East Beat: Your Guide To Asia’s Best Pop Songs Feat. Wanna One & Weki Meki
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.
Wanna One are K-Pop’s hottest new boy band. Formed through a Making The Band-style reality show that made them overnight sensations, the 11-member group just dropped their first album and it’s already breaking chart records everywhere. Outside of their good looks and obvious talent, it’s easy to see why they are killing it after hearing their first single “Energetic” — a thumping, piano-driven house track that sounds like a sister song to SHINee’s “View.”
Another new group debuting this week are Weki Meki with “I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend.” This one is a little bizarre, with rollercoaster electro-pop production that changes about every thirty seconds or so. It’ll remind people a lot of Girls’ Generation’s genre-busting 2013 hit “I Got A Boy,” but I have to warn you: the fashion in the music video is utterly dreadful. Perhaps Weki Meki are best heard, not seen?
Singer-songwriter Juniel also returned with the moody “Last Carnival.” I originally wrote this off before hearing it because I assumed it would be a boring acoustic ballad, but “Last Carnival” is a surprisingly dark and hypnotic disco track that’s definitely worth a spin or two.
Gugudan is one of the few Korean girl groups that I don’t care for, but they have just launched a two-member sub-unit with the single “Ice Chu” and I’m actually loving it. As cute and quirky as it is, the production is rooted in a lot of retro funk and disco, giving the song a unique mix of classic sounds with the usual weirdness of K-Pop in general. I don’t know why Gugudan didn’t just release “Ice Chu” as a full group instead of creating a special sub-unit.
My favourite song of the week comes from another female duo, although they couldn’t be any more different to Gugudan. Former Nine members Hyuna and Euaerin have teamed up for smooth summer duet called “Doong Doong,” which the label describes as a “sound expression of floating on water in Korean.” It’s actually the perfect description for the song, which is light, ambient electronica with a breezy music video to match.
Last but not least is hipster J-Pop songstress Zombie Chang. Her latest, “We Should Kiss,” is lo-fi techno with 8-bit synths sprinkled on top and a music video filled with fidget spinners. Check it out below.