While b-sides are generally the songs that speak more to my soul, title tracks are what fuel the absolute fangirl in me. I don’t know what it is about them but I lose it over a good, old-fashion pop song which is something I haven’t always been fond of as a K-Pop fan. Clearly I’ve grown musically so give me a second to celebrate myself for a second…
I know my b-side list tended to focus mainly around the same kind of groups but I made an effort to switch things up to make sure I didn’t use the same artist more than once if possible. There are a couple double ups but that just shows how much I loved the songs.
This list was made using the same system as my B-List on – see (here) – which is the amount of plays, first impression, translation and overall musicality. I’ll also be making a Spotify playlist for this list as well which I’ll leave down below so feel free to check it out. Without further ado, lets check out my Top 20 Title Tracks of 2018!
20. THE ROSE – She’s In the Rain
This song was so unexpected yet oh so needed. I have a specific idea or direction I automatically associate with these boys and this song wasn’t anywhere near to expectations. Vocally it’s so delicate and emotional, musically it’s grand and theatrical with an almost musical type of feel. The music video took my breath away and made me cry when I first watched it – there’s something about the black and white and the use of rain which really tugged on my heartstrings. The fact they used old Instagram photos from Jonghyun’s account was absolutely beautiful and I think it deserved more praise than the “insensitivity” people labelled it as.
19. ATEEZ – Pirate King
What the hell is this song and where the hell did it even come from?!?! Honestly, I still don’t think I was ready for this song. The anti-climax, the interesting and intense percussion throughout and that auto tuned harmony during the chorus. Like…WHAT?! It’s such an amazing song to have for their debut as they show a level of performance quality and stage presence that is extremely rare for a rookie group. I am still in the process of learning their names but god am I interested in how they go in the future.
18. JIMIN PARK – April Fools (0401)
Wow, what an album and what a title track. I’ve been a little so-so about Jimin in the past – I enjoy her attitude though I feel like she can be a little too much at times. But it is entirely undeniable, vocally she is light years ahead of other female solo singers in terms of range, soul and her overall roots in pop/R&B. This song and MV are so good and I was blown away by how solid her higher register is and can’t help but bop my head along to the song.
17. A.C.E – Take Me Higher
2018 was the year I was introduced to A.C.E and I will never go back – stanning these boys is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love this album so much but I would’ve never listened to it if it wasn’t for this song. Poppy, catchy, bright, fantastic vocals and an MV that left a strong impression there’s no way I wasn’t going to love this song.
16. TEN – New Heroes
I don’t know if I’d class this as a “title track” I’m still putting it in this list. Ten has been away from the spotlight this year compared to some other NCT members, which I hate, but the silver lining is the fact he was able to have another SM Station single. I loved Dream in a Dream a lot but New Heroes was so much more than expected and I love the way he sounds in this song. He hits the falsettos, does some amazing vocal runs as the background and is able to be absolutely let free to do his thing. The MV really suited him as well as he was able to show how much of a talent he is. I can’t wait to see much more of him in 2019!
15. PLT – Blah
The GREATEST discovery I made in 2018 was PLT or Planetarium Records. While a lot of people know them now, I was lucky enough to stumble across this song at the very start of the year when their first album came out. There are a lot of songs I could’ve used for this list but I feel like it was fitting to include the song that sold them to me. This song is funky, very hip-hop/R&B and has some stellar vocals. And to clarify: THEY ARE NOT A BOY GROUP. THEY ARE A COLLECTIVE OF SOLO ARTISTS. I suggest you check their solo works out as well, you won’t regret it.
14. MOMOLAND – Bboom Bboom
It’s rare for such a heavy bubblegum-pop song would feature in an end of year list for me but I couldn’t ignore this song. While it is new for me to like a song like this so intensely, it’s literally impossible for me to hate it. It’s SO catchy, super cute dance moves and the drop for the rap sections is damn good. While there hasn’t been another song from these girls that was on the same level as this song, I know they’ll do it in 2019.
13. SAM KIM – Make Up feat. CRUSH
When I caught wind of Sam finally coming back with an album, I was so excited. But when I realised on of his titles was with CRUSH I damn near lost my kind. Sam goes SO hard in this song yet starts the song off in that delicate way I love him for. The chorus is full of soul with catchy phrase of “can we make up in the morning” which sounds so passionate and raw when Sam sings it. Having Crush as the featuring artist was just the cherry on top – they match perfectly and I’m upset it hasn’t happened until now. The break down in the latter part of the song gives me chills and hypes me up at the same time.
12. TWICE – What is Love?
If you told me 2 years ago Twice would be in my Top 20, I wouldn’t believe it but this song is SO good. I haven’t liked a TWICE song this much since Like Ooh Aah and I don’t know if I should attribute it to the song or the MV – both of which are fantastic. The song has a more melody and rhythmic quality to it than their others, in my opinion, which is why I like it so much. The music video is absolute genius and as a film nerd I was in absolute heaven the whole way through.
11. NCT U – Boss
Well, shit this song is good. Even now when I hear it I’m taken right back to the first Time and I freak out all over again. It does have that nice foundation in hip-hop with I actually prefer for the NCT units than any other. I love the structure of the song and the way it flows in between the rappers and the vocal lines. The chorus is by far the standout to this song with its catchiness and superb choreography. NCT had a fantastic year and Boss was definitely the highlight for me.
10. DAY6 – Shoot Me
It should be no surprise to those who’ve followed my activities for the past couple years that I love me some DAY6. 2017 was such a stand out year for them, they worked so hard and I loved every second of it. Shoot Me blind-sided me – it’s a little harder than expected and they used some nice synths which was a surprise. The intensity of the chorus matched with the storyline of the MV was amazing. It’s catchy and shows the vocal ranges from all the boys.
