Favorites of 2021: July

(We’re basically halfway into August, but whatever LOL) July was kind of a slow month for K-pop – I was actually surprised at how few comebacks there were, but I guess no one wanted to overlap with the Olympics. Since there wasn’t a lot happening, I ended up changing my music listening habits. I spent a lot of time on older K-pop (instead of just this year’s new singles) and going back through some of my favorite groups’ discographies. If I did listen to newer music, it was mostly stuff that popped up at the end of June like NCT Dream’s “Hello Future” and 2PM’s “Make It.” That being said, I did like most of July’s new music and I want to show it some love!

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

This Month’s Favorites

Favorite SongFavorite DanceFavorite Music Video
#1SF9,
“Tear Drop”
SF9,
“Tear Drop”
Taeyeon,
“Weekend”
#2Taeyeon,
“Weekend”
Dreamcatcher,
“BEcause”
Jeon Soyeon,
“Beam Beam”
#3Dreamcatcher,
“BEcause”
Taeyeon,
“Weekend”
SF9,
“Tear Drop”
#4Jeon Soyeon,
“Beam Beam”
BTS,
“Permission to Dance”
D.O.,
“Rose”

Favorite Overall Comebacks

#1: SF9, “Tear Drop”

I’ve been following SF9 since their debut, and their appearance on Kingdom has made me even more attached and protective of them. I honestly can’t believe “Tear Drop” got so little attention – people are seriously missing out. Everything about it is so sophisticated and elegant. I’m rather salty that they’re still so underrated, but they were easily #1 in my eyes this month. (Read my post about it here.)

#2: Taeyeon, “Weekend”

This woman is seriously fantastic at everything she does, and her latest single “Weekend” doesn’t disappoint. It’s light and breezy, catchy as hell, and. a serious contender for “song of the summer.” And her gorgeous music video is filled with fun retro references for her fellow millennials. (Read my post about it here.)

#3: Jeon Soyeon, “Beam Beam”

Soyeon has always been incredibly talented: she can sing, rap, dance, AND compose songs. Her official solo debut more than proves that she really CAN do it all. “Beam Beam” shows off her fun and playful side, but it also has a ton of attitude and sass – which I am 100% here for. (Read my post about it here.)

#4: Dreamcatcher, “BEcause”

I was hesitant about including this one since it was released at end of the month, but I’m going ahead because there was so little to choose from in July. Dreamcatcher brings their A-game as always, delivering a chilling song about love that’s become obsession. From the choreography to the music video, it’s easy to see why this group has a reputation as visual storytellers. (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 July

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

#1: SF9, Turn Over

#2: D.O. (EXO), Empathy

#3: Dreamcatcher, Summer Holiday

B-Sides

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

ArtistAlbumB-Sides I Like
D.O. (EXO)Empathy
(1st mini album)
“I’m Gonna Love You (feat. Wonstein)”
“I’m Fine”
DreamcatcherSummer Holiday
(special mini album)
“Airplane”
“Alldaylong”
Jeon SoyeonWindy
(1st mini album)
“Quit”
“Is This Bad B****** Number” feat. Bibi and Lee Youngji
SF9Turn Over
(9th mini album)
“Off My Mind”
“Hey Hi Bye”

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 table:

  • (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.
Favorite SongFavorite DanceFavorite Music Video
#1NCT Dream,
“Hello Future” (+1)
aespa,
“Next Level”
aespa,
“Next Level” (+1)
#2LIGHTSUM,
“Vanilla” (-1)
NCT Dream,
“Hello Future”
2PM,
“Make It” (+1)
#3aespa,
“Next Level” (+1)
SHINee,
“Don’t Call Me”
NCT Dream,
“Hello Future” (+1)
#4SHINee,
“Don’t Call Me” (-2)
NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce”
fromis_9,
“We Go” (-3)
#52PM,
“Make It” (+2)
2PM,
“Make It”
Taeyeon,
“Weekend” (NEW)
#6NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce” (-1)
SF9,
“Tear Drop” (NEW)
SHINee,
“Atlantis” (+1)
#7SHINee,
“Atlantis” (-1)
SHINee,
“Atlantis” (+1)
NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce” (-3)
#8ITZY,
“In the Morning” (+1)
Oh My Girl,
“Dun Dun Dance” (-2)
SEVENTEEN,
“Ready to Love” (-2)
#9ASTRO,
“ONE” (-1)
LIGHTSUM,
“Vanilla” (-1)
Monsta X,
“Gambler” (-1)
#10SF9,
“Tear Drop” (NEW)
TWICE,
“Alcohol-Free” (-1)
Dreamcatcher,
“BEcause” (NEW)

Now that I’ve spent a lot of time with most of these songs, my initial opinions of them are starting to shift. In past months, songs have usually stayed around the same place or moved down to make room for the newer ones – so it’s really interesting to see how some of them are starting to go up.

