20131225_seoulbeats_9muses_minhaThe thing about K-pop every year is that along with the quality releases by known entities, there are other songs that were equally good, but for lack of promotion, or recognition of the members, did not get the attention they deserved.

Fortunately, thanks to all you discerning readers, these songs finally get better coverage than a review here or a recommendation in the weekly music wraps there. So here are some of your choices, and why we think they make for worthy mentions as part of our 2013 recap.

So far, most of you seem to have chosen Nine Muses’ “Wild,” and for good reason. Personally, I found this song to be further proof that they have come a long way since their “No Playboy.” Back in those days, they certainly deserved those brickbats, given how the song seemed to do nothing right, and only served to show their talent (or lack thereof).

Thankfully, the group quickly changed tack and found themselves working with Sweetune, who thankfully gave them for once, tunes that were enjoyable. Granted, the singing was still largely heavy lifting by Sera and another member, but for once, they could be enjoyed for their other qualities, such as looking good, and being reasonable performers on stage.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwN_Axs7pL4]

With this new single, I can honestly say that they are one of the few girl groups outside of the established names I recorded to watch, and see what they do well. With decent (by pop standards) vocals, members that do okay on stage and look good, they are a group I would look out for in 2014. And also, please give Sera some credit for doing most of their good work.

On the other side, at least where the talent mix is concerned would be Spica, and their 2013 release, “Tonight.” I first took notice of this group in the “Russian Roulette” era, with vocals that most groups would kill for. Then stuff happened and somehow, I forgot about them.

Until two things. First I noticed Yang Ji-won cover for Aliee in Baechigi’s “Shower Of Tears,” doing a good job in the process. I helped I liked the song from the start. Then there was “Tonight,” which was something different from what I commonly heard in K-pop, being a nice mix of everything I had heard in K-pop girl groups, as well as putting their voices to good use. While I still think they could do with that one killer song, this is a good start.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLwKMN316Es]

Despite the girl groups dominating the votes, there is a guy group still worth talking about. While MBLAQ definitely did come off worse during the period they were compared to Beast, “Smoky Girl” certainly did show that when on form, they still could deliver. While I admit to writing off the song pretty early when it was first release, due to its overtly laid-back nature, and how the chorus seemed to repeat itself, the song has grown on me upon repeated listens, and I do now like how stress free the whole thing now sounds.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTDmIiGLFEw]

As for my choice from your other picks, it would have to be Sunmi’s 24 Hours in which the ex-Wonder Girl shows that she still has that sense of wonder about her, as well for JYP making full use of her voice. Another mention would also be Ladies Code’s “Bad Girl,” for being another worthy alternative in the Spica mould.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UmDrsMlXXg]

(YouTube [1] [2] [3] [4], Star Empire Entertainment, B2M Entertainment, JTune Entertainment, JYP Entertainment)