[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 60-51

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 70-61

yesterday
70. Block B – YESTERDAY [YESTERDAY]
The reason I really enjoy YESTERDAY so much is that it is different from the usual Block B promotional track. The group is mostly known for their hard-hitting upbeat tunes that have a heavy hip-hop flair. While YESTERDAY retains some of that hip-hop vibe, it changes things a bit by giving us something that leans more towards pop. Not only is the song a different twist, but it’s just so catchy. The raps keep the song afloat in the verses, but it’s that chorus melody that really makes the song such an earworm. The hooks are simple, but well-placed.

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69. OH MY GIRL – Coloring Book (컬러링북) [Coloring Book]
OH MY GIRL were on a roll in 2016 with three comebacks. Unfortunately, 2017 wasn’t the best year for them. Their only comeback wasn’t as well-received as their previous material and the group eventually had a member drop due to health reasons. I absolute love Coloring Book though. That bouncy beat really have some retro vibes to it and I love the build-up to the chorus. The pre-chorus is especially great. While the chorus is a bit different with its more dragged out melody, I still feel it’s a fun twist and it really grew on me.

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68. Cosmic Girls – I Wish (너에게 닿기를) [From. Cosmic Girls]
Secret was my favourite song last year and I was expecting a lot from the girl group. I Wish does continue that sound with something a bit on the cuter side and while I wasn’t a fan initially, it did eventually get to me. I do feel like the chorus could be fleshed out a bit more, but it’s still really catchy and I quite like the verses. It’s like a fluffier version of Secret. For some reason, it has its charm.

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67. Romeo – Without You (니가 없는데) [WITHOUT U]
While I did enjoy the more “Sweetune” dance/pop that Romeo was doing, I did feel like Without You was a nice way to bring in something a bit more mainstream. It’s a bit more generic in its sound, but there are some fun quirks to it. I love the hooks in the chorus and the guitar that lays under the music really brings a bit of rock to the song. It’s all a bit inoffensive, but its still relatively memorable. It’s a catchy tune and something I wouldn’t mind hearing them continue with.

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66. The Unit – My Turn [My Turn]
Produce 101 was a runaway hit the last two seasons, so it was just a matter of time that other survival shows would pop up. The Unit, which focuses on idols who have already debuted, came out with My Turn. A nice combination of female and male vocals, the song is a straightforward dance/pop tune, but it has some interesting twists to it. The transitions between the male and female parts and the eventual combination of both at the end are really fun. The melody is also intoxicating and I love the tropical house style of the music.

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65. Lee Haeri – Hate That I Miss You (미운 날) [H]
Lee Haeri of girl group, Davichi, finally had her solo debut almost 10 years into her career. As expected from someone from a group most well-known for ballads, Haeri came back with a ballad. While the pre-release single was something a bit different, I actually like that Haeri came back with this kind of tune. It’s a bit more on the generic OST/Korean ballad kind of sound, but the melody is quite nice and Haeri’s voice really carries the song. She sings so effortlessly and her voice is so beautiful that it really draws me into the song.

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64. JBJ – Fantasy [FANTASY]
JBJ features several members from the popular show, Produce 101 Season 2. Despite not making it into Wanna One, this group was formed and also found some success. Fantasy reminds me of mid-00’s K-Pop with its more dramatic sound. The verses are a bit forgettable by themselves, but its that powerful beat that keeps things moving until it gets into the chorus. The chorus isn’t particularly in your face, but it has an attitude to it and I quite enjoy the melody and the clever arrangement.

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63. CLC – Hobgoblin (도깨비) [CRYSTYLE]
Debuting with some more along the lines of “innocent”, CLC came back in 2017 with a bang. With 4minute’s demise in 2016, CLC took up the reins and came back with something that really screams 4minute. I know I wasn’t the only one who thought so. With that said, it’s such a fun song and the group is able to bring it. The chorus is relatively simplistic in its delivery with its use of hooks, but it is quite catchy and the attitude really brings up the energy of the song. It’s unfortunate that the group went the 80’s route with their second comeback of 2017 (although I liked it as well).

mysteryofvenus
62. HELLO VENUS – Mysterious [Mystery of VENUS]
HELLO VENUS debuted with such a cute image in 2012, but that overt sexy phase from 2014-2015 was quite a (nice) surprise. Mysterious continues that sexy sound, but it does so in a more “mysterious” way. It doesn’t really push it forward, but relies on the girls’ vocal performance to really capture the attention. That’s not to say the song is weak. It’s a bit more on the generic side, but it’s still really well done. The melody is catchy and the repetitive hook is definitely an earworm.

