Winter has come and passed, and now spring is in full bloom. There are certain hallmarks of spring in K-pop: pastel clothes, lighter songs, and Busker Busker coming back on the charts. Spring is also the time for spring cleaning, and we here in Seoulbeats are here to once again do our now yearly examination of our bias lists.
We ask our writers: what are the changes to your bias lists? Who are the new names, and who are you taking out?
Pat: In the year since the last spring cleaning, I have matured. I have discovered more artists, and thus I have new additions to my bias list. Specifically, I am adding Mark from NCT (all the units), and adding TVXQ’s Yunho back on. Yunho was my ultimate bias for a good month or two before I discovered Shinee and Jonghyun (who will forever be on the list) replaced him on the top before fading away during the military service, and now he’s just going right back on the list. As for Mark, I just really love the current promotion cycle, made even better by the fact that his poodle hair is gone.
Lastly, I am adding Loona’s Kim Lip. I initially couldn’t make it through “Eclipse” — those shots of her in a school uniform just turned me off completely. But I was bored several months ago and the dance version appeared on my recommended videos. Needless to say, I fell in love and now, somehow, know most of the members of Loona.
Now, I have also learned to love myself. And thus, I am kicking Ravi off my list. Gone are the days when I yell at him in my Tumblr tags. Gone are the days I let myself go “Ok his solo stuff sucks but he’s such a sweetheart???” Enough is enough. Not even his cute lil’ baby, a dog named Butt (and yes, he did name his dog this), can stop me.
… Actually yeah, it can, because he’s such a proud dog father and he really is such a sweetheart. GDI Patricia. I guess I’ll learn to love myself next year because Ravi stays on the list.
Madi: At first, I thought that was a terrible April’s Fool joke. Pat, giving up Ravi? Hell is now an ice rink for free skating. But I’m glad that hell is still relevantly warm.
Somehow, I’ve never established a list in doing a roundtable before. So I guess this is the time to air stuff out.
So for the cleaning part, letting go of JB from Got7. The group, overall, have been putting out mediocre songs that don’t grab me like they used to. Because of that Got7 just hasn’t been on my radar, so sadly, he goes with it. Sadly, this also applies to Exo‘s Xiumin. This is a sufferable moment for me to admit out loud. Maybe, maybe he’ll be back, but for now, I’m saying goodbye. And lastly, S.Coups from Seventeen. I’ve been keeping up with their music, but just not with them more than that. So if I’m listening for a group’s releases and not you specifically, it is time to go.
Since some space has been made, Sunmi has been added. I am more so drawn to her more as a person and her personality than I am for her music and artistry. Of course, the latter two are a plus and I talked more about this in the recent BuzzBeats episode. Also Heize because I cannot forget to mention her this time. Talented, personable and relatable. Yes.
As for the ones I keep looking at, wondering if I should toss, but decide to keep for another year: BTS’ Suga, VIXX‘s N, and Blackpink‘s Jennie. And for the things that never change (to no one’s surprise): Hoya and Eric Nam.
Pat: At this point, the day I give up Ravi is the day Gaya gives up Minho.
Madi: Exactly. Between you with Ravi, Gaya with Minho, and me with Eric Nam, the world would legit have to end if we ever gave them up.
Gaya: God damn it Patricia, I thought you were really going to do it! Oh well, we are now both doomed. I dragged an entire BuzzBeats episode into the gutter in Minho’s name, nothing can save me now.
Madi, Eric Nam is a true gem, don’t dump yourself with the rest of us trash.
Coming back to my list: I also am adding a Loona girl to the mix, namely blue betta Jinsoul whose dance video I am still waiting for. And I will eat my hat if Sunmi isn’t on anyone’s bias list now, that girl rules us all–then again, Xiumin managed to get booted from Madi’s list, so I guess anything is possible. I’ve also been getting into Penomeco and his piercings ever since I did Unsung Artists back in January. And while Changmin has always been on my list as the resident TVXQ bias, I have to take a moment to grab a spoon and admire his post-enlistment reflection in it.
