Favorites of 2021: May

(I feel like this post comes out later every time I do it, but life has been truly crazy lately @.@) Up until this point, picking a few favorites each month was pretty easy. I found myself naturally gravitating towards some comebacks more than others, and everything just kind of fell into place. But now that more and more groups are starting to drop new music, it’s getting really difficult. May had so many great releases that I had a really hard time choosing just four! I managed to narrow things down for my monthly favorites, but don’t be surprised to see a bunch of May songs pop up in my ongoing year-long lists.

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

This Month’s Favorites

NOTE: Like I mentioned last month, I decided to move ITZY here since they came back on April 31st. Similarly, I’m going to leave artists who made comebacks on May 31st until the June Favorites post.

Favorite SongFavorite DanceFavorite Music Video
#1NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce”
aespa,
“Next Level”
fromis_9,
“We Go”
#2aespa,
“Next Level”
NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce”
aespa,
“Next Level”
#3ITZY,
“In the Morning”
Oh My Girl,
“Dun Dun Dance”
NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce”
#4BTS,
“Butter”
ITZY,
“In the Morning”
EVERGLOW,
“First”

Favorite Overall Comebacks

(As you can see, my preference for SM artists and music is starting to show more clearly ^^”’ But I promise I like lots of different artists, too!!!)

#1: aespa, “Next Level”

It was really tough deciding between “Next Level” and “Hot Sauce” for this month’s overall favorite comeback – I’d say I was equally invested in both and spent a lot of time on each of them. But ultimately, “Next Level” came out on top because I was really feeling the girl power. The song is so catchy and (mostly) easy to sing along to, and the choreography is so sharp and clean that it’s immensely satisfying to watch. While I won’t pretend to completely understand aespa’s overarching narrative, I’m certainly excited to get to know more. (Read my post about it here.)

#2: NCT Dream, “Hot Sauce”

NCT has reached a whole new level of popularity within the past year, and it’s been fascinating to see that play out. It was the perfect time for NCT Dream to make a strong impact by trying out a more powerful sound, which they certainly delivered with “Hot Sauce.” I liked it from the beginning, but I found myself getting more and more addicted over time. It’s just so darn catchy! (Read my post about it here.)

#3: ITZY, “In the Morning”

I love girl crush songs, and I was so excited that ITZY decided to go all in on one that highlighted their strong and fierce attitudes. Though it sounds super serious, I enjoy how the lyrics are kind of playful and compare falling for their charms to playing the popular Mafia game. Though I wish the choreography didn’t lean quite so heavily on the gun imagery, I truly think everything about “In the Morning” is extremely well-done. (Read my post about it here.)

#4: Oh My Girl, “Dun Dun Dance”

Oh My Girl has served up another bop to help us transition from spring to summer. It’s a little too high for this certified alto to sing along, but it’s so catchy that I’m constantly trying to. I also love the dance, which I think might be one of the most entertaining and well-choreographed ones I’ve seen so far this year. I’m so proud that Oh My Girl is becoming more popular and well-known, and I’m happy that they’ve been able to keep their fun and quirky style in their music. (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 May

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

#1: NCT Dream, Hot Sauce

#2: ITZY, Guess Who

#3: Oh My Girl, Dear OHMYGIRL

B-Sides

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

ArtistAlbumB-Sides I Like
ITZYGuess Who (4th mini album)“Sorry Not Sorry”
“Kidding Me”
NCT DreamHot Sauce (1st full album)“Dive Into You”
“Rocket”
Oh My GirlDear OHMYGIRL (8th mini album)“My Doll”
“Quest”
Taemin (SHINee)Advice (3rd mini album)“If I Could Tell You” feat. Taeyeon

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.

Yesung (Super Junior), “Beautiful Night”

While Yesung’s latest comeback isn’t really my style, I still wanted to give him a shoutout because I find the song so sweet and endearing. I tend to think of him as an emotional ballad guy, but tracks like “Beautiful Night” are a nice reminder of how versatile he really is. And the music video is absolutely adorable!

Yuqi ((G)I-DLE), “Bonnie and Clyde”

Yuqi is probably my favorite member of (G)I-DLE, so I was absolutely thrilled to see her dropping solo music. Her lower huskier voice is so pretty and appealing, and I love to hear it. I honestly liked both of her new songs, but I went with “Bonnie and Clyde” because I think it showed a different and more mature side to her – and it made me really interested to see what she can do.

Jay B, “Switch It Up” feat. sokodomo

Jay B literally just signed with H1GHR Music a hot minute ago, and he’s already delivering some quality music. I like high-energy songs, so I normally don’t go for the mellower stuff… but “Switch It Up” is just so relaxed and chill that I find it super pleasant to listen to. It’s a sound that suits Jay B perfectly, and I look forward to seeing him explore that more as a soloist.

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.

There are different colors to indicate any changes in the table from the previous month:

  • (NEW) means something has appeared in the Top 10 for the first time.
  • (+#) means that it’s gone up in my rankings.
  • (-#) means that it’s gone down in my rankings.
  • No mark means that there’s no change from last month.

Right now, my habit is paying attention to a comeback for a certain amount of time and then taking a break from it. It’s usually only in the second half of the year that I start revisiting music and re-evaluating my opinions. Also, I haven’t had as much time to listen to or watch K-pop in general lately. So, there aren’t many songs moving up my lists at this point – it’s mostly just me adding in my new favorites of the month and shifting the chart accordingly. The significant changes are more likely to come later in the year.

