January, a time generally known for when the K-pop machine winds down a bit and established artists take it easy on the comebacks for the time being. Not this year. With announced and already released comebacks from returning legends to up-and-comers, the stage is set for a January showdown among your favorites. Which January comeback or debut are you most looking forward to the most? Who will end up topping them all?
Mark: This is a tough one. Historically speaking, there are always one or two songs that leapfrog the rest during the early dawn of the year due to the general lack of competition:
2011: “Keep Your Head Down”
2012: “Lovey Dovey”
2013: “I Got a Boy” “Gone, Not Around Any Longer”
I’m not sure about this year, but I’m predicting “Something” like TVXQ or Girl’s Day will garner a strong response. It’ll also be interesting to see the public’s response to Ailee‘s comeback. While her reputation has certainly not been damaged by the incident, whether it will ultimately help or hurt her ability to chart is still to be determined.
Pat: From what we have so far, Girl’s Day’s “Something” is definitely on blast in the same way Infinite-H‘s “Without You” was on repeat this time last year. Like Mark, I’m also waiting to see how the public will respond to Ailee after the photo incident. Hopefully, it’ll just make her comeback more widely known and awaited, akin to Block B‘s recent comeback where even non-fans tuned in to see how they bounced back. The two situations are apples and oranges, but it’ll be interesting.
For the acts that haven’t released their songs but are supposed to comeback this month, I’m definitely excited about Spica and Sunmi given their strong releases last year, although Spica’s comeback may not be this month but next month. From the male releases, the only comeback that really interests me is B1A4, to see if we get a track akin to “Tried to Walk” or “What’s Going On?” or a completely different sound from Jinyoung. I thought I would be excited about Rain‘s comeback but both songs were a letdown and the “LA Song” MV was just so wrong in so many ways that I won ‘t even be keeping up with his live stages.
Also, isn’t WINNER supposed to debut in February? Knowing YG and their tendencies to not actually keep a schedule, I’m not hoping for anything.
Laverne: I am most excited for U-Kiss‘ comeback because they’ve managed to put out fairly good tracks and every time they come back I keep thinking maybe this will be the song that wins them their first #1. However, their Only You album was supposed to be released a few days ago but it still hasn’t. It makes me wonder how things are going at NH Media, especially after the crowdfunding from last year.
I was also interested because U-Kiss was supposed to release specialized t-shirts along with the album. It’s nothing particularly special but I have a t-shirt weakness (the only reason I go to college is for the free t-shirts) and I was interested in how they would look like.
Mark: It looks like its turning out to be Girl’s Day vs. Rain for best falsetto. We also have Girl’s Day vs. Rainbow Blaxx vs. AOA vs. Dal Shabet, and soon to be joined by Sunmi, for most seductive teasers.
By the way, anyone here K-Much?[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrxDI3o-ba0]
Lindsay: I am most looking forward to B1A4’s comeback. Their last single was the fun, quirky type, but they are equally good at the more serious, emotional songs, making it even more of an exciting comeback. However, as much as I’d like to say that they will be “on top” ratings-wise, I know that is unlikely. No matter, though, since I still think they will be the comeback I most enjoy, both MV and album-wise.
If the rumors are true and PSY is actually going to have a comeback, then we all already know who is going to be “on top.” It doesn’t matter what the quality of his new single is because he will still get the best ratings simply because of the amount of people that will want to hear it at least once. He also hinted at a lot of big name collaborations for his new album so that could increase its popularity as well.
Miyoko: I am also most excited about B1A4. I’ve really enjoyed watching (listening) to Jinyoung’s growth as a songwriter, and I want to see where he and the group takes things next. Right now the teaser is looking a bit like “Tried to Walk,” but who knows! I’m also pretty excited for AOA, as a group that I’ve only recently come to appreciate. I’d love for them to put out something strong that gets them in the spotlight more.
Shweta: I agree with Miyoko and Lindsay about B1A4. I regretfully dismissed them back in the “Beautiful Target” days, but they’ve grown so much over such a short time that I’m really looking forward to how they’ll evolve next. Odds are, it’s going to be good.
Similarly, Sunmi is a black box of potential waiting to be opened. “24 Hours” was certainly last year’s sleeper hit; it’s well known, though not in the way “Bar Bar Bar” made waves this past year and branded Crayon Pop. Consequently, Sunmi isn’t defined by “24 Hours,” and she now has many open avenues in which to take her music. As a listener and a K-pop writer, that makes me very excited.
I’m pretty awful at predicting what’s going to be the hot song (especially since it’s only the beginning of January), but out of what we have so far, I’d say it’s going to be TVXQ based on strength of the song and also the group’s popularity.
Ambika: Like several others, B1A4 is first on my radar. It looks like they’re pulling out extra stops for this full-length album with multiple versions of photobooks with interviews and extra tidbits per member. The five bring it with every performance too, so I’m looking forward to watching and hearing their music in less than a week.
Despite the odd name, I’m curious to see what kind of music GOT7 is going to come out with. The styling for the teasers was just poorly done, so it can only get better from here, right?
Lastly, Leessang‘s Gary is coming out with a solo mini-album, and I’m excited to see who he’s worked with and how the solo dynamic goes.
(YouTube, Images via SM Entertainment, Dream Tea Entertainment, Cube Entertainment, DSP Media, WM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment)