I’ve found myself hopping on the Produce 101 train stupidly late—or, one could argue, at just the right time to avoid the gut-wrenching heartache of picking a fave who might just end up being eliminated. Either way, I’ve been checking out what talent the cast of Produce 101 has to offer as of late, and I think it’s safe to say it’s quite a heap of talent.
Starting with a classic, we have the Produce 101 anthem: “Pick Me.” After seeing the winning group Wanna One perform this at KCON LA, I haven’t been able to get the catchy song out of my head. I’m convinced everyone down the hall of my apartment building hates me, since any time I go on a cleaning kick, “Pick Me” ends up getting blasted and is guaranteed to be accompanied by my off-tune singing. I can’t help it—the song is just so unbelievably catchy! No wonder it was the show’s theme.
Samuel - With You (feat. Chungha)
Kim Samuel was considered a fan favorite throughout most of the show, and many were shocked when it was revealed that he did not make the final lineup of Wanna One. Despite that initial setback, Samuel has found success debuting as a solo artist with support from his fans, even at the startlingly young age of 15. “With You” is a smooth and sweet R&B track that does an excellent job of accompanying Samuel’s vocals. Plus, the addition of former-I.O.I. member-turned-solo artist Kim Chungha creates a stellar collaboration so that I can only describe them as the king and queen of Produce 101.
JBJ - Say My Name
JBJ is my favorite product of Produce 101 so far for a multitude of reasons, but I’ll save you the trouble of my screeching for now (that’s surely covered in the Highlight piece I wrote on them). Much like title track “Fantasy,” “Say My Name” evokes an intense mood. Unlike the title, however, there is less focus on the sexy aspect of it. The intensity is only furthered by the stellar rap verses of Sanggyun and Hyunbin, and the latter’s pleasingly-deep voice. If “Fantasy” wasn’t your jam, it’s worth taking a look at “Say My Name.”
MXM - “Just Come Out”
MXM, a duo consisting of trainees Im Youngmin and Kim Donghyun, recently released their first debut mini-album UNMIX. With this debut, all members of Brand New Music involved in the show have officially debuted, with Lee Daehwi and Park Woojin making the top 11 and joining Wanna One. “Just Come Out” appears halfway through the mini and has a smooth, bluesy sound that highlights the sweet vocals and mellow raps. The pair hasn’t gotten as much attention as the previous two acts listed, which they definitely deserve!
Rainz - “톡톡 (Rainy Day)”
The final of the alumni on our list is KISS Entertainment’s seven-membered group Rainz. The group formed after fans insisted that the members were far too talented to return to trainee status. My favorite track off of debut mini-album Sunshine is “톡톡 (Rainy Day),” a relaxing and bright ballad that evokes the feeling of, well, a rainy day. The track has a nice jazzy rhythm added to it that makes it cheerful, accompanied by sweet vocals that make listening to it an all-around pleasant experience.