9. iKON – Love Scenario
Are you surprised I don’t have this song any higher? It was a struggle where to put this song or to even include it but Queen Love Scenario deserves it. I’m happy iKON was praised because of this song and also super proud of how much people loved it. B.I is an amazing song-writer and I hope he’s proud of himself for making such an amazing song. She’s well deserving of the SOTY spot!
8. PENTAGON – Shine
Like Love Scenario, Shine also did supremely well this year. While there was a lot of drama involving Pentagon this year, I don’t want it to overshadow how hard these boys have worked and how amazing of a group they are. Shine is catchy, fun, youthful and bright – things that perfectly represent Pentagon. I love this song a little more every time I hear it and I can still remember when I first heard the song and watched the MV – if I didn’t already love the group, Shine would’ve sold them for me.
7. MONSTA X – Jealousy
Wow, this song was PERFECT for Monsta X. It suits their dark, aggressive and hyper masculine vibe they’ve had since debut yet it was a little more on the sexy side than what I was expecting. I love how retro it sounds yet stays current. The choreo and styling was amazing too and I loved how they took everyone by surprise with this whole era. It was a perfect song to me and I’m so proud of them and how hard they worked in 2018.
6. SAM KIM – Sun and Moon
I’ve already expressed my love for Sam Kim many times but I fell in love with this song for a different reason. I’m a fan of the pure and acoustic vibe but I was pleasantly surprised at how different this comeback was. The album shows a more sophisticated side of him and sounds like it’s been produced better giving off an even richer sound – he sounds like a fully realised artist on this album and no other song is better to show that than Sun and Moon. It shows theatricality, his token acoustic guitar and his pure voice. I get covered in goosebumps every time I hear it and replay it straight away after it’s already done. Being a native English speaker, Sam tends to focus really well on the english hooks – the line “walk with me to the end” at the start of the chorus is stunning. I love this man so much!
5. iKON – Killing Me
I wonder how many of you were expecting this song to be so high on this list. While I appreciate with my entire heart what Love Scenario has been for the boys, Killing Me is my preference of the two. I love the haunting atmosphere of the song as well as the build. It’s rare to like an EDM-based vibe from iKON but this song had me SCREAMING over how damn good it was. I didn’t think it was gonna go so hard and was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the MV. While Bobby’s verse shines in Love Scenario, Hanbin’s verse in this song was better and he has a great way of portraying the heart-wrenching emotions behind the song.
4. RED VELVET – Bad Boy
This song is my most played song on this list and the only explanation for it is: HAVE YOU EVEN HEARD IT?! I love everything about it – the simplicity, the emptiness of the music and the massive “GIRL POWER” label that’s stamped all over this song. I love how sassy the girls are in the MV and the 90s fashion they rock. The english version made me lose my mind as well. I feel like this became my favourite Red Velvet song ever and I will continue to shout along to this song every time it comes on.
3. BTS – Fake Love
Of course this song was going to be on this list. Not only was it a totally different vibe than I thought it would be but it was a direction I’d been praying for. The only way I can explain it is a combination of Dark and Wild, Blood Sweat and Tears and Save Me which pleases my ARMY heart beyond words. In my opinion, the only thing better than the sound of this song was the choreo – never have I seen a BTS song with a more perfect and fitting choreography like this.
2. GOT7 – Lullaby
Are you surprised? ARE YOU?! Because Jesus this song ticks every single box for me – catchy, beat changes, great choreography, exceptional vocals and just an overall fun vibe. I didn’t know this song was going to be as high on my list as it is but it’s the only song I’ve listed that I haven’t gotten sick of. I will replay her over and over again and always find things new to love about it. I don’t need to explain to you how painful this comeback was for me – those who follow me on Twitter know I lost my mind over Jaebum breathing… I’m a messy JB-biased girl but I love him too much, there’s only so much I can do about that.
Before I announce my number one song of 2018, I thought I’d mention some other title tracks that didn’t quite make the list yet caused me a lot of turmoil – honestly, they were SO close to making the list.
- NCT U – Baby Don’t Stop
- EXO-CBX – Blooming Days
- MAMAMOO – Egoist
- BTS – Idol
- SUNMI – Siren
I won’t be including any explanations to these songs nor will I be putting them in my Spotify playlist. Just take it from me, I spent days shuffling and reshuffling this list and unfortunately these tracks had to sit this one out. If I made a list based on music videos or choreography you better believe these five would’ve made that list!
1. EXO – Tempo
I honestly don’t know how to talk about this song. I almost feel that it’s here due to the surprise of it’s existence in the first place. I don’t know where this sound came from or how EXO seem like they were made for this song but everything that makes them stand out as a group fits perfectly for this song. Their choreography, the construction of the song itself and it’s playfulness are great aspects but THEIR VOCAAAAALS BLEW MY MIND!!! If you don’t believe me, read my first listen and reaction to the song (here) – it’s a damn mess but surely you could imagine what I was like being around me the two hours it took for me to calm my shit down enough to carry out the rest of my day.
This year has been full of a lot of drama and negatives yet the music has been exceptional. I don’t what it was about the music of 2018 but all my favourite groups focused a lot on harmonies which drove me insane. I loved all my groups so much and discovered some new ones, too.
There will come a day when liking multiple groups isn’t regarded as a negative – I for sure see it as a huge attribute. Appreciating different types of music and loving many groups opens your eyes to the different kinds of people and personalities in the world.
Was there anything you were surprised by in regards to my list? Let me know down below or leave me a message on Twitter.
Check out my Spotify playlist (here).