East Beat: Your Guide To The Week’s Best Asian Pop Songs Feat. VIXX & TWICE
The world of pop music moves fast, especially for those who enjoy the sounds of the East and the West. Keeping up with the Hot 100 is hard enough, let alone knowing what’s going on in Japan and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it K-Pop scene. To help you stay on top of Asia’s hottest pop music, I’ve put together East Beat — a handy guide to the best K-Pop and J-Pop songs of the week.
Leading the pack is VIXX, who returned with the oriental future bass bop, “Shangri-La.” The hypnotic track is all romance and atmosphere, making it one of the few Korean boy band songs suitable for sex playlists. On a completely different note, TWICE dropped their strangest song yet with “Signal.” It is bittersweet bubblegum pop, with TWICE chirping about a boy they’re in love with over a weird rubbery beat. The off-kilter, alien quality to the song only makes it more compelling with each listen.
There’s a shortage of BoA-style solo artists in Korea these days, but flying the flag for the good ol’ days is newcomer Kim Sohee. The 16-year-old is a dancing machine in the music video for her first single, “Spotlight.” It’s another future bass track, but with a vintage urban-pop flavor. Janet Jackson would slay it.
While we’re on female solos, Kyungri of 9MUSES has randomly released a solo single called “Talk About You.” This is just a small digital release without a music video or anything, but it’s a surprisingly good R&B throwback with some real soul. Even better is that there’s an English version, and it’s actually good.
Speaking of English tunes, alt-urban prince Dean just dropped another single for the American market, “love.” It features The Internet’s Syd, whose soft vocals perfectly compliment Dean’s versatile voice. Despite leaning to the alternative side, it’s nice to see that “love” still has a danceable beat and a good chorus. Too many K-indie artists these days are emulating the aimless, downtempo stuff that’s been polluting the American music scene lately, so kudos to Dean for keeping it catchy.
Japan’s Mondo Grosso, best known for his guitar-laced dance music and acid jazz, dropped the chill “Planet Tantra.” A lot of Asian pop fans already know Mondo for producing tracks for After School and Nami Tanaka under his real name, Shinishi Osawa. As Mondo Grosso, he’ll release his sixth studio album next month.
Wrapping up this week’s East Beat on a fun note is GARNiDELiA with “Tougen Renka.” This one’s an interesting mix of dubstep, cheesy ’90s euro-dance, and traditional Chinese instruments. It follows the same formula as the duo’s most famous hit, “Gokuraka Jodo,” so longtime fans should enjoy it.