K-Pop Monthly Couch: 2019 March Debut And Comeback Madness
From songs that warmed your hearts to tracks that surely fired up your feels, 2019 March debuts and comebacks got everything for your playlist!
The month of March loaded its 31 days with a diverse list of debuts and comebacks, treating us with party-hard EDM tracks, sick rap lines, stunning dance songs, sweet and cheerful melodies, and heartbreaking ballads.
2019 March witnessed the debuts of new K-Pop groups who upped the game for the year rookies with their fresh releases partnered by high-quality performances. It also saw the highly-anticipated solo debuts of some of our beloved K-Pop acts and opened our K-Pop hearts to more artists to add to our playlists.
In this K-Pop Monthly Couch, we bring you the new releases that filled this month with madness — in the best way possible — and our thoughts!
“Noir” by Sunmi
Danah Elyssa: Sunmi continues to produce hit after hit with “Gashina”, “Heroine”, “Siren” and now, “Noir”.
From my interpretation, Sunmi portrays a person who is bound to social media. She is feeding off hearts as her “followers” progress. Aside from the blaring issue discussed in the video and the somewhat creepy aesthetic she has going on, Sunmi proves that her music also transcends to beyond just pop music. Her catchy tunes and haunting melody accompany the realness of the message she wants to impart and with “Noir”, she did just that, by producing a musical masterpiece.
Yann: I was so in love with “Noir” not just because of its music video’s unique aesthetics and the catchiness of the song itself, but also because of its social commentary shown on both. As a person, I admire Sunmi for always voicing her opinions out and speaking her mind, and seeing this aspect of her personality cross with her music makes her very laudable as an artist even more. It’s also a breakaway from her usual “sexy singer” vibes – showing that there’s way more to Sunmi than just that, and that it’s time for people to acknowledge her well-rounded talents and take her seriously for it.
“Focus On Me” by Jus2
Yann: Jaebum and Yugyeom’s team-up was actually a bit of a surprise to me, especially when their agency announced that a new GOT7 sub-unit was on the way and a lot of other member combinations came up to my mind. However, I was glad to receive a pleasant kind of shock upon seeing these two singers rock the stage – or the video – without the rest of their group. Their chemistry as a duo was really great, especially in the blending of their rich and sultry vocals.
Danica: Among GOT7 members, I particularly find the voices of JB and Yugyeom unique and stand out. In Jus2, their voices complimented each other well and produced a good balance. I love how “Focus On Me” is slow and chill, with seemingly consistent beats where it builds up then calms down again.
“One Day Horns Grew From My Head (Crown)” by TXT
Danica: If someone asks me to listen to “Crown” all day, I will gladly oblige. The title track of TXT’s debut album The Dream Chapter: STAR is cheerful, refreshing, but never cheesy thanks to the different textures the boys’ voices give the song. Shoutout to Beomgyu for a captivating introduction that will surely entice you to stay until the last beat.
Yann: “Crown” is such a cute song – and it fits with TXT’s youthful vibe which made it perfect as their debut song! Its catchy beat matches the level of fun and energy that the rookie boy group from BigHit Entertainment contains.
“Party Girl” and “News” by INFINITE’s Jang Dong Woo
Danica: “News” and “Party Girl” are contrasting in a good way as you can see (and listen) to the versatility of Dong Woo as an artist. Through his solo debut, the INFINITE member went all out in proving to people his immense talent, not only as a rapper and dancer, but more so as a vocalist. Between “News” and “Party Girl”, my preference leans more on the latter with its upbeat sound and addictive chorus.
“Tuxedo” and “See-Through” ft. Cold Bay by VIXX’s Ravi
Danica: It will always boggles me why Ravi does not get much recognition as an artist when he is truly one of the best idol singer-songwriters of his generation. With “Tuxedo”, the VIXX member delivered beyond my expectations by going buoyant than dark.
Meanwhile, “See-Through” highlighted the rapper in him. I liked how it complemented “Tuxedo” in a sense that it makes you sit down and absorb all the sick raps of Ravi after dancing along and partying with “Tuxedo”.
“Love Tonight” by Hong Jin Young
Danica: When people say Hong Jin Young is the queen of modern trot, they are not kidding. The singer adds sophistication to the trot genre by mixing modern music elements to the familiar sound of trot in “Love Tonight”.