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61. Park Ji Yoon – Without You (그러지마요) [parkjiyoon9]
One of the biggest stars from the late 90’s/early 00’s, Park Ji Yoon is one of my favourite Korean artists. However, compared to the R&B infused pop tunes she sang in the past, since her comeback from hiatus in 2009, she has gone a slower route and a large amount of her songs have been ballads. Without You reminds me a lot of 2009’s In a Faded Memory with its large focus on the piano, strings and her vocals. I love this kind of style and its gorgeous. Ji Yoon’s airy vocals work so well with that beautiful melody. I wish the ending was pushed even further than it was, but it’s all a very touching tune.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 80-71

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80. Super Junior – Black Suit [PLAY]
To be honest, I haven’t really followed Super Junior’s music for their last few releases. I think the last one I really paid attention to was Sexy, Free and Single. I wasn’t expecting much from Black Suit, but it really surprised me and has made me want to revisit some of the group’s other recent songs. I love the contrast that the verses and chorus gives. The verses really make me think it’s going to be a straightforward dance/pop song, but the choruses change things up with a retro twist and have a great brass backing to it. The middle eight is also really nicely done and I love the build up into the final chorus. It’s an exciting tune.

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79. B.A.P – WAKE ME UP [Rose]
B.A.P came back with three releases in 2017 and each one was striving to show a different side to the group. My favourite was the more dramatic WAKE ME UP. That pulsating beat tied with the rock influence really gives the song a different edge to it, especially compared to many of the song released this year. It really stands out and I think there are few groups who could really execute this style so well. The chorus is absolutely addicting and the hook is really nicely placed that it doesn’t become burdensome despite its repetition. One of the group’s strongest.

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78. Jonghyun – Lonely [Story Op.2]
Jonghyun’s passing last month was a heavy blow to K-Pop. Not only was it shocking and upsetting for so many, it also raised questions on several topics surrounding depression. Lonely was not a song that really stood out to me earlier this year largely because its midtempo approach caused it to be overshadowed by the more energetic releases of this year, but revisiting it has caused me to really appreciate it. While the song borrows heavily from the current midtempo R&B trend, the song has a happier sound to it despite the fact the lyrics are quite sad. Taeyeon also lends her voice and creates an ethereal duet that blends their voices together so effortlessly.

fallinlovelyz
77. Lovelyz – Twinkle [Fall in Lovelyz]
Despite Lovelyz slow release schedule in 2016, 2017 saw the group return with a bigger bang. Their first album and repackage titled tracks were catchy and fun tunes, but Twinkle does well blending that airy quality of Now, We with the quirkiness of WoW!. I love the video game-like arrangement of the pre-chorus tied with the sing-talk style of the vocals, which helps to surprise the listening when that pulsating beat and powerful chorus come pounding in. One thing I’m also really happy about is the fact that the girls aren’t singing at such a high pitch like in Now, We.

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76. J-Min – Alive [Alive]
J-Min has always been hidden in SM’s dungeon despite the fact her voice is fantastic and her material (like last year’s Ready to Love) is stellar. I was surprised she came back again this year, but I was so glad to hear Alive. I have a love-hate relationship with Korean ballads because some are just so great and some are just so dull. Alive definitely fits in the first section as despite its slow start, it has a great melody and great vocals to back it up. I love the overall calmness of the song and it doesn’t really push it that much in the end, but J-Min just knows how to sing with the right amount of emotion. It’s just gorgeous.

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75. Unnies – Right? (맞지?) [Unnies’ Slam Dunk Season 2]
Last year’s Unnies release was the fun and sexy Shut Up. With a large amount of the cast being different, Unnies is brought back again with a totally different kind of sound. Right? brings a bright and catchy pop tune with a great brass backing. The great thing about this song is just how strong it is from start to finish. The verses are simple but memorable and the pre-chorus is a fun chant that helps to build the energy to that insanely catchy chorus. Each member is also able to put their personality into each of their parts, which is something that many group’s struggle with.

