Another new year, another year of K-pop releases. Many use the start of the year to start building new habits, or let go of bad ones. There’s just something so refreshing about starting something new on a new calendar year, like a sort of reset.
This month we ask the writers: what are your K-pop-related resolutions?
Pat: Last year was really rough for me, and I imagine it was the same for all of y’all as well. Somehow, I began listening less and less to K-pop, even though I watched Girls Planet 999 and Street Woman Fighter. If it wasn’t a bias group, I just didn’t pay attention. And quite frankly, I still didn’t pay that much attention to my bias groups after the first couple of days. Even when Seventeen released “Rock With You,” which was theoretically up my alley, I just…didn’t gel with it.
So this year, my resolution is to re-fuel my love for K-pop. If not in the mainstream, then maybe in the indie scene. Thanks to our EOY Reviews, I’ve found Yukika, so here’s to hoping for more K-pop this year than last year.
Siena: Like Pat, my 2021 was also…special? Let’s call it special! But for me, a tumultuous year meant even more K-pop than usual. There’s nothing to take your mind off a worldwide pandemic and other global and local chaos like some quality bubblegum or a charismatic music show stage.
However, because I was turning to K-pop more than ever, I ended up dipping my toes into lots of new artists without really doing a deep dive into anyone. This was particularly true for a lot of the girl groups whose music I delightfully stumbled into, like Cherry Bullet, Fromis 9, f(x), StayC, and WJSN (Cosmic Girls). So, 2021 was a great year for me to expand my playlists, but in 2022 I’d really like to look more into some of the artists who caught my eye and give them the time and attention they merit. I can practically feel the not-yet undiscovered b-side gems and priceless variety show clips calling my name!
Qing: How are we almost through the first month of the new year already? It feels like just yesterday that we were collectively tumbling down the TXT rabbit hole of moody b-sides.
I love the resurgence of bubblegum pop headed by the groups Siena mentioned! I’ve been great at keeping up with music releases, but every time our End-of-Year Reviews roll around, I realise how woefully behind I am on MVs and choreographies. I want to say one of my goals is to watch a few of those a week, instead of packing all the catching up into one painful weekend. But I’m not really sure my Gemini sun and Taurean Venus are agreeable with such a concrete, ambitious goal, so I’ll settle for the vague resolution of catching up with an undefined number of releases every month. Isn’t that the most inspiring new year resolution ever?
I’m also a serial drama on-holder. I don’t drop many shows; I like and intend to finish most of my watches. But I just tend to put them on hold for a long time. By which I mean I pause in the middle of an episode where the main character is brushing their teeth, jot down the episode number, and stop there for a good… few years. But hey, the waiting paid off! Some dramas that I’ve had to sail the high seas to watch are now on Viu and Netflix. This year, I aim to finish three half-watched dramas–the effervescent Yumi’s Cells, introspective melodrama Just Between Lovers (also titled Rain or Shine), and the similarly pensive Do You Like Brahms?.
If I have the mental bandwidth, I’d also really love to check out one of the sageuks on my list: Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency, The Red Sleeve, or The King’s Affection.
Gina: I agree with you Pat, 2021 was real tough and busy. I was out of the loop with most new groups and only knew them by name. The majority of the time, I listened to IU and her masterpieces Lilac and Pieces, and past familiar releases from Red Velvet, Colde, and Epik High for comfort during busy seasons. I also gave “Peaches” a try, but it didn’t resonate with me nearly as much as Kai’s powerfully sexy debut with “Mhmm.” Although, a new R&B gem I recently discovered (through participating in Seoulbeats’ annual EOY MV review) was DPR Ian: a charismatic, artistic, and talented new (?) artist who truly reinvented himself since his C-Clown days in 2012 (ring a bell, anyone?).
With all that said, my K-pop resolution this year is to dedicate time to fangirl Crush and Sik-K. The latter finally returned from the military not too long ago, and I’m still waiting on another golden album to sweep me away. Hopefully, it’ll keep me occupied enough until my favorite R&B vocalist also makes a full album comeback (yes please). And unless 2022 is the year Dean decides to crash back to earth and shock us all with a full-fledged Korean comeback. I’m also still occasionally playing 130 Mood: TRBL out of sheer nostalgia and longing, six years since its release.
Cheska: I think it’s safe to say that we are all pretty much in the same boat being behind K-pop releases last year. Same with Pat, I have only been fairly up-to-date with my bias group, Got7. But even with individual releases from BamBam, Youngjae, Mark Tuan, Jay B, and Yugyeom, personal matters had its way of clouding how I used to enjoy music before.
That said, I have been finding solace more in bands and indie music. Anna’s review on Hoppipolla’s album reignited my love for emotional music, which later on led me to be interested in the second season of Superband. While the finalists have yet to officially release music, going further into bands led me to explore Luamel, Touched, The Volunteers, and a lot more. On the RnB side, I find myself drowning in the music of DPR Ian and Bibi.
There are K-Pop acts that are on my radar like StayC, Dreamcatcher, Itzy, and Stray Kids, but my New Year’s resolution will be to focus more on indie artists. Aaron’s EOY list is a great place to start!
As for dramas, I found myself alternating the slice-of-life kind and the more serious, mind-bending ones. Park Jin-young is my bias so I definitely watched the relatable Yumi’s Cells and The Devil Judge. I think I will continue with this alternating trend as I look forward to watching Tracer, Our Beloved Summer, Thirty-Nine, and Bulgalsal: Immortal Souls, if my schedule permits!
Rimi: Another vote for similarity with what Pat said! I too, since around June of last year, have fallen off the K-pop bandwagon. I don’t believe I looked for anything new at all over the last six months. So, I too want to re-fuel my love for K-pop. As of today, I really like Changmin‘s “Devil,” and can perhaps begin from there.
On the other hand, I’ve been watching endless K-dramas! Especially with the added variety in genres with the proliferation of Netflix produced shows! On the K-drama front, my resolution is to keep track of my watching – just for the fun of it. I want to see how many lifetimes I’ve spent on drama-watching now.
Celina: Gosh, I thought I was the only one. Somehow I ALSO stopped listening to K-pop. I even missed some comebacks from some of my favorites. I also stopped watching K-dramas, with the last one I fully finished being Vincenzo.
My K-pop resolution is to follow my favorites more closely. I recently started with Eric Nam who just released an album. So far, I am loving that album! I also don’t normally watch reality shows, but I did watch and finish Single’s Inferno. However, I would like to start watching more K-dramas and K-films again. I should hopefully be done with school before the summer so I’m hoping that will open up more time on my end to get back on the bandwagon. In the meantime, I am going to start slowly and try to consume one product at a time.
What are your K-pop resolutions? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!