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[K-Pop] Top 20 Ranking 2014

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…And here it goes again, like last year: My personal ranking of songs that came out in 2014 and impressed me in any way to a point that I’m still listening to them today.
I’ll try not to be too biased towards songs that came out recently, but also consider songs from this years’ beginning. 2014 has been a year full of too many good songs for me, so it was really hard to draw my conclusion. Let’s see…~

20. “Snake” – A-Jax


While A-Jax ranked pretty high last year, I barely heard anything from them this year. Still,  this song managed to sneak inside my head and made itself quite comfortable there. While the video is kinda cute at best, but rather clisheé overall, the song itself is somehow catchy and kept me in a good mood. It’s an easy-going song, but somehow the chorus melody just goes well with me~ I hope they’ll be more successful this year!

19. “Peekaboo!” – ToppDogg


…And here goes the low-budget video of ToppDogg’s rap quartet! But seriously, who needs a spectacular video, if you can have this instead? This is a powerful rapsong I have a lot of fun listening to. And it’s catchy. Ooooh, so catchy.

18. “MILK” – f(x)


What is this? A Girlband? ;)
Like last year my attention has only been sparked by a very few groups. Including f(x). Their album “RED LIGHT” was so full of unique songs, it was hard for me to decide on one for this ranking. I’ll go with “MILK”, though, since it has this mix of weird and catchy. Imagine my cat when I first listened to this on speakers. Poor thing was so confused.

17. “Delilah” – BIGFLO


Time to include some Rookies! While most new bands couldn’t actually hold my attention for long(like WINNER, Mad Town and all those other bands I even forgot the name of), this song actually got through to me. I should probably find this try-hard, considering the video with the boring fashion and the aweful CG’s. Still, somehow this song is just so much fun. It has this rough and powerful arrangement that stands out for me.
And overall I regard it as a pretty good debut song. Sure, you can see clearly what the agency tries to depict, but as I said, it’s only a debut. I look forward to their further development.

16. “BANGx2” – B.A.P


Bang, Bang~!
I’m not excaggerating when I state that “First Sensibility” has seriously been this years’ highlight for me. There’s not one track that’s boring, not one track I wouldn’t have deliberately played. It’s even more hard to pick one of this album… I picked “Bangx2” for two reasons. The first being that it was the first song on the album that really hooked me. And secondly, because of its’ sheer amount of brave experimentalism. You can almost hear bandleader/producer Bang Yongguk thinking: Oh, well, “no more gloomy songs” they said. “Make something different“, they said. Tss, so be it. Take this, and this, and thiiis… An R’nB song, an electronic club song, a jazzy one… And ’cause why the heck not doing a rock-song as well? You happy now?
And, uh, yeah, I am. More than happy, actually.
A real rock-feeling in K-Pop. That’s new.
God, I hope B.A.P will overcome their struggles this year.

15. “Forever Young” – GOT7


The most relaxing and calm song on this ranking! While I can still not get into GOT7 no matter how hard I try, there are certain exceptions. Like this track. The melancholic yet somewhat soothing song has kept me company while I aimlessly wandered through the streets of Tokyo :)

14. “Meet me” – C-Clown


C-Clown are just so underrated. They’ve been in the game for quite long and are full of interesting marketing ideas. I’m really surprised by their lack of popularity. Oh well, maybe 2015 will be their year.
“Meet me” is a really good Hip-Hop track. It doesn’t actually introduce anything incredibly new, but still manages to do nothing wrong as well as not boring me at all. My favourite about it is the energetic chorus. I’d love to go to a club to this.

13. “Fantastic” – Henry


Oh, Henry… I’m so crazy for so many guys, but Henry is one of those few idols that just draw a smile out of me without doing anything(with others being Park Kyung and Chanyeol for example). Little bias-wrecker. I’ve always regarded him as terribly underrated. He’s such a talented little fluff of adorableness.
His whole minialbum is worth listening to, but since “Fantastic” has this great dramatic violin-solo… I was hooked by this the most. Don’t mind the weird CG-effects of the video, though. It might be a little turn-off.
Now I’m wishing for another collaboration with Amber.

12. “BORN HATER” – Epik High


I’ll be honest here: I’ve never paid any attention to Epik High, to the point of not knowing a single song from them. Yeah, shame on me. And I also closed the musicvideo after I saw cockroaches in it. ‘Cause eww.
But still, this song is so awesome, I’d be a liar not to include it. Even though quite new I can already sense this is the type of song I’ll still listen to next year around. The track is really going into the underground rap direction, with only a minimal chorus and a lot of different rappers. And, oh boy, do I love the verse: “Fuck you, ani – Fuck your ID, ani – Fuck your IP, man I’m sick of you geeks.”