As for who’s out… I only added Doyoung in a year ago after an epic Twitter meltdown, but adding him to NCT 127 has not had the desired effect of making me care for that sub-unit. In fact, it’s had the opposite effect of making me less into him, and now bunny’s gotta bounce. Ten will now take his place since the only thing I love more than a good dancer is a good choreographer.
Madi: How foolish of me to forget my always and forever, Big Bang‘s TOP. That is something that will eternally never change. From a distant land far away, I hope that he’s taking care of himself and is getting the help that he needs.
Gaya, don’t make me question Xiumin. I am still grieving over dropping him. And don’t eat hats. I heard they don’t digest well.
Margaret: All the members of Monsta X have taken over my bias list. In the past few months of getting to know (read: obsessing over) them, I have switched between biases, but lately I’ve resigned myself to having all of them pretty much equal at the top, with Kihyun reigning as my ultimate bias of all biases. Their recent releases have showed steady improvement as artists, their dynamic as a team is genuinely enjoyable to watch, plus, their variety sense is top notch.
Taking previous biases of my list usually means that I’m paying less attention to them, either because I’m more into the overall group or because they have not been recently active. For those who have taken a back seat, I’d have to say: Jinyoung of B1A4, Jisoo of Blackpink, Changsub of BtoB, and Irene of Red Velvet.
Celina: Well, I feel like Eric Nam and Heize will always be permanently on my bias list. They’re both just relatable, and every time they release music I always fall in love with them all over again.
TOP, who was probably my first bias, is off my list solely because he’s going to be gone for a while, and my heart just can’t handle the separation. I wish him nothing but the best.
I’m adding someone I never thought I’d add, and that’s Suzy. I never really saw the big deal about her, and would always say that I didn’t even like her. However, her latest album, Faces of Love, blew me away, and I’m just so ready to follow her through her solo career cheering her on.
Lastly, I’m adding Hyungsik of ZE:A who I discovered in Strong Woman Do Bong-soon. After finding out he was part of a K-pop group, I thought my heart wasn’t going to be able to take it. He’s amazing, and I’m hoping he’ll release new music soon.
Qing: My BTS bias list has been in a state of flux for the longest time, but now I can confidently say that RM has secured his place in the top spot. He was the last member I’d have thought would be my bias, because of that aggressive rapper image their debut trilogy played up for him. But as BTS’ music evolved, so too did RM’s image grow to become more reconciled with his actual personality.
The more I saw of him, the more I understood how deeply connected the qualities I love about BTS’ music—its honesty, the way it takes on ordinary things in an unexpected way—were to his persistent, quiet courage in facing the ugly sides of life, in owning his mistakes and vulnerabilities, and his constant reflection on what their music means to those who experience it. It’s hard not to respect that.
Recent dramas have been featuring more complex female characters, a welcome change that has been allowing female actors to shine. Just Between Lovers put Won Jin-ah on my radar, and while I went into The Great Seducer thinking I’d fall for Woo Do-hwan, it was Moon Ga-young—exuding elegance and a manipulative aura driven by pent-up emotional turmoil as Choi Soo-ji—who stole my heart.
As for the outgoing: like Madi, I’m sad to come to terms with the fact that Got7 is off my list. More than personality and performance, it’s ultimately the music that determines my love for a group. I just couldn’t get on board with the heavily electronic, crowded instrumentals of their releases post-“Fly”. And finally, pending re-evaluation: SF9 has been steadily climbing the list, but between their constant confusion of Italian and Spanish, and appropriative styling choices for “Mamma Mia”, I’m not sure I can keep liking them.
Janine: My bias list has taken a beating over the past year. I dropped Got7 entirely after realising we’re not musically or politically compatible, and Winner‘s Seunghoon and I are on the rocks after his “Everyday” hair. Mino met a similar fate because we don’t like the same fashion designers. I can’t, in good conscience, stan a person who consistently wears Burberry. Do these reasons seem arbitrary? I promise they are not. I have a deeply visceral reaction to Burberry that I won’t apologise for.