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74. PRISTIN – Wee Woo [HI! PRISTIN]
Gaining popularity prior to their debut for both their dance covers and Produce 101, PRISTIN was one of the most anticipated debuts of 2017. While Wee Woo got mixed reception, it has certainly grown on me a lot. It’s one of those Frankenstein kind of songs with each part of the song showing a stark and rather odd transition into each other, however, it is a fun tune and when the song gets it right, it gets it really right. Especially the music and the wee woo breakdown, which always keeps the song grounded. I’m still trying to wrap my head around some other parts of the song, but the chorus is also another insanely catchy part.

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73. Triple H – 365 Fresh [199X]
With the disbandment of 4minute in 2016, HyunA released my least favourite of her title tracks right after. Luckily, 2017 saw the return of that sexy and confident idol with some bangers. Triple H is a special unit consisting of E’Dawn and Hui from Pentagon and HyunA. I actually really love what the group brought as the 70’s inspired disco/funk tune is definitely a fun twist to what HyunA and Pentagon usually do despite the fact the song is pretty similar to Bruno Mars’ recent material. 365 Fresh really lets each member stand out and is also intoxicating with its funky hooks.

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72. Jeong Sewoon – Just U [EVER]
Taking advantage of the Produce 101 S2 popularity, Jeong Sewoon has been one of the many contestants from the show to debut. Taking the solo route, Sewoon’s debut not only allowed him to craft a sound that is mainstream, but also one that is suitable for his sound. Just U is a catchy acoustic driven pop song. It still has some R&B influences to it, but instead of depending on just a beat, the song has a great guitar and synth arrangement. It really brings something fuller and helps to give some funk to the song. Sewoon does get lost a bit in the music, but this is definitely the direction I want to see him go down.

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71. Seohyun – Don’t Say No [Don’t Say No]
Don’t Say No was a nice surprise for me. Although I heard many people complain that it is just an Ariana Grande knock-off, I really love it and I think it helps Seohyun differentiate herself from her fellow members. I also think it is a solid pop tune. It has a lot of energy to it, but still retains that pop/R&B flair and really does a good job of highlighting Seohyun’s voice. Her sweet tone really fits this kind of song and she does decently throughout the song. It’s light, bouncy and just a great song to sing along to.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 90-81

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90. Chungha – Why Don’t You Know [Hands on Me]
Coming off the success of the mega hit show, Produce 101, Chungha has been the only member to really establish a solo career. Why Don’t You Know is an interesting pop tune that plays on the tropical house sound that was popular over the last year. There are some clever parts that come up, especially in the arrangement of the song. The gorgeous melodic synth line that pops up in the background really drives the song forward. The melody itself is decent, and that lower start of chorus is a really nice touch as well. It’s a catchy tune.

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89. Suzy – Yes No Maybe [Yes? No?]
Suzy’s solo debut wasn’t the most commercially or critically successful of the year in terms of solo releases, but I love how interesting Yes No Maybe is. A bit more on the midtempo pace, the song still keeps moving with its heavy beat and its breathy background vocals. The melody isn’t that powerful, but for some reason, it has this really addicting sound to it. It also does a good job of showcasing a more mature vibe from the singer and her voice has a depth to it here that wasn’t really heard in Miss A’s material.

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88. Jessi – Don’t Make Me Cry (울리지마) [Don’t Make Me Cry]
Jessi is primarily known for her rapping, but she has been singing much more often lately. Don’t Make Me Cry is an interesting twist because we are given a slow, but dramatic soul ballad. The thing is that Jessi can actually pull this song off. The song has some 70’s soul vibes to it and Jessi’s raspy, raw and powerful voice fits perfectly here. She sounds absolutely ruthless and she really tries to inject the right amount of emotion into the song and it works.

thatone
87. Henry – That One [That One]
Henry released quite a few digital singles this year and while Girlfriend was the most successful, it’s the calmer That One that really took me by surprise. The song isn’t really that unique as this laid back R&B style has been popular in Korea for the last few years (not to mention in the US). The song does stand out by being fully sung in English, but it’s that beat and hook that really keep the song going. It sort of makes me think of a slower version of Ariana Grande’s Honeymoon Avenue.

