Favorites of 2021: February

While January had more releases than I expected, February marked a return to those more typical winter months that are slower for K-pop. While I generally liked most everything that came out, nothing really held my attention or strongly suited my tastes until about halfway through the month. I usually have lots of favorites during times where there are lots of comebacks, but the same few names kept popping up over and over for February. And I was surprisingly mostly into solo music, which was a nice change of pace since that isn’t really common for me!

*Please remember that all of the following is my own personal opinion!*

This Month’s Favorites

Favorite SongFavorite DanceFavorite Music Video
#1SHINee, “Don’t Call Me”SHINee, “Don’t Call Me”Sunmi, “Tail”
#2Sunmi, “Tail”Sunmi, “Tail”ONF, “Beautiful Beautiful”
#3Chungha, “Bicycle”Chungha, “Bicycle”Chungha, “Bicycle”
#4Kang Daniel, “Paranoia”Kang Daniel, “Paranoia”SHINee, “Don’t Call Me”

Favorite Overall Comebacks

#1: SHINee, “Don’t Call Me”

I like all of SHINee’s songs, but this is easily my favorite comeback in the five years since I’ve become their fan. This song is exactly my style, and I can’t stop grooving along. It was just the powerful comeback they needed to announce their return from hiatus. Read my post about it here.

#2: Sunmi, “Tail”

Sunmi’s sultry take on the femme fatale is super sexy and empowering, and I can’t get enough. “Tail” is so alluring it’s almost hypnotic, and the unique and creative choreography is a highlight that I’m definitely going to keep watching over and over. Read my post about here.

#3: Chungha, “Bicyle”

Chungha is peak girl crush, and she was one before that trend was even cool. I’ve been waiting for her to do something edgy like “Bicycle” for YEARS, and this comeback didn’t disappoint. I’ve for sure been singing “Get out of my way ya” nonstop for the past couple of weeks. Read my post about it here.

#4: Kang Daniel, “Paranoia”

I never really checked up on Daniel’s music after his Wanna One days, and now I’m really kicking myself for not doing so. “Paranoia” is great as a catchy surface-level pop song, but the lyrics about feeling and experiencing anxiety are also incredibly relatable. Read my post about it here.

Albums and B-Sides I Like

As a K-pop listener, it’s fairly uncommon for me to listen to a whole album consistently. I’ll check one out a few times to see if there’s anything I like; but since I listen to lots of different groups, I spend most of my time rotating through different title tracks. I don’t know why, but it’s just how I’ve always operated. That being said, I think it’s important to acknowledge the work that groups and artists put into their albums. So, I want to point out a few albums and B-sides that piqued my interest.

My Top 3 Albums of February

(You can click on the album’s picture to go to a playlist on YouTube.)

#1: SHINee, Don’t Call Me

#2: Chungha, Querencia

#3: ONF, My Name

B-Sides

(You can click the song title to go to the video on YouTube.)

ArtistAlbumB-Sides I Like
ChunghaQuerencia (1st full album)“Flying on Faith”
“Comes and Goes”
CIX‘HELLO’ Chapter Ø. Hello, Strange Dream (4th mini album)“Round 2”
Kim WooseokDesire (2nd mini album)“Tasty”
ONFMy Name (1st full album)“My Name Is”
“The Realist”
SHINeeDon’t Call Me (7th full album)“CØDE”
“Body Rhythm”
WEiIdentity: Challenge
(2nd mini album)
“Dancing in the Dark”

Special Mentions

This section is kind of a catch-all for different things I want to bring attention to: artists that I don’t normally listen to, songs that I like but don’t have enough material to write a whole post on, songs that I find interesting but aren’t official comebacks, etc.

Soyou and IZ*ONE feat. PH1, “ZERO:ATTITUDE”

(Even though IZ*ONE is fully credited, the song technically features five members: Eunbi, Sakura, Minju, Yuri, and Wonyoung.) I normally don’t listen to songs that are for CFs or advertisements, but this one is so darn catchy?!?! I’m always chanting along to the part that goes: “Attitude, I got new attitude, I got new A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E.” I just love it.

Mark Tuan and Sanjoy, “One in a Million”

I’m not really sure if this counts as K-pop, but I’m still putting it here because Mark is my GOT7 bias. He was the member who used to have the fewest activities – especially musically – so I was absolutely thrilled to hear a new song where he could really shine. And the music video is genuinely adorable.

