my favorite. This doesn’t speak the case for AOA…exactly. While I did love their title track, Good Luck, it’s their side track Ten Seconds I loved more. In fact, I love all the side tracks, especially Still Falls the Rain, but I’m such a huge fan of AOA’s sexier songs. Same thing happened last year, even though I loved Heart Attack, my favorite track was Chocolate. This is one of my favorite songs of 2016, I’m just sad it didn’t have room on my list.


Final Thoughts:

This is not only my last post of 2016, this is also my 100th post. I spent the past year working on this blog, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work and so far I’ve liked the progress. I want to continue doing more in 2017, but I also want to hold back.

I know K-Pop is kind of dying down for me, especially since I’ve been in K-Pop ever since I was nineteen and listened to nothing but SNSD and BIGBANG for six months before I started exploring other groups. But that doesn’t mean I won’t stop talking about it or I won’t stop liking it. Yes, a lot of my old favorites are getting older, but there are also new groups that I want to see shine. So for the last time in 2016, my name is KrisSimsters and Stay Golden.

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