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86. N.Flying – Real (진짜가 나타났다[THE REAL: N.Flying]
Never really listened to N.Flying’s material prior to this year, but I was pleasantly surprised by Real. Unlike many other groups, N.Flying takes on the band concept, but with a poppier edge. Real does a great job of fusing pop and rock into a fun fusion. While the verses and pre-chorus really help to bring up the energy, it’s that explosive chorus that really grabs the attention. The melody is insanely catchy and has a great exchange between the band’s vocalists. It’s an exciting song to listen to.

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85. Gugudan – A Girl Like Me (나 같은 애) [Act. 2 Narcissus]
Last year’s Wonderland wasn’t as well-received as predicted when Gugudan debuted. While the more bubblegum pop tune eventually grew on me, it still lacks the hook that really drives A Girl Like Me. Here, there is still a bit of the Gugudan sound, but with something more exciting and clever. The playfulness coming from both the verses and chorus is something not really seen in a lot of other songs and it just seems like the song rushes by. While I do wish there was less “aegyo” bits, I do feel like the general delivery was that of a fresh and fun pop song.

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84. GOT7 – You Are [7 for 7]
With the Flight Log trilogy finished, I wondered what GOT7 would bring. You Are is a gorgeous return. While the song does have some of the same qualities as their Flight Log tunes, the best thing that You Are brought back was a strong pop melody that really helped to lift the song. That opening chorus line is euphoric and really brings back that emotional edge to the group’s title tracks. I did enjoy Never Ever, but this is a solid pop blast.

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83. Younha – Hello (종이비행기) [Hello]
Younha has always been one of my favourite Korean artists and I was awaiting her return. While her recent album wasn’t entirely to my liking, there were still some gorgeous tunes. Hello was released as a preview single and it comes off as a sister tune to the more carefree Run. Now there is the more mature girl who plays to her strengths. While I would’ve enjoyed a bit more displaying of Younha’s powerful vocals, the gorgeous melody makes up for it. It has a rush to it that just seems to go faster as the chorus progresses.

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82. I – I Wish (간절히 바라면 이뤄질 거야) [I Dream]
I didn’t really know what to expect from ‘I’ (besides a confusing name), but I definitely enjoyed what I heard. I Wish is a wonderful pop song that really reaches back to the past for some inspiration while also trying to add a contemporary twist to it. The verses have the characteristics of the more midtempo R&B sound popular these days, but it’s that pop chorus that really brings a surprise. It really sounds like mid-00’s J-Pop and I love it. It’s been a while since I’ve heard this style and I’m excited to see what else ‘I’ can bring.

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81. Nine Muses – Remember (기억해) [Identity]
Nine Muses used to be one of my favourite groups, but the reduction of the group from nine to four really put a dent in not only the image of the group, but also its future. I was pleasantly surprised by last year’s sub-unit tune and this year saw a return of those four girls. Remember does what Nine Muses does best, powerful and sexy pop tunes. From the calmer verses to the explosion of synths in the chorus, the song just demands attention. The heavy beat contrast the monotonous delivery of the melody, but it all just works together so well.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 100-91

I decided to expand the list by 50 this year just because there were so many more releases that I paid attention to throughout the year. It was quite difficult to narrow things down since I had a list of over 250 songs (and this was just one song per artist/group) and even then it was difficult for me as I had liked quite a few songs. Like last year, this list will only feature one song by each artist (subunits or solo releases are separate). These songs were either promoted tracks from albums, singles, etc. or they were their own digital single. There were be another list that focuses on album tracks.

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100. Gugudan Oguogu – ICE CHU [Ice Chu]
The first song off the countdown comes from the wonderful Gugudan sub-unit, Gugudan Oguogu. Comprised of the group’s two youngest members, this release definitely didn’t strike me as that great at first, however, it has gradually grown on me. ICE CHU comes off as something along the lines of Orange Caramel with its crazier, cuter vibe to it. I love the little interesting bits of the song like the cool guitar undertone and the rap breakdown that surprisingly works with the craziness of the song.

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99. L.A.U – So Sweet (향기로와) [So Sweet]
L.A.U is a group that consists of the members of LU:KUS (former members of X-5). While I do listen to a large number of nugu groups, the production levels of many of the groups are usually lacking. However, the groovy vibe of So Sweet is a nice surprise. It’s like a chill electropop song with some jazzier elements to it. The melody is also rather charming and the guys do a decent job with the vocals. I do wish it had a bit more punch to it at times, but it’s a solid tune.