11. “COME BACK HOME” – 2NE1


This song pretty much blew my mind when it came out. I can only say that it met and surpassed all of my expectations for 2NE1. The instrumental is very interesting and intriguing, the song is full of catchy hooks and I enjoy the overall vocals. The little cherry on top is the more than awesome musicvideo. Seriously, if I made musicvideo-rankings, this would so be in the top 3.

10. “HAPPY” – Yano


Let’s get crazy – Like, really crazy. In a disturbing way.
If someone had told me last January that I’d prefer Yano’s mixtape over Jenissi’s, I would have laughed at them. Still, ToppDogg’s maknaes’ mixtape has consequently been in my main playlist ever since it came out in late summer. And that is saying something. This song is so fucked up though, I should maybe not only doubt Yano’s sanity, but also my own, as I’m the one listening to this like crazy.

9. “Midnight Blues” – Super Junior


This song is the incorporation of mellow melancholy. I must say, Super Junior positively surprised me this year. They had a lot of honestly great songs. It’s nice to see them break free from the “Sorry, Sorry”-Curse. Even though I also love Evanesce to death, I choose “Midnight Blues”, which just wouldn’t let me go from the first moment I heard it. It’s just so soft and full of drowned longing.
(I already mentioned it before, but this song is making me use colorful expressions)

8. “ERROR” – VIXX


First things first: VIXX have always gotten my half-suspicious side-glance. For once, their name just sounds so freakin’ awkward in my language(Please don’t make me elaborate that.), and secondly they always, ALWAYS have this super cringe-worthy CG’s in their musicvideos. The styling? Awesome. The choreography? Awesome. The lyrics and vocals? Awesome.
Just those videos… Ugh.
Still, seeing as this is a music-ranking I’ll include “ERROR”, which greatly hooked me and even inspired me to try my hands on writing again. Actually their whole minialbum consists of good songs only. The song is full of powerful desperation and doesn’t lack the trademark tinge of darkness VIXX-songs tend to have. Me like.

7. “Melted” – Akdong Musician


This song didn’t just hurt my heart. Especially in combination with the musicvideo this song broke my heart into a thousand pieces and threw them down a deep cliff. Am I excaggerating? I dare say anyone doubting me probably hadn’t had a heart in the first place.
This is a song written and produced by children… For children. The duo Akdong musician is still so awefully young and they don’t even try to play along in the adults’ world. Instead they are the voice of all those kids(and probably even some adults) suffering from rejection, disregard and the overall coldness of adults. They use a very colorful language and vocals so beautiful I wanted to cry. And upon seeing the video, crying was all I did! I’m really glad YG is taking those two serious, giving them this great artistic video.
They were a huge hit in Korea while I was there – Hopefully they can keep up the splendid work this year, too.

6. “Body Language” – San E


Now please collect back the pieces of your broken heart, we’re in for a change of mood!
This is by far the hottest song of the year. San E never fails to surprise me with his newest attitude. And while he did a lot of mainstream-like collaborations this year and enjoyed a huge succes with the “Midsummernight’s Dream”, I have been listening to this song instead. His flow is really pleasant to the ear, his language full of witty puns and the song itself is so daring that I couldn’t help but laugh when I first listened to it. “Seriously, San E? You’re doing THIS in Korea? That’s so typical!”
What’s also typical is the musicvideo. He’s just such a dork.
I should really pay attention in the future so I wouldn’t sing along too loud. …’Cause you don’t need to be Korean to get behind the meaning of “Harder, better, stronger, faster~”. A-hem.

5. “Hormone War” – BTS


Yeah, I listened to “Danger” an aweful lot, no denying it. But as soon as I got the full album, I switched to this song. Imagine my delight when I heard they were gonna promote it~
It tells this quirky, yet so typical story of a hormonal teenager in a way that you’re just dragged along, whether you want it or not. It’s a flurry of emotions all under the sign of the arrogant teenage boy, that is fully convinced he knows everything and he knows it better than you. The type to pounce onto a woman and rather scares her away than anything. So, all in one it’s a hilariously entertaining song where you never know just how seriously they all take this world-view. If they do it, at all.

4. “Jackpot” – Block B


When I made this ranking, the first and most pressing question was indeed: “Her” or “Jackpot”? Seeing as it’s Block B it’s a question of: Insanity or Madness?
They have been going pretty strong this year, to the delight of all the BBC’s that had been waiting so patiently.
“Jackpot” is in a way a present to those fans and a way of celebrating the ongoing of the band. So much for the topic. Now to the way of expressing those… Listening to this song is like rushing through Alice’s Wonderland all in a span of a mere 3 minutes. It’s full of fun, slightly weird and intriguing rhythms, and topped off with a chorus boasting with positive energy.
As for the video… It totally covers my Alice in Wonderland-theory. It’s… Eccentric, as we are used to it by Block B. I already made a full-blown review on it, so I’ll keep it short: This shit is so crazy, you could almost miss the system behind it. And I’m loving every second of it.