Speaking of pushing fashion boundaries, Dean will always be on my list despite the constant weirdness of his street style choices. I was impressed by the conceptual execution of “Instagram” earlier this year and he’s been very good at teasing fans with covers and features in anticipation of RVNG.
Suzy made a home in my heart and I’m installing a wine fridge because I liked “Sober” so much. Sunmi is a given on my list, as is Hyuna and IU. I can’t forget Ailee–her features, work on soundtracks, and variety appearances have kept me on tenterhooks for her next release.
NCT’s Lucas casually wrecked my bias list with that nonsense verse on “Boss” and his irrepressible affection for NCT Dream even though he’s too tall to be a member. He hasn’t taken Taeyong‘s place as my number one NCT bias because “Baby Don’t Stop” was incredible. A small aside: Taeyong’s ability to rap using words which sound like they’re chosen at random may irritate others, but I find it endearing.
My love for Monsta X, Bang Yongguk, Red Velvet, and VIXX remains undiminished.
Aastha: I wish I could say that my bias list has gone through a change, but TVXQ’s Changmin is coming out top on my list for yet another year. During their military hiatus, BTS’ Suga and V had reigned, but Changmin goes back to first place with the recent comeback.
Hyuna stays on my list as well, with Sunmi and IU joining her. They’re two singers that have stolen my heart with their songs. “Gashina”, “Heroine”, and “Palette” are wonderful songs with just as amazing performances. Other than that, Red Velvet’s switch to a sultry image in “Bad Boy” and “Peek-A-Boo” was intriguing, making me an immediate fan. Irene’s voice, dancing, and looks got to me.
Other additions to my list would include Eric Nam and Dean as their R&B/ballad tracks offer a great respite from the pop genre. Dean’s creative execution of “Instagram” was incredibly interesting and the lyrics are so relatable. I’ve also been checking out more music from NCT, Winner, and Seventeen, but for now (and forever more) TVXQ and BTS clinch the top spots on my bias list (and in my heart).
Divya: My bias list has been quite static for two long years now and I don’t think my favorites are going to change anytime soon! My ultimate bias has been Exo’s Sehun for as long as I can remember, closely followed by Chanyeol.
But there certainly have been surprising additions largely because of strong comebacks that the groups of these idols had. Jaehyun from NCT has slithered his way into my heart with his dance moves, dethroning Winwin from the top NCT spot. As for female idols, Irene’s charisma made it impossible for me to be immune to her. 2017 was Red Velvet’s peak year and I loved seeing Irene handle the leadership with grace.
Every time I sit down to create a bias list, the girls of SNSD throw me off track. Every single time. How can one choose amongst the eight? So as of now, my bias list constitutes all of SNSD, with absolutely no regrets.
Lindsay: These days, I gauge my K-pop biases based on what photos I have on my phone. I frequently go through my photos and delete ones I’m no longer feeling and ones I don’t think I will want to use as a background again. Now that I’m an older, semi-professional person it takes a lot for me to risk a colleague seeing my phone screen and having to explain myself. That being said… E’Dawn of Pentagon is currently my phone wallpaper. I really fell for his 4D personality and stage-presence in their new song “Shine” (which I’ve had on repeat ever since it came out).
In addition to him, I admit that I have to join Janine in being wooed by Lucas upon his joining NCT. There is just something about his puppy-like energy and language code-switching that makes me smile constantly. Also, he’s just very physically attractive, let’s be honest. However, he didn’t supplant Haechan (who I still have several photos of on my phone), rather I think with that many sub-units I should be allowed to have more than one bias, right?
Finally, I still have many photos of all the B.A.P members on my phone. As one of my top bias groups since their debut, I guess I can say some things never change. I’m a proud Youngjae stan for life.
What about you, readers? What are the changes in your bias list? Let us know in the comments below!
(Images via SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, BigHit Entertainment, Make Us Entertainment, B2M Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Blockberry Creative, Instagram)