July is over and it must be reviewed. Here I have selected ten releases from the past month, based on how much I feel like I have to say about them, simple as that. Let’s review July!
10. Ravi’s “DamnRa” (July 14th)
I feel like this was Ravi’s way of trying to do a Mino. And in the hands of Mino I think this would have been absolute fire. Ravi is a good rapper in kpop terms, but I don’t think he’s quite strong enough to carry this song on his own. The beat etc has some real weight to it, but Ravi’s rapping isn’t quite there. It’s not horrible or anything, it’s kind of ok. So not quite there. But I do appreciate Ravi pushing himself, and I know that he wants to be taken seriously as a rapper, so if it’s this direction he wants to go in, I will cheer him on. Hesitantly.
9. Astro’s “Breathless” (July 1st)
The amount of groups that have debuted this year is already through the roof, but Astro is one of those few groups that I can kind of see making it. They are not from a big company, but Fantagio is still a name that people might recognize, and while the boys so far have done pretty generic cute stuff, it’s so catchy and well done it might actually work for them. Astro have been getting some attention, and while I have not jumped on the bandwagon just yet, I am intrigued in seeing them grow.
8. NCT 127’s “Fire Truck” (July 10th)
I’ve been trying to understand how NCT works, and honestly I’m still confused. NCT is not a group, not really, they seem to be a big collection of different subunits, with the already debuted NCT U and now NCT 127 as two of them. Members can be added to NCT at any time. But does that mean that members can at any time be added to NCT U and NCT 127 as well? Or are they constant? They don’t seem to be, given that when NCT U released “Without You” it was with a different set of members than when they released “The 7th Sense”. But then why were they both called NCT U if NCT can be made into infinite subunits? Why use the same name for different configurations of members? I’m confused. Oh, and this song is not a song. It’s a collection of noise. I didn’t really get it when NCT U released “The 7th Sense” but I grew to really appreciate that song. But this? No. SM are pushing themselves too far in their pursuit to be trendsetters.
7. Fei’s “Fantasy” (July 21st)
Miss A is one of my absolute favorite girl groups, Fei is my favorite member and also one of my favorite girls in the entirety of kpop. I’m very convinced of her talent and general loveliness, but I’m not so sure about this. I like the idea of Fei being sensual and sexually assertive, but this is a little… flimsy? for her. I would have preferred it if instead of her asking about the man’s fantasy, she was just telling him hers. Why does she have to be waiting for him? This is a critique of kpop as a whole (and maybe of the whole world), but it bothers me a lot more when it’s Fei than when it’s some girl that I don’t think of quite as highly. The song is alright I suppose, but it doesn’t have the impact that I’d like from a Fei solo.
6. FTISLAND’s “Take Me Now” (July 18th)
I remember when FTISLAND was the softer one out of the duo that is FTISLAND-CNBLUE. Those days are no more. With their last release “Pray” they threw all those soft Spanish sounds to the wind and went hard. This isn’t quite as hard, nor quite as good, but I’m still enjoying this new direction that FTISLAND have taken. There’s suddenly this desperation to what they do that brings me back to my angsty tween-teen days. It’s making me nostalgic.
5. GFriend’s “Navillera” (July 11th)
I definitely wasn’t into GFriend when they debuted with “Glass Bead”, actually I was quite annoyed by the blatant copying of everything about legendary group Girls’ Generation’s debut, but when they then followed that up with “Me Gustas Tu” there was nothing for me to do but submit. That was amazing. And then they followed that up with “Rough” which was also really good! And now “Navillera”, which I like, but not as much as “Rough” and definitely not as much as “Me Gustas Tu”. GFriend songs in general are always growers for me though, so I might start liking it more. One of these days I may even commit to them and learn all their names.
4. Seventeen’s “Very Nice” (July 4th)
I never intended to like Seventeen. I thought “Adore U” was stupid at first listen, but now I adore it. I never really fell for “Mansae” but I have to admit that it’s fun and catchy. I never ever got into “Pretty U” though, and I think it will stay that way. And when I first heard this song I thought it was really messy, and I thought that maybe I was finally going to be free. But then these stupid fucking boys pulled me back in, and now I love this stupid song. It’s so cute and fun and makes me happy and I hate them for it.
3. Eric Nam’s “Can’t Help Myself” (July 15th)
Eric Nam have been in kpop for quite a while now, and I don’t think there’s a single international kpop fan that doesn’t think of him as kind of a big brother. I know I do. He’s so nice and sweet and funny and can I adopt him as my actual big brother? Many people know him more as an MC than a singer though, which is a shame, because Eric actually has quite a bit of talent. This may be my favorite song from him yet, though that’s not a definite. It’s a lovely song for those final summer vibes, and I mean, does this not make you happy? You monster.
2. Vromance’s “She” (or “Girl Friend”) (July 12th)
This is the debut of my girls MAMAMOO’s little brother group, and while they’re not exactly blowing my mind as much as their big sisters usually do, I’m still very pleased and intrigued. There are so many super young and cute or full-of-swag (kinda) hip hop boys groups out there so seeing a slightly older and more mature group like this is actually a breath of fresh air. And this song is very groove-worthy, sweet and catchy. Make sure their debut is a successful one!
1. Wonder Girls’ “Why So Lonely” (July 5th)
This song is the MVP of the month of July for sure. With this I feel like Wonder Girls have completely come into their own. It’s retro yet relevant for now, it’s emotional yet sexy and it’s relaxed yet flawless. This song somehow makes me feel really pleased that Wonder Girls was the first kpop group I ever encountered, way back in 2009. They are such amazing women and this makes me feel like they’ve never been better.
Any thoughts on these releases or any others from July that I left out? Which release is your personal MVP of the month?