Let’s take a look at some notable new kpop from this week!
CRAXY – Aria
I like the aesthetics this rookie girl group is bringing to the table, but my god this song is bewildering. Structurally this is completely all over the place, relentlessly moving from one musical segment to the next in a disorienting fashion, and it lacks strong hooks to tie it together. Way too messy to love, but at least it’s interesting, and it keeps me coming back for another listen so I can try and work out what’s going on here! I am certainly intrigued by this group, even if I’m not completely sold on this song.
Dreamcatcher – 「Endless Night」
Dreamcatcher have been spoiling their fans recently, with a Korean comeback and full-length album a couple of weeks ago, and a new Japanese single this week. This song leans into their rock style, with percussion and guitars that are even more intense than usual for Dreamcatcher, coming as close to metal as the group ever has. I probably won’t be coming back to this quite as much as their recent Korean material, but it rocks pretty hard.
NCT 127 – Kick It
NCT 127 didn’t release a whole lot of Korean material in 2019, and what they did deliver was quite different from their usual style, much smoother and poppier than their usual off-kilter bangers. Now, this wasn’t an issue for me, Superhuman and Highway To Heaven were actually two of my favourite songs of last year, but damn it feels good to have 127’s classic ridiculous, noisy sound back. This song slaps big time, with a catchy riff and hard hitting rapping, and the part in bridge where Taeil does his high note as the beat intensifies is maybe my favourite five seconds in kpop this year so far.
AB6IX – Break Up (Youngmin Solo)
With the exception of Daehwi’s excellent Rose, Scent, Kiss, I have’t been overly impressed with any of AB6IX’s recent solo songs, and Youngmin’s solo is another thoroughly average offering. A chill, moody breakup song, this is perfectly listenable and features the rapper displaying some decent vocals, but the song’s a bit too one-note to stand out much.
AleXa – Do Or Die
I like AleXa and think her badass cyberpunk warrior schtick is extremely cool, but I’m not fully sold on her music just yet. The ratio of English to Korean lyrics in this song feels a bit awkward; I feel like she might as well have sung entirely in English at this point. The song itself is fun and energetic, and I do like it more than Bomb, but it’s a bit generic and forgettable. Definitely a song that gets overshadowed by the awesome music video.
Best of the week: A weird week without many major releases; NCT 127 definitely came through with the highlight.