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

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”
NCT DreamNCT Dream,
Hot Sauce
#3aespa,
“Next Level”
SHINeeITZY,
Guess Who
#4NCT Dream,
“Hot Sauce” (+5)
Red Velvet (+5)Kingdom: Final Episode (+2)
#5SHINee,
“Don’t Call Me” (-1)
ITZY (-1)SHINee,
Don’t Call Me (-1)
#6Rosé,
“On the Ground” (-1)
(G)I-DLE (-1)(G)I-DLE,
I Burn (-1)
#7LIGHTSUM,
“Vanilla” (NEW)
SF9 (NEW)NU’EST,
Romanticize (+1)
#8ASTRO,
“ONE”
SEVENTEEN (NEW)Cosmic Girls,
Unnatural (-1)
#9WayV,
“Kick Back” (-2)
Oh My Girl (NEW)Chungha,
Querencia
#10(G)I-DLE,
“HWAA” (-4)
NU’EST (-4)2PM,
Must (NEW)
  • As expected, Super Junior continues to dominate the charts.
  • If I recall correctly, there’s not a huge difference in plays between the Top 5 songs. #1-3 are somewhere in the forties, and #4-5 are upper thirties – but I think there’s really just a few plays between each ranking. There might be a drastic change in coming months
  • Red Velvet jumped up my Most Listened to Artists list because I’m preparing for their upcoming comeback, so I’m sure they’ll rise even higher by August’s end.

Favorite Releases of the Year

This category isn’t just about how much I like a comeback and its separate elements. Those definitely play a factor, but I also consider how invested I am in it – how much time I spend listening to music, watching videos, tracking promotions, etc.

Last time, I didn’t actually include this section in June’s edition since I decided to make a mid-year post about my favorite songs so far. Compared to then, my Top 10 comebacks have somewhat drastically shifted. This is because when I wrote the other post, I really tried to consider all of my listening habits and preferences throughout the entire first six months of the year. But now, I’m back to a month to month basis and focusing on how I feel right now. (Or technically, right at the end of July.)

  1. aespa, “Next Level”
  2. NCT Dream, “Hot Sauce”
  3. NCT Dream, “Hello Future” (+3)
  4. 2PM, “Make It” (+6)
  5. SHINee, “Don’t Call Me” (-2)
  6. LIGHTSUM, “Vanilla” (+2)
  7. SHINee, “Atlantis” (-2)
  8. ITZY, “In the Morning” (-4)
  9. Super Junior, “House Party” (-2)
  10. SF9, “Tear Drop” (NEW)

(LOL at how the two NCT Dream releases are right next to each other… that’s because I pay pretty much equal attention to them right now, but that’s probably going to change soon.)

Favorite Albums and B-Sides of the Year

Favorite AlbumsFavorite B-Sides
#1Super Junior,
The Renaissance
NCT Dream,
“Rocket” (+1)
#2NCT Dream,
Hot Sauce
Baekhyun,
“All I’ve Got” (-1)
#32PM,
Must (+1)
ITZY,
“Sorry Not Sorry” (+1)
#4SHINee,
Don’t Call Me (-1)
Super Junior,
“Burn the Floor” (-1)
#5ITZY,
Guess Who (+1)
NCT Dream,
“Dive Into You” (+2)
#6(G)I-DLE,
I Burn (+1)
2PM,
“Champagne” (+3)
#7Cosmic Girls,
Unnatural (-2)
Super Junior,
“Tell Me Baby” (-2)
#8EXO,
Don’t Fight the Feeling
SHINee,
“Body Rhythm” (-2)
#9NU’EST,
Romanticize (+1)
TXT,
“Anti-Romantic” (-1)
#10TXT,
The Chaos Chapter: Freeze (-1)
TWICE,
“Scandal”

SOURCES: YouTube, Cube Entertainment (Jeon Soyeon), FNC Entertainment (SF9), Happy Face Entertainment (Dreamcatcher), SM Entertainment (Taeyeon/D.O.)

Cover Image Idols: SF9 (FNC Entertainment)

2 thoughts on “Favorites of 2021: July

  1. “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.” Yes yes yes! I’m like this too! Except I’ve tried to force myself to listen to some albums and because I have over 1,000+ songs on my main playlist, songs I end up adding now will probably be forgotten about until they come on shuffle play. So I either have a “oh I forgot this was in here, it’s amazing!” reaction or a “Oh. Why did I add this?” reaction

    Liked by 1 person

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