East Beat: Your Guide To Asia’s Best Pop Songs Feat. Girls’ Generation & CLC
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.
Girls’ Generation shook things up on Friday with the release of their tenth anniversary album, Holiday Night. We already reviewed the first two singles, so I want to highlight the album’s best B-side: “Fan.” Veteran hitmaker Kenzie delivers pounding pop production with twinkling synths and uplifting strings, while Girls’ Generation belt out an ode to the loyal fanbase that’s been by their side for the past decade. Good stuff.
Shifting gears completely is CLC, who become the first K-Pop group to dabble in City Pop with their dreamy new single, “Where Are You?” For those that don’t know, City Pop is a style of Japanese pop music that was huge in the eighties, but has recently seen a resurgence in the country thanks to artists like Especia. It’s often characterized by a lot of synthesizers and saxophone, both of which feature prominently in CLC’s luscious new tune.
Serving something more modern are Nine Muses (who should probably change their name to Four Muses at this point) with “Love City.” The electro-pop banger sounds like an old Britney Spears demo that was submitted somewhere around Circus or Femme Fatale, but didn’t make the cut — and I mean that as a compliment. Every millennial pop fan knows that unmastered Britney demos are the best thing ever.
We reviewed Samuel’s debut single “Sixteen” earlier this week and it’s been on replay ever since. The sweet synth-pop bop sounds like teenage Justin Bieber, pre-bad boy makeover, and would probably decimate Radio Disney if it got U.S. release. Rumour has it that Bieber and Austin Mahone were found dead in a ditch shortly after hearing it!
GFRIEND have been slaying the charts all week with “Love Whisper,” which is a very sweet slice of symphonic springtime bubblegum with an early ’90s twist. But as much as I like it, I’ve actually been playing their dancier B-side “Ave Maria” much more.
One of the safer K-Pop songs of the week is WINNER’s “Island.” The boy band had a massive hit earlier this year with their dancehall, trop-house track “Really Really,” and they’ve just repeated the formula for “Island,” but it works.
Very little time passes in Japan without Koda Kumi shouting over some messy J-Pop beats. In fact, the veteran songstress has already released two studio albums this year alone. As expected, she’s already back with a ‘special single’ called “Lit.” Her music can be pretty hit and miss, but this is a lot of fun with a musical flair and an annoyingly catchy chorus. Check it out below.