“Bbang” by HBY
Danica: “Bbang” is a song that will get your head banging to be honest. It’s a fun listen and does not go hard and heavy on raps which works well with the beats.
“Hakuna Matata” by Dream Note
Angela: I absolutely love the entire vibe of this music video! The bright pops of color, the quirky and dream-themed setting, the playfully catchy lyrics– it feels a lot like old school K-pop in a good way. Dream Note’s first comeback showcases what the group is capable of, and that they really are more than just pretty faces. Based on this cutesy bop, I cannot wait to hear more them from them!
“I’m A Star” by Wooseok X Kuanlin
Yann: The giant maknaes of Cube Entertainment really blended in this catchy song! Its chorus wouldn’t stop playing in my head even after a week following its release, and every time this new Cube unit performs it on music shows, I can’t help but get up and dance. I’m glad that instead of making heavy raps to show off their well-proved skills of spitting fire on stage, Kuan Lin and Wooseok chose to highlight a playful side of them with “I’m a Star”.
“Spring” by Park Bom ft. Sandara Park
Danica: 2NE1 is one of the few girl groups I really love. That’s why, “spring” by Park Bom featuring Sandara Park hits deep into my nostalgic feels. Bom’s voice remain beautiful and powerful, and Dara’s rap is a delightful addition to the song. However, there are instances when the background music tends to overpower Bom’s voice.
Angela: I do not know which is tugging on my heartstrings more: the melancholic feel of the song, or the fact that two of my 2NE1 biases produced such a beautiful song together. Bom’s vocals remain powerfully unmatched, but I do agree with Danica in that the background music could be toned down a little more because it overpowers their voices.
Beyond their vocals, what I really loved about the song was how it displayed sadness without romanticizing it. “Will spring come for me again? / Will beautiful flowers bloom in my heart again?” is such striking imagery that just hits deep. What a beautifully accurate way to talk about a difficult emotion to feel.
“gogobebe” by MAMAMOO
Angela: MAMAMOO is back with another bop! First of all, I absolutely love the retro concept that the girls went with, it suits their personalities and the songs well. The song is an absolute banger: it is such a lively piece and it helps bring the mood up no matter what. If you are looking for new music to spice up your playlist, definitely give “gogobebe” a listen.
“gogobebe”is such a great song to listen to if you need a reminder to chill out and let loose once in a while. Go ahead and “Be thick skinned and party / Go crazy, have fun / Don’t need no wrong & right”!
Danah: As the queens of K-Pop said, “It’s okay to not be fine.” This surefire hit from MAMAMOO caused my brain to go haywire from its brilliance. The femme fatale quartet releases “gogobebe”, a fun and quirky finale to their Four Seasons, Four Colors Project. They said that this final album is dedicated to having fun, a huge contrast to the first three emotional and ethereal albums of the project. It goes to show that MAMAMOO can produce hits from any genre they want to pursue.
“Still Loving You” by 100%
Danica: “Still Loving You” reminds me of BIGBANG’s G-Dragon’s “Missing You” and Latin music in terms of its vibe. I particularly love how the vocals do not go over-the-top and how the rap parts where sprinkled sweetly in the song at the right moments.
“Dear Diary” by Red Velvet’s Yeri
Angela: “Dear Diary” really showcases what Yeri is capable of! Red Velvet’s maknae was very involved in the writing and the production of this song, and it really shows: it showcases a lot of her sensibilities in more ways than one. Her voice is really calming and sweet, and the entire song really speaks to me. The music video is equally calming, filled with flowers and pastel shades.
This is a comforting song for people who are in their 20s, people who are busy figuring out what they want to do for the rest of their life. The lyrics talk about taking your time and being okay with the fact that maybe you will not have everything figured out– which really is something that everyone that needs to hear at that point in their lives.
“Taste” by Woo (Woo Won Jae) ft. Giriboy
Danica: I never got to listen to Woo Won Jae’s songs before. “Taste” marks my first track of the rapper who made a remarkable stint on Show Me The Money 6. I love how laid-back Woo’s rap is, allowing you to digest every word he utters. And as a fan of Giriboy, his inclusion is definite plus.
