2017 has seen the most changes in the K-Pop market compared to previous years. It has been a year in which release patterns have shifted, prominent groups have experienced some changes, and the industry has started to become more open to the idea of strategic partnerships. It has been a year full of development, and one packed with a variety of great music. Now that 2017 is coming to a close, The Kraze takes you back to see which female artists have truly reigned and owned the year!
The Kraze revealed which tracks made it from #20 to #11 last week, so now we’ll be revealing the remaining Top 10 female K-Pop tracks of the year! There are big names on the list, but it still isn’t short of surprises, so we hope you’re excited!
10. Girl’s Day - I’ll Be Yours
After being on hiatus for a long two years, the four ladies of Girl’s Day made their most anticipated comeback earlier this year with the modern jazz bomb that is “I’ll Be Yours.”
It’s the group’s most experimental title track to date, incorporating a lot of retro influences into an arrangement full of sexy 808s and electric snares. Being one of the most musically entertaining tracks of the year, it’s full of prominent bass and drum variations, in addition to its interesting big band sections. Minah’s power vocal moments at the end of each chorus remain one of the year’s most memorable deliveries.
9. APRIL - April Story
APRIL’s “April Story” is one of the year’s most surprising hits. Perhaps one of the most sophisticated pop-dance efforts, it was a track that was least expected from a group whose discography is full of upfront, bright pop songs. Nevertheless, the sudden change in direction helped introduce a brand new musical identity from the group.
Paired with exquisite orchestrations and e.one’s signature swingbeat-styled drums, “April Story” was written with a melody that’s nothing short of breathtaking. The same goes for the luscious string section, which creates its own shining moment post-chorus.
8. Sunmi - Gashina
Leaving JYP Entertainment after the Wonder Girls’ disbandment was a risky move by Sunmi. It was, however, one of her best career choices as it marked the first time she fully took control of her artistry.
Switching producers this time around, she asked for the help of The Black Label’s Teddy in creating the dancehall-infused track “Gashina” that has become one of the year’s most iconic songs. Owning each element from the charismatic choreography to the frisky music video, it was the best comeback to re-establish Sunmi as a solo act.
7. BLACKPINK - As If It’s Your Last
Equipped with more mass-appeal and a brighter sound, BLACKPINK’s comeback with “As If It’s Your Last” was heaps different from their previous work. The group went for a lighter pop track with a chorus that sounds like it came straight from an 80s top 40 hit, but it still has the right amount of sass and synthesizers most BLACKPINK tracks have. The song needs to be applauded for its successful crossover between hip-hop and retro, with the group masterfully harmonizing the rap and singing verses to avoid a possible overkill, which could have easily happened due to the opposite nature of the two genres.
6. Red Velvet - Red Flavor
2017 was Red Velvet’s busiest and most victorious year to date, with the group releasing three commercially-successful albums that gave birth to hits like “Rookie,” “Peek-A-Boo,” and “Red Flavor.” While the former two tracks were both exceptional pop cuts, it was “Red Flavor” that truly became the exemplary K-Pop record.
“Red Flavor” was responsible for Red Velvet’s explosion in popularity this year, and rightfully so because of how exceptional the production for this comeback was. Utilizing hard-hitting melodies and straightforward brass sections, the group triumphs in showcasing their delightful “red” side through this bright, effervescent track that stays pop all throughout.
5. Kim Lip (LOONA) - Eclipse
With soon-to-debut girl group LOONA preparing for world domination, the group keeps the public entertained with a string of stunning solo and sub-unit releases that are unbelievably high-caliber. ODD EYE CIRCLE member Kim Lip’s solo debut is one great example.
While any LOONA release from this year can fit into this best-of list, “Eclipse” easily ranks high due to how stunning it is, both musically and visually. The production for the video doesn’t go too overboard, and instead capitalizes on a certain degree of minimalism that does more than the many flashy, colorful sets K-Pop is known for. The track doesn’t stay as minimal, with the progression switching up from time to time, though it leaves room for Kim Lip’s sultry vocals to seep through.
4. Suran - Wine
Written and produced with the help of BTS’s Suga and BigHit producer Slow Rabbit, “Wine” gave Suran her long-awaited breakthrough. Seeing as she remains one of K-Urban’s most distinct voices, it would be a challenge to call anything she puts out substandard. Staying true to her R&B roots, urban gems such as “Love Story” and “1+1=0” came to life this year, but it was the mid tempo tracks like “Wine” that truly showcased her vocal color’s beauty.
3. IU & Oh Hyuk - Can't Love You
It was a mystery as to where IU’s sound was headed after 2015’s CHAT-SHIRE, but with Palette, the musical direction she’s taking seems clearer. While Palette features a variety of genres like funk, ballad, and R&B, IU had each track to fully commit to their respective styles, so there isn’t room for crossovers like those seen previously.
Palette’s best cut is “Can’t Love You Anymore,” a sleek R&B jam that features hyukoh’s Oh Hyuk. Perhaps containing some of IU’s strongest lyrical efforts, it is written in a first-person point-of-view that ends up being an emotional roller-coaster. The bridge, which features the two vocalists singing their respective lines in a Q&A manner, is one of the realest and most entertaining duets of the year.
2. EXID - DDD
Though EXID was missing a key member this year, the group still stood strong with the release of two solid EPs, Eclipse and Full Moon. While Eclipse’s “Night Rather Than Day” was commendable for its silky vibe, Full Moon’s “DDD” was the group’s best hit with its recall to the original EXID sound the public has come to know. It is arguably EXID’s best title track since 2014’s “Up & Down” as it shows off its innovative arrangement and its effective sensual undertones. Its chorus remains one of the year’s most dynamic, and the simple four-note hums the song utilizes as its hook makes it one of the smartest of the year.
1. TWICE - SIGNAL
2017 was a remarkable year for TWICE as it was the year the group not only solidified their top-selling status, but also their position as a global phenomenon. Releasing album after album, the group became responsible for hits that became playlist essentials for Hallyu fans from around the world. One track that may have received a lot of replays is “SIGNAL,” the group’s second single of the year.
Despite being met with mixed responses, “SIGNAL” has prevailed as the year’s best, standing out with its distinct progression. Different from the strange opening hook, the verses and choruses all contain melodies that are very light and catchy—perfect for the urban-infused pop arrangement it contains. Of the four title tracks TWICE has put out this year, “SIGNAL” sounds the most different, and it provided the group with a great opportunity to try out a new sound that, in the end, worked wonders for them.
Now that we’ve revealed the full list of the best female K-Pop tracks of 2017, it’s exciting to look forward to what’s in store for the coming year! Here’s to hoping for more stunning visuals and great music!