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98. Hoody – Can’t Wait (하나만 해) [Can’t Wait]
I love me some R&B and Hoody always delivers that nice kind of slow jam. While I still find Baby Oh Baby her best tune, Can’t Wait is a great song that works that now popular chill R&B sound, but still adds a bit of punch when needed. I love the interesting twists the song does give like the more gentle second verse that runs the vocals through a vocoder. Hoody isn’t the strongest vocalist, but her calm vocals do add a lot of emotion into the song.

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97. UP10TION – Going Crazy [UP10TION 2017 Special Photo Edition]
UP10TION released a slew of great songs in 2016 and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the direction they went in 2017, they still had a few good tracks to listen to. Going Crazy is definitely the stronger of the two promo tracks. The verses are a bit forgettable, but it’s that rap build-up and the eventual explosion into the pop-driven chorus. I like how the music has some tropical house elements to it, but it’s pushed back so it doesn’t become the forefront (especially considering it was such an overdone genre last year). The melody also reminds me of something from 2010/2011, which is a nice throwback.

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96. SURPRISE U – I Do [I Do]
SURPRISE U is supposed to be another actor group from Fantagio. I was going into this song with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I Do is a bit more laid-back than most idol dance songs, but it does everything well. The chorus is quite catchy and has a charm to it. Although I do wish it was a little more powerful, the melody is just intoxicating. Another great surprise is just how good the guys sound. Their voices are quite nice and the bridge does a good job of showcasing that with some nice harmonies.

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95. MOMOLAND – Wonderful Love (EDM Ver.) (어마어마해) [Wonderful Love EDM Ver.]
MOMOLAND has largely focused on catchy straightforward pop songs to get the work done. Wonderful Love is a nice tune by itself, but it’s the heavier EDM Ver. that really gets that much needed energy. The powerful beat doesn’t necessarily fit with that cute and piercing pop melody, but it’s still a fun ride. The instrumental breakdown mid-song also does wonders really pushing the song to the next level (also JooE <3). Just a cute, but fun song.

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94. SECHSKIES – Sad Song [The 20th Anniversary]
The past year has done wonders for SECHSKIES as their return has been met with such a positive reaction. While 2016 saw the group revisiting their former tunes, 2017 brought us some original releases. The large majority of the promo songs were slower tunes that highlighted the maturity of the group, but the most upbeat, Sad Song, has been my favourite. Recalling the electropop sound of Gummy’s 2008 hit, I’m Sorry, Sad Song brings an emotional midtempo pop tune that still keeps things moving with a gentle dance beat.

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93. VICTON – EYEZ EYEZ [Ready]
VICTON released quite a few mini-albums this year and each of the promo tracks showed an interesting change in sound. For me, the more powerful EYEZ EYEZ was my favourite. The other two are good songs, but I felt like the hooks were really lacking. EYEZ EYEZ is a bit on the more generic side of things in terms of boy band sounds, but I like the simple, yet effective melody. It’s catchy and pairs well with the cool music that makes me think of early 2000’s J-Pop.

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92. Yoona – When the Wind Blows (바람이 불면) [When the Wind Blows]
While a few more of the Girls’ Generation members released their solo tunes this year, I was most surprised by Yoona’s. When the Wind Blows is a laid back, but quite beautiful pop ballad. Yoona is by no means a strong vocalist, but she is still able to work well with this song and I think the song itself does so well with just playing on the feeling of nostalgia and looking back on a past relationship. It’s gentle, but touching and Yoona’s soft vocals mesh well here. My only wish is that her voice wasn’t so layered as I think the song would be more organic and emotional.

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91. HOTSHOT – Jelly (젤리) [Jelly]
HOTSHOT saw an interesting year this year as two of their members ranked highly in Produce 101 and two others are doing well in The Unit. While I’m not as knowledgeable of their earlier material, Jelly is a great pop track. The pop melody is mixed with a haunting, but cool refrain. It doesn’t entirely play on the popular tropical house sound, but does a good job of adding some similar elements in to give it a contemporary feel. I do find the random “Jelly” that comes up to be a bit odd, but the song does have a great hook to make up for it.