East Beat: Your Guide To Asia’s Best Pop Songs Feat. Taeyang & Red Velvet
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 of the best K-Pop and J-Pop songs of the week.
BIGBANG’s Taeyang is easily the group’s most popular soloist after G-Dragon. His biggest hit is the piano ballad “Eyes, Nose, Lips,” so it’s no surprise that he’s continued that sound on his latest single, “Darling.” The simple but emotive piano melody sounds like it was plucked from a ‘70s power ballad and Taeyang’s soulful vocals sound tailor made for songs like these.
SM Entertainment’s weekly SM Station project has often been used as an opportunity for the label to experiment even more than they already do. Their latest release does just that, with Red Velvet putting a quirky spin on the Jong Shin Yoon classic “Rebirth.” While the 1996 original is essentially a 1950s doo-wop song, Red Velvet have transformed it into a whimsical little pop ditty that sounds like fairies falling in love.
Red Velvet’s labelmates NCT Dream returned with “We Young,” which is just the latest in a long line of K-Pop tracks to jump on the tropical-house trend. The LDN Noise-produced track is a sweet and refreshing ode to youth and the strongest of Dream’s three official singles so far.
Long-running low-budget girl group BP RaNia dropped a new song called “Beep Beep Beep,” which is objectively pretty bad. It sounds exactly like the bottom of the barrell electro-pop that flooded K-Pop back in 2011 thanks to forgotten flops like April Kiss and Blady, but that’s exactly why I love it. It’s a nostalgic guilty pleasure!
Speaking of flops, the struggling (and totally underrated) SONAMOO are back with a more mature image after peddling cutesy-pop for their last few singles. The funky “Friday Night” fits the group like a glove and will hopefully bring some much-deserved success to the girls.
Japanese band Uverworld just dropped a video for “SHOUT LOVE,” the latest single from their ninth studio album TYCOON. It’s pretty great, with an almost R&B-ish beat on the verses before exploding into a huge rock chorus.
Even though they’ve been done to death ‘90s throwbacks are still pretty fun and this is no exception. AKLO and JAY’ED’s “Different Man” serves synthesized urban grooves and honeyed vocals that should impress most old-school R&B fans out there.