I was gone for pretty much all of June, and writing regular reviews for anything this long after they’d been released both didn’t make sense, nor was it something that I at all felt like doing. But there are some releases from that month which are worth talking about. This is in no way a review of every release from June; it is simply a selection of the releases that I feel the need to speak about. (They are roughly in the order of I how much I like them.)
9. SONAMOO’s “I Like U Too Much” (June 29th)
What happened to SONAMOO? Only a few days after their debut song “Deja Vu” came out, I named them my sixth favorite rookie group of 2014 and while their second release “Cushion” definitely did take them far away from their initial sound, it still wasn’t quite as cookie cutter as this latest release, which could easily be an A Pink song. That’s not to say that the song is awful nor that I absolutely hate everything A Pink have ever put out, we all know that’s not true, but this is just not at all what I was hoping SONAMOO would bring to the kpop world. But maybe I was expecting too much.
8. U-KISS’s “Stalker” (June 7th)
I don’t know what U-KISS would have to do to actually make it, and I’m sad to have to ask this question, but how long do you think it’ll be until they disband? They debuted way back in 2008, at around the same time as now well established veterans such as SHINee and 2PM. Secret marriages and babies and long hiatuses (do you think we’ll ever see AJ again?) have not made things easier, and even though this is not a bad song, nor are most of the things they’ve put out, some were even pretty damn good, U-KISS have never put out a knockout that could take them to that next level. I’d like to see them get there, but they won’t with this song. Better luck next time.
7. gugudan’s “Wonderland” (June 28th)
I followed Produce 101 closely and enjoyed it immensely, but no matter how good the resulting group I.O.I may or may not be, it will only be around until March next year (ish?). Which means that all those girls that have finally managed to take that step to debut will still have to find their way into other kpop groups to truly and permanently have become kpop stars. For Mina and Sejeong of I.O.I fame (and Nayoung as well, who was very close to making it into that group) gugudan is their chance. I never thought I’d like this song; it’s definitely not original and I still maintain the stance that I don’t like overly cutesy things. But, and this is a big but, this chorus works. It’s worming its way into my head. That may just be my love for Sejeong speaking though, so we’ll see.
6. EXID’s “L.I.E” (June 1st)
EXID are now at that stage where they can almost do anything, and people will still at least sort of like it. But not me. I will not be fooled. This song is mostly alright, LE is as always a standout, but the breakdown is pretty jarring to me. It isn’t bad in itself, but with the rest of the song, I just don’t quite get it. Maybe I’m just becoming an old fart, but I (most of the time) prefer when my songs have a more flowy flow to them. But without the breakdown I think this song would have been quite generic, so maybe this is just not the song for me.
5. KNK’s “Back Again” (June 2nd)
KNK debuted this very year and while their really quite interesting debut song “Knock” does have almost 2 million views, which ain’t that shabby, I still strongly feel like people are sleeping on this group. I’m pretty sure this is their second single, and while it is definitely quite standard kpop I feel like they’ve executed in such a lovely and polished way that it actually kind of works. I don’t think this is what a rookie group from a virtually unknown entertainment agency should release if they want attention, but it’s a solid release nonetheless. Hopefully things will work out for them.
4. Taeyeon’s “Why” and “Starlight” (June 28th & 25th)
This is summertime driving music if I ever heard it. I don’t think it’s as lovely as her first release “I” (I’m not sure if she’ll ever top that), but “Why” is a good release nonetheless and perfectly captures the feeling of the summer I think we’d all like to be having.
As a duo release the two songs definitely make good sense; style-wise they definitely belong on the same album. It’s cohesive. DEAN has a very sweet voice which goes very well with Taeyeon’s (and they made just the cutest couple in the video) and this is the kind of song I’d like to have in the background while doing my super chillaxed summer lounging.
3. EXO’s “Lucky One” and “Monster” (June 9th)
As a song this is my favorite out of the two, and it’s a good song that EXO and their fans should feel proud of. The members perform it well, and it suits them well. But I’m not actually sure if I like this direction that EXO’s music is moving in. It’s getting more polished, less out there and experimental, and while I’m still liking the singles they’re putting out, as someone who first became a proper EXO fan from the glory that was “Wolf”, I enjoyed the ridiculous side of EXO. This is almost a bit too respectable.
The aesthetics and dance of this one are so on point. So while I’d say that “Lucky One” is my favorite out of the two to just listen to, “Monster” is still the one that I as a fan enjoyed the most. Here’s the thing though… I enjoy the prospect of EXO exploring their darker and more twisted possibilities, but I have a feeling that they could take it way further. Right now it’s almost like they’re the Disney channel version of VIXX, which I don’t think is what anyone wants. They’re all aesthetics, but they don’t take it all the way. I don’t have the answer for how they could take it further in a non-VIXX copycat way, but I believe they could do it. Maybe start with changing the still fairly generic lyrics whose impact almost seems diminished by the crazy makeup.
2. Tiffany’s “Heart Break Hotel” (June 10th)
I have not been all over the SM Station project, even though I liked the idea, and before this song was released the only other one I’ve been all over was Amber’s “Borders”, which I just loved. But this one is so nice! If it was all in English it could be just basically any American pop song, but even if it was I think I’d still like it. Even though this is not a sentiment I can relate to, she almost makes me feel it. Awesome track.
1. SISTAR’s “I Like That” (June 21st)
Best song of June. SISTAR have previously put out some really great stuff that I have jammed hard to, but I think this could be my absolute favorite single from them ever. Ever. Hyorin shines like the star she is, Soyou does super well, Dasom has improved and even though Bora isn’t really all that as a rapper, she is so stunning in the video that I’d forgive anything. This song has all the sass and confidence you could possibly need to get you through that asshole not treating you right.
I’m sorry if I seem harsher than usual, I’m a bit sick and tired, so yeah… What’s your favorite release from June?