“YA” by Bang Yong Guk
Danica: Bang Yong Guk will always have my respect, and “Ya” proved my decision to be right as he wows with another song that brings a different vibe to his previous release “Hikikomori”. The leader of B.A.P started the song with seductive and slow rap and went on to serenade with his sweet vocals — a right contrast to his low-toned raps.
“Miroh” by Stray Kids
Danica: Stray Kids has always offered intense performances with its every release. “Miroh” is no exception as the boys continue to deliver stand-out performances that it no longer came as a surprise that the song gave them their first ever music win. I particularly love the first minute of the song and the chorus that really highlights the boy group’s performance.
“Bon Bon Chocolat” by Everglow
Danah: Watch out for these super rookies. “Bon Bon Chocolat” is a treat from visuals to performance. This group of talented girls rival the skills and prowess of top existing girl groups today. Their charisma and presence totally prove that 2019 is the year of power rookies.
“Woowa” by DIA
Danah: DIA displays their multi-talented members in this recent track. Dubbed as a “Shinsadong” classic, the song boasts catchy melodies and groovy riffs to make an unforgettable song.
“Bomb Bomb” by KARD
Angela: KARD truly went all out for this comeback! The group truly stuck to their fiery concept and served piping hot visuals all throughout the video. Beyond their visuals, KARD stuck to their promise of redefining their image and their music– as they served us a one-of-a-kind bop with “Bomb Bomb”!
Danah: Wildin’ all day! Wildin’ all night! KARD proves their status as the summer anthem gods with “Bomb Bomb”. Vocals and visuals from J.Seph, Somin and Jisoo gives the track the its signature seductive effect. BM’s rap verse makes the song extra spicy as well. This song is truly one of KARD’s greatest hits.
“Thrilla Killa” by VAV
Danica: There are a lot of K-Pop songs that hook you from the get-go but proceeds to drop you with an unsatisfying chorus. With “Thrilla Killa”, I did not get that disappointment as the boy group delivered a well-rounded sound where it offers enticing intro and builds up to its chorus. It also sprinkled a short dance break and a satisfying bridge. Did I mention that the choreography was mesmerizing to watch as it perfectly fit the song.
“I’m So Hot” by Momoland
Danah: The dancing queens are here with their latest dance track! “I’m So Hot” is made up of a catchy melody and versatile vocals from each member of MOMOLAND. Staying true to their partnership with Shinsadong Tiger, this hit will surely secure itself a spot on your party playlist.
“Sha La La” by PENTAGON
Danica: I am a “Shine” enthusiast, and “Sha La La” walks away from the sound the former blessed us with. Nonetheless, Hui managed to create a bop with an addictive chorus. I also love the song’s rap parts as they provided a great balance to the whole song. Still, I felt the bridge could have been stronger.
“Vibe” by 1TEAM
Danica: “Vibe” is a song I will listen on a morning commute to work. It is easygoing. However, instead of a title track, it felt more suitable as a pre-release track instead, due to its seemingly failure to fully immerse the listeners with lacking memorable points.
“Four Seasons” by Taeyeon
Danica: “I gave you the world…” haunts me every time — and I have no complaint. Every song of Taeyeon manages to astound and to hit you with an unforgettable line. The singer’s voice resonates beautifully throughout the song and matches the melody without an off-part.
“I’m Home” by Minho
Danica: I was highly anticipating for “I’m Home” because I long to hear more of Minho’s voice which does not get much attention on SHINee’s songs as the boy group has really solid vocal gems. I love that the song is a ballad track, allowing us to unravel the rapper’s vocals and pleasantly surprising us at how sweet his voice is.
“Don’t Close Your Eyes (D.C.Y.E)” by Lee Gikwang ft. Kid Milli
Danica: “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is seductive with Lee Gikwang’s voice, lingering on your ears and his body moving gracefully along with the music. It shows a different side of the singer which we seldom see in Highlight’s music video. As you read these mini-reviews, you probably know by now that a good intro wins me over anytime, and “Don’t Close Your Eyes” managed to do that as well.