TRI.BE, “BOOM BOOM TA”

Universal Music Group teamed up with hit producer Shinsadong Tiger to debut this promising new rookie girl group. EXID member LE also had a hand in creating “BOOM BOOM TA,” and I can definitely hear her influence. And the whole thing kind of sounds like a mix between a BLACKPINK song and an ITZY one, which is very on trend. I look forward to seeing what TRI.BE does next.

I.M (Monsta X), “God Damn”

Since I.M is one of the rappers of Monsta X, I was a little surprised that his first solo single was sung – but I’m not complaining because his singing voice is definitely appealing. I definitely enjoy putting this slow jam on in the background when I want to relax.

GOT7, “Encore”

Despite all of GOT7 leaving JYP Entertainment last month, they’re really doing their best to reassure us that they’ll be okay and they’ll keep making music together. “Encore” is a beautiful ballad that sounds like something sung at the end of a concert. Though I’m not much of a ballad person, I watched this with my friends and we all cried together. Ugh, I just love GOT7 so much.

This Year’s Favorites (So Far)

One of the reasons I created this column was so I could keep track of my favorites in “real time” as I progressed through 2021. This year, I hope to release several new end of year favorites posts in addition to my regular Top 50 (if I can get my act together). So, I hope that writing these down every month will help me better remember exactly how I felt about everything later on.

Since we’re still pretty early in the year, I haven’t quite gotten to ten favorites of anything yet. But, I’ll start doing a Top 10 of everything in either March or April.

Favorite SongFavorite DanceFavorite Music Video
#1SHINee
“Don’t Call Me”
SHINee
“Don’t Call Me”
Golden Child
“Burn It”
#2(G)I-DLE
“HWAA”
Sunmi
“Tail”
Sunmi
“Tail”
#3Sunmi
“Tail”
Chungha
“Bicycle”
(G)I-DLE
“HWAA”
#4Victon
“What I Said”
Victon
“What I Said”
ONF
“Beautiful Beautiful”
#5Dreamcatcher
“Odd Eye”
(G)I-DLE
“HWAA”
Dreamcatcher
“Odd Eye”
#6Chungha
“Bicycle”
Kang Daniel
“Paranoia”
Chungha
“Bicycle”
#7Cherry Bullet
“Love So Sweet”
TREASURE
“My Treasure”
SHINee
“Don’t Call Me”
#8Kang Daniel
“Paranoia”
Cherry Bullet
“Love So Sweet”
ONEUS
“No DIggity”

My Most Listened To K-Pop Songs of 2021 (as of February)

NOTE: These are primarily based on my Apple Music Replay stats.

  1. (G)I-DLE, “HWAA”
  2. SHINee, “Don’t Call Me”
  3. Yunho (TVXQ), “Eeny Meeny”
  4. Cherry Bullet, “Love So Sweet”
  5. Victon, “What I Said”
  6. IU, “Celebrity”
  7. Dreamcatcher, “Odd Eye”
  8. Chungha, “Bicycle”
  9. Sunmi, “Tail”
  10. Kang Daniel, “Paranoia”

Favorite Releases of the Year

This sub-section is a little tricky for now because although I’ve liked plenty of songs/dances/music videos, there aren’t many things I loved. And when I rank my releases, I factor in how much I was involved – aka how many times I watched the music video/performances, how often I listened to it, whether I watched the artists on variety shows, etc. Basically, how obsessed I was with it. For now, there are only two comebacks where I really was all in: SHINee’s “Don’t Call Me” and (G)I-DLE’s “HWAA.” So I don’t have enough to make an actual numbered list, but I’m sure I will soon!

Favorite Albums and B-Sides of the Year

Favorite AlbumsFavorite B-Sides
#1SHINee, Don’t Call MeSHINee, “Body Rhythm”
#2(G)I-DLE, I Burn(G)I-DLE, “MOON”
#3Chungha, QuerenciaDreamcatcher, “Poison Love”
#4Victon, VOICE: The Future is NowVicton, “Chess”
#5HyunA, I’m Not CoolCherry Bullet, “Keep Your Head Up”

SOURCES: YouTube*, Abyss Company (Sunmi), C9 Entertainment (CIX), GOT7’s (new) YouTube channel, Konnect Entertainment (Kang Daniel), Mark Tuan’s YouTube channel), MNH Entertainment (Chungha), OUI Entertainment (WEi), SM Entertainment (SHINee), Starship Entertainment (Soyou/IZ*ONE/PH1 and I.M), TOP Media (Kim Wooseok), Universal Music Group (TRI.BE), WM Entertainment (ONF)
*Most YouTube album playlists are made by the artist’s official channel, but ONF didn’t have one. Their album playlist was compiled by user zbx.

Featured Image is of SHINee and belongs to SM Entertainment.

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