Favorite SongFavorite DanceFavorite Music Video
#1SHINee,
“Don’t Call Me”
aespa,
“Next Level” (NEW)
fromis_9,
“We Go” (NEW)
#2NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce” (NEW)
SHINee,
“Don’t Call Me” (-1)
aespa,
“Next Level” (NEW)
#3aespa,
“Next Level” (NEW)
NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce” (NEW)
NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce” (NEW)
#4ASTRO,
“ONE” (-2)
Oh My Girl,
“Dun Dun Dance” (NEW)
SHINee,
“Atlantis” (-3)
#5ITZY,
“In the Morning” (NEW)
ASTRO,
“ONE” (-3)
EVERGLOW,
“First” (NEW)
#6BTS,
“Butter” (NEW)
SHINee,
“Atlantis” (-3)
Baekhyun (EXO), “Bambi” (-5)
#7SHINee,
“Atlantis” (NEW)
ITZY,
“In the Morning” (NEW)
Golden Child,
“Burn It” (-4)
#8Rosé (BLACKPINK),
“On the Ground” (-5)
BTS,
“Butter” (NEW)
Sunmi,
“Tail” (-4)
#9Super Junior,
“House Party” (-5)
Sunmi,
“Tail” (-5)
PURPLE KISS,
“Ponzoña” (-4)
#10Oh My Girl,
“Dun Dun Dance” (NEW)
Super Junior,
“House Party” (-5)
ITZY,
“In the Morning” (NEW)

My Listening Stats for K-pop in 2021 (as of May)

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

Most Played SongsMost Played ArtistsMost Played Albums
#1Super Junior,
“House Party”
Super JuniorSuper Junior,
The Renaissance
#2ITZY,
“In the Morning” (NEW)
NCT Dream (NEW)NCT Dream,
Hot Sauce (NEW)
#3SHINee,
“Don’t Call Me” (+1)
SHINee*ITZY,
Guess Who (NEW)
#4Rosé (BLACKPINK),
“On the Ground” (+1)
ITZY (NEW)SHINee,
Don’t Call Me (-2)
#5(G)I-DLE,
“HWAA” (-3)
(G)I-DLE (-2)(G)I-DLE,
I Burn (-2)
#6WayV,
“Kick Back”
ASTRO (+4)NU’EST,
Romanticize (+4)
#7ASTRO,
“ONE” (+3)
WayV (-2)Cosmic Girls,
Unnatural (-2)
#8NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce” (NEW)
Cosmic Girls (-1)Chungha,
Querencia (-4)
#9PURPLE KISS,
“Ponzoña” (+2)
NU’EST (NEW)ASTRO,
All Yours (-2)
#10SHINee,
“Atlantis” (NEW)
Red Velvet (-2)Baekhyun (EXO),
Bambi (-1)

*Technically, NCT Dream and SHINee are currently tied for second place in “Most Played Artists” because Apple Music says I’ve listened to them for the same amount of time. However, NCT Dream is listed first because I’ve been playing album a lot more recently.
(Also, I can’t believe how much I listened to ITZY and NCT Dream this month… that’s way more than I thought I had XD )

Favorite Releases of the Year

I FINALLY made it to a Top 10! (And to absolutely no one’s surprise, SM artists are sitting in the Top 3 spots LOL) I’m sure after June, this is going to start changing around a lot more. (Keep in mind that this category isn’t just about how much I like a comeback and its separate elements, but also how invested I am in it – how much time I spend listening to music, watching videos, tracking promotions, etc.)

  1. aespa, “Next Level” (NEW)
  2. SHINee, “Don’t Call Me” (-1)
  3. NCT Dream, “Hot Sauce” (NEW)
  4. ASTRO, “ONE” (-2)
  5. ITZY, “In the Morning” (NEW)
  6. Super Junior, “House Party” (-3)
  7. (G)I-DLE, “HWAA” (-3)
  8. SHINee, “Atlantis” (-3)
  9. Rosé (BLACKPINK), “On the Ground” (-3)
  10. PURPLE KISS, “Ponzoña” (-3)

Favorite Albums and B-Sides of the Year

Favorite AlbumsFavorite B-Sides
#1Super Junior,
The Renaissance
Baekhyun (EXO),
“All I’ve Got”
#2NCT Dream,
Hot Sauce (NEW)
NCT Dream,
“Rocket” (NEW)
#3SHINee,
Don’t Call Me (-1)
Super Junior,
“Burn the Floor” (-1)
#4Cosmic Girls,
Unnatural (-1)
ITZY,
“Sorry Not Sorry” (NEW)
#5ITZY,
Guess Who (NEW)
Super Junior,
“Tell Me Baby” (-2)
#6(G)I-DLE,
I Burn (-2)
SHINee,
“Body Rhythm” (-2)
#7NU’EST,
Romanticize (-1)
NCT Dream,
“Dive Into You” (NEW)
#8PURPLE KISS,
Into Violet (-3)
Cosmic Girls,
“Super Moon” (-3)
#9Baekhyun (EXO),
Bambi (-3)
NU’EST,
“Black” (-3)
#10Oh My Girl,
Dear OHMYGIRL (NEW)
Dreamcatcher,
“Poison Love” (-3)

SOURCES: YouTube, Cube Entertainment (Yuqi), H1GHR Music (Jay B), JYP Entertainment (ITZY), SM Entertainment (Yesung / Taemin / NCT Dream / aespa), WM Entertainment (Oh My Girl)

Cover Image: SM Entertainment (aespa)

2 thoughts on “Favorites of 2021: May

  1. So interesting – based on your Top 10 projections for the year so far I can already tell that our lists are going to be wildly different hahaha! But I love that SuJu are still ruling the roost in your household!

    Will you be doing a mid-year list separate to your month list at the end of this month?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha yeah I have a feeling our lists will be super different, but that’s part of the fun!
      And yes I’m planning on doing a mid-year list!

      Liked by 1 person

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