“From Seoul” and “Help Me” by Block B’s Bastarz
Danica: I was actually prep for a teeth-gritting song with “Help Me”, but was surprised how toned down it was compared to my expectations. I loved the mix of English and Korean in the lyrics as it does not sound forced and offered another layer to the song. But, I must say, between “Help Me” and “From Seoul”, the latter is love-at-first-listen — a perfect song for a long ride. I love how fun and relaxing the music video, perfectly matching the vibe of “From Seoul”.
“L.O.V.E” by Park Ji Hoon
Yann: Ethereally beautiful is definitely an understatement when it comes to describing Ji Hoon’s soft and romantic debut music video “L.O.V.E”. It was really able to highlight his boyish charms, especially his boyfriend aesthetics, which were even perfectly complemented by its scenic Prague background. As for the song, “L.O.V.E” hooks you with Ji Hoon’s display of his well-rounded talents as seen in how he easily shifted between singing and rapping all on his own. One would actually wonder why Ji Hoon’s honey-like voice and soft raps weren’t very much highlighted during his stint in Wanna One if it’s as beautiful as this, but thankfully, these were finally introduced to the world with “L.O.V.E” and the rest of his solo debut album.
“Awake” by JBJ95
Yann: “Awake” is such a fresh and playful song which talks about the emotions brought by a blossoming relationship, which the song likens to the spring season. Its smooth melody and modern EDM beat make it a nice song to listen to when you’re just chilling, and Kenta’s strong vocals definitely took the spotlight for this song while Sanggyun brought the house down once again with his rap verse.
“She’s Fine” and “No Reason” by Heize
Yann: Heize always manages to give me chills whenever I listen to her songs, because of how calming yet powerful her voice is. “She’s Fine” and “No Reason”, as expected, gouged the same reaction from me upon first hearing it, especially since it has been quite a long time since the singer had last released new music. Both songs showcase her breathy vocals which perfectly fits the R&B genre, and makes you feel as if you’re floating on air.
“Play It Cool” by MONSTA X and Steve Aoki
Yann: It was really hard to play it cool while watching the much-awaited music video for the English version of the song collaboration with Steve Aoki! I had my first watch of it at 7 AM while eating breakfast, and man, did it jolt me awake. The group’s vocal and rap line all showcased their versatility and proved that they can trespass language barriers by having a song that has equally amazing versions in Korean and English. Plus, I.M’s vocal parts in the English version’s chorus? Winner (though it did kinda have to make up for the fact that his swaggy rap in the Korean version wasn’t in this one)!
Danah: On the get-go, this music video is certainly a feast for the eyes. It seems like every member of MONSTA X locks eyes with you and seduces you to party with them later. I certainly like the way that they dance like no one’s watching, which shows that they also like to have fun. Quoting Jooheon, this is certainly a big “oui” in my book. Check out how this track has that signature MONSTA X EDM vibe with that extra Steve Aoki flair.
“dayfly” by DEAN ft. Sulli and Rad Musem
Danah: This track became one of my favourites when it comes to songs that you can listen to while relaxing. The chill vibe Dean and Sulli gave off made the song’s atmosphere more inviting and structurally sound. This new song from Dean explores his other side of calmness and vulnerability.
“Time” by Shin Won Ho of Cross Gene
Danica: If you knew Shin Won Ho as the guy in Big and The Legend of the Blue Sea, “Time” will surely stun you. The singer-actor, who is a member of Cross Gene, serenades you with his refreshing voice amid an upbeat music. The song is one of my favorite March releases as it grows on you more and more in every listen.
“Feeling” ft. Penomeco and “My Ocean” by Jeong Se Woon
Yann: Honestly, Jeong Se Woon never disappoints when it comes to musicality. His comeback album’s title track “Feeling” which features PENOMECO has had him strumming away on his guitar once more to serenade fans as he sings about the emotions related to falling in love with someone while being close to them. Unlike the bubbly pop track, “My Ocean” breaks fans’ hearts with its sad telling of the pain one feels, when letting someone go through the soft ballad track which, again, displays the singer’s beautiful vocals.
“Spring Step” by E Z Hyoung
Danica: “Spring Step” is the definition of cute. The cute is bright and youthful, but what will really win you over is the adorable music video, which features two students hanging out and breaking into dance in the middle of their outing. It will remind you of the energy and spirit during high school days.