60. Crush – Outside [Outside]
Crush has been at the forefront of popular K-R&b for the last few years. His slow R&B jams have left a lasting impression and has helped to influence a change in sound for the general vibe of the music outside and inside the idol industry. Outside is a bit different than his usual material as it is more fitting of summer with its upbeat sound. I love the dance beat added and it really adds a lot of life to the song. The chorus is a bit bare, but the hook is really well executed. It’s an interesting take on the summer sound.
59. SISTAR – Lonely [Lonely]
Speaking of summer, SISTAR also saw their disbandment last year. A really sad time as the group has been a staple hit maker since their debut in 2010. Lonely is a departure from the group’s usual title track material and has elements that would be heard from the subunit, SISTAR19. With that said, Lonely is a bittersweet but beautiful song. It has an acoustic vibe that keeps it up to date, but it plays on the more upbeat style. The signature Hyorin driven chorus is especially sweet and something that will be missed.
58. ONF – ON/OFF [ON/OFF]
ONF were one of the many boy band debuts on 2017. Coming from the same company as rising girl group OH MY GIRL and popular boy band B1A4, ONF has big steps to fill. Fortunately, their arrival was much appreciated. ON/OFF is a stellar debut song that throws us into a fun mix of pop and dance. It isn’t particularly in-your-face, but has some really clever aspects to it that help it grow. I love the chorus and while it is a bit bare, the cute synthline is a great inclusion that helps things flow right into the short vocal piece. One of the strongest debuts of the year.
57. MONSTA X – Beautiful [The Clan Part 2.5: The Final Chapter ‘Beautiful’]
Last year, MONSTA X released quite a few songs but didn’t really have a song that impressed me as much as 2015’s Hero. Beautiful is certainly their strongest piece since due to its mix of hard-hitting hip-hop with a pop twist. I absolutely love the opening rap and it really helps to bring the energy up. While the pre-chorus does a good job of building things up, it’s that lush chorus that stands out. The pop melody over the messy and heavy arrangement is a really interesting contrast that works out quite well.
56. Mamamoo – Yes I Am (나로 말할 것 같으면) [Purple]
Mamamoo had one of my favourite songs last year with their throwback to the 90’s, Whoohoo. Decalcomanie was also a stellar tune and the group proved they had the hits in them. Yes I Am is a nice return to the brighter sound that the group had with You’re the Best and Um Ah Oh Yeh. The quirky arrangement with its odd synths, heavy beat and funky synth line bring a lot of excitement, but it’s the group’s vocal performance that stands at the forefront. The girls sound great and as confident as ever. They are able to play with their vocals unlike many other groups in K-Pop.
55. LABOUM – Hwi Hwi (휘휘) [Miss This Kiss]
To be honest, I couldn’t really see the appeal in LABOUM before Hwi Hwi. Their songs were largely on the generic pop side, but seemed to lack that push to bring it to the next level. Fortunately, Hwi Hwi is such a stellar tune and the subsequent Only U was also a really fun summer song. Even going back into their discography, I found they actually have some pretty catchy songs. Hwi Hwi brings that more straightforward pop sound. It’s the type of song that any group could perform, but it’s just so strong and fits so well with LABOUM’s colour. The chorus is absolutely amazing and so catchy with the fun whistling intertwined in the music.
54. A.C.E – Cactus (선인장) [Cactus]
At first, I wasn’t really feeling A.C.E’s music. Although I did review it and I did enjoy the songs, the songs never really stuck for long. However, I realized after a while that I would always find them in my playlist. Cactus is my favourite of their two singles. It does hardstyle so well and unlike Callin’, I feel like the melody is actually able to keep up with the explosive chorus. It’s something that I would fit better with the sound a few years back, but it’s quite strong and helps the group stand out.
53. Subin – Circle’s Dream (동그라미의 꿈) [Circle’s Dream]
A bit of an unexpected tune that came out in 2017. Dal Shabet’s Subin had already started a solo career in 2016 with some digital singles, but I didn’t pay attention until this stellar piece Circle’s Dream is a gorgeous relaxing tune. It’s simplicity of the melody is the best part about it and I love the light and airy pop sound it has. My favourite part is the second verses where Subin brings a bit of power to her and she sounds as confident as ever. It has a female songwriter touch to it and its the type of song that just grows on you.
52. K.A.R.D – Don’t Recall [K.A.R.D Project Vol.2 “Don’t Recall”]
I wasn’t quite sure which song to put of theirs since they released so many singles this year, but Don’t Recall is certainly one of the group’s strongest. Although the song has the group’s signature tropical house tinge, it manages to stand out for its more melancholic vibe. I don’t think it’s as memorable as Oh NaNa, but that chorus is definitely impactful. The chorus is gorgeous and the swing into the instrumental riff really in the second half really helps to elevate the emotion of the song. All the members also sound exceptional.
51. S.E.S. – Paradise (한 폭의 그림) [Remember]
I love S.E.S and I’ve loved the recent revival of older K-Pop groups. The best part about Paradise is how it really brings that S.E.S sound but with a contemporary twist. The underlying R&B influence throughout the song, especially in the verses really sounds like something the group’s would’ve done in the early 00’s. With that said, there is still something about the melody that makes me think of J-Pop as well. It’s bright and really captures the group’s sound. The girls sound fresh as well.