K-pop’s Month in Review: March 2018

SO WHAT HAPPENED IN K-POP IN MARCH?

Double Title Track Comebacks: March saw numerous groups and artists coming back with two or more singles, much to fans’ delight.

MAMAMOO made their most commercially successful comeback yet with title tracks “Star Wind Flower Sun” and “Starry Night,” and later released special single “Everyday.”

Fans of mellow electronica will love Ladies’ Code Sojung’s latest solo release, which included the two singles “Crystal Clear” and “Stay Here.”

One of the best albums of the month was delivered by R&B princess Heize, who outdid herself with the magnificent Gaeko feature “jenga” and an additional title track, “Didn’t Know You.”

NCT finally released their relentlessly teased album “Empathy,” with extra hype devoted to this month’s NCT Dream track “Go” and NCT 127 song “Touch.”

OG legends TVXQ made their first comeback in two years with “The Chance of Love” and “Love Line.”

Hoya, former member of INFINITE, made his solo debut with prerelease single “Angel” and title track “All Eyes On Me.”

Side Tracks Reigned Supreme: Once in a while, we find ourselves wishing that one spectacular side track had taken the place of a middling title song as the comeback’s lead single. March saw quite a squeeze on this front, with several releases’ title tracks paling in comparison to their B-sides.

Male duo MXM’s latest title track “Gone Cold” got shown up big-time by B-side “Love Me Now.”

BTOB’s Jung Ilhoon made his solo debut with the rock track “She’s Gone,” but the real highlight of the comeback was the rest of the album, especially the contemplative “Big Wave.”

GOT7 underwhelmed with singles “Look” and “One and Only You (feat. Hyolyn),” but impressed with side tracks such as “The Reason.”

UP10TION finally made a full-group comeback with much-missed member Wooshin, though their title track “Candyland” could probably have been traded out for B-sides “Target On” or “Superstar.”

Project group Wanna One made a comeback with “Golden Age,” whose iffy singles “I.P.U” and “Boomerang” were saved by solid album tracks such as fan favorite “Gold.”

Monsta X released the popular “Jealousy,” but more nuanced composition and production made side track “Destroyer” the KAYBOP pick for this comeback.

Two YG Songs in One Month? Each of YG’s two senior boy groups actually released a single, though neither went through a full promotion cycle.

iKON dropped one of their best singles in a long time, the bright “Rubber Band.”

K-pop kings BIGBANG released single “Flower Road” and got a perfect all-kill on the charts in the process.

Rookies On Top: Some of the best songs of the month were delivered by youngins just out of the gate, and you know what? The future of K-pop looks bright.

The first boy group to debut under a Big 3 company in almost two years, self-producing JYP group Stray Kids, released their massive debut album “I Am NOT” with rock-influenced title track “District 9.”

Samuel’s second comeback took his sound in a darker direction with his best song ever, “One (feat. Jung Ilhoon).”

Predebut girl group LOONA revealed their twelfth and final member, Olivia Hye, with her impressive solo track “Egoist (feat. JinSoul).”

 

ANYTHING I SHOULD MAKE SURE I HAVEN’T MISSED?

BTS’ J-Hope released his long-awaited mixtape “Hopeworld” early this month, as I’m sure most of you are aware. KAYBOP doesn’t review mixtapes, but if you didn’t hear the full album, please make sure you take a listen to “P.O.P (Piece of Peace), Pt. 1.” Also “Base Line.” And…okay, well, all of it.

SM Station released two lovely duets by EXO’s Suho and Jane Jang: the bright piano ballad “Do You Have a Moment” and the mellow electronic track “Dinner.”

APRIL gave their cute sound a mature twist with “The Blue Bird,” which I’m declaring required listening for all girl group fans.

Supergroup SEVENTEEN debuted new subunit BSS, featuring members Seungkwan, DK, and Hoshi, with their energetic single “Just Do It.”

HIGHLIGHT’s Yong Junhyung made his solo debut with a 10cm feature, “Sudden Shower.”

New girl group Honey Popcorn made a solid debut with the bright “Bibidi Babidi Boo.”

 

WHAT WERE THE BEST SINGLES OF THE MONTH?

NCT Dream, Go

Heize, jenga (feat. Gaeko) (KAYBOP FAVORITE)

NCT 127, Touch

Suho & Jane Jang, Dinner

Stray Kids, District 9

Samuel, One

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