Times are a’changing, and maybe tastes aren’t what they used to be. A song by a mega boy group has yet to stay number one in more than one chart, while a “flopped” group is revived from the dead with its strongest comeback ever. A unit that hasn’t been seen in five years resurfaces to challenge the charts. It’s heated competition out there for first place, just like the weather outside.
A Different Top for Every Chart
This week’s release of chart results saw literally a different song take the coveted first place on each chart. HEIZE remains MelOn’s darling with “You, Cloud, Rain” holding a steadfast first place. Mega boy group EXO takes first place on Gaon chart with their reggae-trap bop “Ko Ko Bop.” Meanwhile on Mnet’s chart, JJ Project claims first place. It’s been five years since fans have enjoyed new music from the unit, consisting of GOT7 members Jinyoung and JB. In those five years, the duo officially debuted in a group of seven, and member Jinyoung even left behind his former stage name Jr and rebranded himself as Jinyoung. JJ Project’s newest comeback album Verse 2 is a marked departure from their debut album’s hip-hop sound as well as their main group’s dance-centric music. “Tomorrow, Today” is a beautiful alternative rock melody with soft vocal backings and a driving drum beat to showcase the growth of GOT7’s main and lead vocalists. The whole album is worth a listen as its B-side tracks veer even more into western rock-pop elements. It’s definitely a refreshing genre for idols to tackle, so it’s nice to see the duo’s efforts rewarded with a first place upon release!
Six-membered girl group GFRIEND just made their summer comeback with “LOVE WHISPER” and already nabbed a first place on Bugs! chart. Featuring their signature strings instrumental in a whistling melody, the song is breezy and upbeat enough for the girls to even perform it in their hardest-hitting choreography yet. After a lackluster response to the group’s attempt at challenging a different music genre with “Fingertip,” the girls are out to make sure their titles as innocent first loves remain theirs by falling back on familiar and safe sounds. The song has flairs of 90s girl group songs with its clapping instruments but remains modern enough for the tastes of Koreans streaming the song.
Rise from the Dust
Interestingly enough, while this week saw different songs each claim first place on different charts, old songs and artists resurfaced from the past to maintain relevance. Solo ballad artist Hwang Chiyeol is in for a surprise as his latest song, “A Daily Song,” climbs up the ranks from last week’s tenth place to this week’s third place on Mnet and MelOn. Were Koreans especially feeling like they couldn’t let go of past love this week? Who knows, but we’ll see how the song fares in the upcoming week.
Thanks to the uber popularity of Mnet’s idol survival program Produce 101 Season 2, contestants on the show have enjoyed unbelievable popularity and, in some cases, resurgence of public recognition. This past season witnessed many “failed” idols joining in hopes of more publicity or even a chance to enjoy public adoration. In particular, contestants Jonghyun, Minhyun, Baekho, and Minki of boy group NU’EST, all who went by their birth names for this show, came out of the show as the biggest winners despite not all making the final cut. With member Minhyun’s foremost obligation as a member of Wanna One, remaining members plus Aron, who did not participate in the show, formed a new unit NU’EST W. Thanks to their efforts on the show, they now enjoy a second place with their single “If You” on Gaon, the highest rank the group has ever experienced since their debut five years ago. Now the public can’t believe why they were so blind in the past to the talent and looks of the members. Members continue to remain relevant on forums, and even old songs like “Hello” received renewed interest to the point the unit released a 2017 version. With such surging popularity, no one can call them a “flopped” group again!
If you are a Korean in your 20s and 30s, you will have spent coming-of-age with legendary ballad-rock group Buzz. Ask any Korean male especially, and he will have at least two of their songs memorized by heart only to make his own rendition at karaoke when enlistment comes knocking. The ballad-rock group may be foreign to overseas fans of K-Pop, but the group has hit after hit under its 14-year-old belt. Helmed by main vocalist Min Kyunghoon (younger audiences may recognize the name from popular variety show Knowing Brothers), the band provides a fairly melodic mix to an otherwise solid rock musical sound, and their latest song “The Love” attests to their tried-and-true sound. With the global reach of K-Pop nowadays, let’s hope Buzz enjoys success with international audiences too, because they certainly do on home soil with their song ranking fourth.
Rounding out the bottom of the Top 10 is now four-membered group WINNER. Since the departure of a former member, the quartet has experienced a rebranding in both image and in sound. Having taken on a more sunny disposition and influenced heavily by EDM, the group has enjoyed success with their previous comeback song “Really, Really” continuing to rank in charts months later. Leaving behind their sentimental, and at times moody, vibes that made them “monster rookies” in the first place, the group hopes to show that they can be fun and flirty too with their new EDM-centric music. Fans only had to wait a mere seven months for the group to come back with double title tracks “Island” and “Love Me, Love Me.” As the name suggests, “Island” is a tropical-flavored EDM song coupled with playful lyrics and an equally playful music video. Rap parts and vocal lines flow seamlessly from one to the other, a feat easier said than done.
It’s the group’s second track “Love Me, Love Me” that rounds up the Top 10 charts. Debuting at tenth place, the song is a sensible fusion of alternative rock elements and EDM. As a testament to the musicality of the group, the song offers fans a more subdued yet nonetheless intricate sound that is oddly, though not unwelcome, reminiscent of their earlier eras. Maybe that’s why the song is a stronger chart performer so far.
So many songs, so many genres! What’s your favorite song of the moment? Which group will nab first place in next week’s charts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!