3. “1004” – B.A.P


We’re reaching the top 3 and with it my level of swooning over each song increases rapidly. “1004”, pronounced as the Korean word for “Angel”, has been so awesome, that I still can’t stop getting emotional over listening to it – even though it came out very early this year.
Yeah, it’s not your stereotypical B.A.P song that wants to kick asses; but then again, which track on their album has been(besides the intro)?
This track displays so many genuine and pure emotions, it constricts my heart again and again. The lyrics are flawless, as we’re all used to from Yongguk. The beautiful thing is that you’re free to interpret whether the lost person has simply gone away or passed away. I’m determined the person has died, but it’s up to anyone. All of the members have their time to shine, but Himchan absolutely broke my heart with his brilliant acting. Coming to speak of it, the musicvide is also brilliant as always, full of beautiful settings that quietly tell the story of someone desperately lost. Lost in his thoughts, lost in memories, and lost in life.

2. “Psycho” – HISTORY


The second place goes toooo… History!
…What, who’s that? Well, History are kinda new to the market and unfortunately still widely unknown. Still, this song is beyond awesome. Not only is it catchy, it is full-blown creepy. And we all know how much of a sucker for creepiness I am(especially after seeing rank 10). Sure, there are plenty of songs that want to be a little dark. Plenty of songs covering jealousy and the sorts. But the fact is: They are merely trying to be what this song is. The lyrics are extreme, not shying away at all and pretty much voice out every girls’ nightmare. “You thought it was over if you broke up with me? Well, you’ve been wrong.” The lyrics itself drive a chill down my spine.
But the fascination comes with the almost casual up-beat-like character of this song. The singer’s voices are conveying the emotions brilliantly for me – They go from taunting to happiness to desperation in very fine nuances. It’s like the picture of a truly unpredictable guy. That type of guy that would raise his knife with a smile, not even realising what he’s about to do.
This song will forever have a well-deserved spot in my “Creepy”-Playlist.
(Why yes, I do have a playlist like that.)

1. “Thunder” – EXO


My number one this year has got to be this song.
(Leave it to me to fangirl hard over a song without proper promotion.)
Yes, I’ll admit that upon the first listen of the “Overdose” Minialbum I wasn’t too thrilled. Besides “Thunder” there was no song that promised to be interesting. And even though the song starts out with this off-putting “Du du du”-thing, I couldn’t help but to be hooked. The overall arrangement of the song has something unique I never encountered before, though I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is. Well, I’m neither a producer nor a music expert after all. All I know is that the song conveys a very certain atmosphere. While listening to it, I’ve always had very clear images in mind of semi-dark rooms where you can see the grey sky through your old window, the wind howling quietly through trees without leafs… I don’t think my language is colorful enough to even describe it. The song feels like some sort of loneliness, accompanied by longing and a yearning so strong it pulls at my insides. Especially the sound of glass being smashed and then reverted back fits so well into this atmosphere.
The lyrics are easy in vocabulary but equally colorful. The analogy of someone suddenly entering your life and brightening it up like lightning, while you can only mourn the loss belatedly like thunder has something very beautiful to it.
The vocals are impressive and are what made me discover my potential love for Baekhyun. Additionally, especially D.O’s vocals are what give the song the distinct smooth and sensual feeling; though the husky and deep voice of Chanyeol definitely doesn’t hurt, either.
The live version of this song has proven itself to give the song an interesting spin for me – I would have never expected this kind of choreography, though it kinda makes sense and fits in nicely. Still, it’s unexpectedly… Sexy? Or maybe that’s just Kai and Baekhyun, oozing of charisma while enthusiastically going with the hip thrusts.
Whatever it is, it only added to my never-ending love for this song!


 

*Phew* That was a long list! Maybe you found some of your favourites in there? If not, let me list a few songs that are fantastic as well and should not be completely disregarded:

“Her” – Block B – The Block B version of romance -> a giddy and colorful mess!
“Pretty Boy” – Taemin feat. Kai – Revolution of the manly stereotype, go!
“Lucky” – Exo’s Chen – It’s SO cheesy, but his vocals are sooo good…!
“Dress up” – Boy’s Republic – this band has only ever released cool songs, it’s amazing
“Today, for sure” – B.A.P – always manages to make me smile~
“Love Love Love” – EXO – especially the acoustic version is really nice
“Arario” – ToppDogg – Traditional Korean music meets rap? Hell yeah.

Conclusion:
This has been a great year for K-Pop – May 2015 be as great! *imaginary cheers*

Minnie

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Author: Minnie

Hello! ♪ I'm a fashion student from Germany. My interests involve Music (videos), Asian Tv dramas, Games, and many other things. I can speak English, German and a very poor Japanese ;) Nice to meet you~ ♪

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