It’s my third anniversary!
For some reason, this one doesn’t seem that momentous compared to my first two anniversaries. Part of that may be because my blog fell apart in some ways in the last year. In reality, real life just got busier, so blogging became less of a priority.
Also, my interests in K-pop have changed. Because I’ve been into it for so long now, a lot of music videos, concepts, and songs are all now looking the same to me. What wows me is not necessarily a good concept, but one that stands out as unique and new.
That being said, it is time for my favorite part: introducing my top 15 favorite K-pop artists! I have done so in both of my previous anniversary posts, and the reason why I continue to update the list each year is because my preferences really do change from year to year. The general list is the same, but the order has changed and quite a few new artists have taken up spots in my top 15 list.
After an entire year of critically blogging about every artist under the sun, I always look forward to this post, when I get to write about my current favorite artists and why I love them.
Let’s get started. The list goes in reverse order, starting with #15 and ending with my #1 favorite. (If you click on the name of the artist, you will be taken to my favorite music video by them.)
They keep getting lower and lower on my list 😥 Honestly, unless they wow me this year with a new comeback, I don’t know if they are going to make it to next year’s list. From debut to 2013, they were pretty solidly good. However in the past couple of years, they have been trying new things which unfortunately have not suited my taste. The songs are still pretty good, but their music videos have not been all that. It’s hard to call a group your favorite when you can’t sit through one of their entire music videos to the end (and you all know which one I’m talking about).
Even if I don’t like what they are currently doing, they are still the first group I ever got into once I ventured out of SM. The members are of course still very dear to me, and Dongho’s and Eli’s weddings are still my favorite things to have happened in 2015.
My bias in U-Kiss has never changed. Since I discovered them, it was AJ, and even now while he is on hiatus he is still my bias. Honestly, I’m just waiting on the edge of my seat for him to finish his degree and come back to U-Kiss. I know I’ll be more interested in them once my bias comes back.
2nd bias: Hoon. It was Jun last year, but that was just a momentary interest. Hoon is so cute, and really hilarious offstage.
#14: Big Bang/G-Dragon
Do I even need to explain this one? They are so iconic, and they light up a stage like no other group I have ever seen. When Fantastic Baby or Bang Bang Bang is performed, everyone in the audience turns into a VIP.
G-Dragon and Seungri are still tied. For a while I thought G-Dragon took over Seungri’s spot as bias, but Seungri reminded me in Bang Bang Bang why he is my favorite. So for now, they are still tied as bias.
The first new group on this list! Even if I don’t talk about T-ara a lot, I always knew they were one of my favorite groups. If you took my groups and made a list of just the female artists, T-ara would be at #4. It’s just that all of these male artists get in the way 😛 When I look back onto the songs that I considered hits, nearly every single T-ara song can be put on that list. I don’t know much about the members, but musically they are definitely one of my favorites. It is rare that I come across a T-ara song that I don’t immediately love, including their non-title tracks.
I never really considered who my bias was until this point, but now that I think about it, it is so obviously Boram. She is so cute. So cute. I completely fell in love after seeing her in Sugar Free.
2nd Bias: Soyeon. Boram is cute and Soyeon is pretty. Not to mention an incredible singer. There is just something about her that reflects more poise and composure than the other members. As I have described f(X)’s Luna in the past, Soyeon knows her talent and doesn’t need to flaunt anything to get people to like her because she is already naturally likable.
#12 : GOT7
Another new group on this list. They are one of the few groups who I have been a fan of since their debut music video. They are a really solid group full of multi-talented people. Literally every single member is a bias-wrecker. They are all so talented, funny, and interesting. They already started out strong with their debut, but in 2015 they completely blew me away with two amazing music videos. I would say that there is potential for them to be higher on this list next year, but I love the rest of the artists on this list so much that I don’t even know if that’s possible. We’re getting into fangirl territory now!
I can very confidently say that I have been a fan of Mark from the beginning. Sure, back when I first learned all of their names he was my second bias, but still. He was underrated back then, and he is actually still ridiculously underrated. He is my favorite rapper in the group, and I hate that he still consistently gets the smallest amount of lines in their songs.
2nd Bias: Youngjae. Maybe this is premature. Him and Bambam are very close, but lately I have taken a greater interest in Youngjae than Bambam. I have always loved his singing, but it is his smile, laugh, and hilarious English that are making me like him as more than just GOT7’s vocal powerhouse.
My girls. I admit, lately I have not been keeping up with them as much as I used to, but they are still one of the most talented female groups in the industry in my opinion. I love that they are finally getting some recognition by SM now. A lot of people seem to be upset over the official fanclub name, but I think it’s actually pretty cool. I am now a MeU, a variation of μ, which still keeps the math theme going on. I think it has a nice ring to it.
As always, my bias is the lovely Luna. She is the best singer, the prettiest, and has a beautiful personality. Nothing has changed. She is still as lovely as ever. 🙂
2nd Bias: Amber. This is the same as last year as well, but I should point out that the amount that I love her as definitely grown over the past year. For those who don’t know, she started a YouTube channel with her friend, Scott, and I have been absolutely loving their videos. It shows such a real side of her, which is just as fun and beautiful as the personality that she shows on professional TV.
#10: Girls’ Generation
My other girls 😛 My Unnies. I love them for who they are of course, but I seriously think they are the most talented girl group in K-pop. Yes, there are plenty of girls who sing well, and even better, than Girls’ Generation, but these girls switch things up and give us truly amazing dances in their music videos. My biggest problem with girl groups is how simplistic their dances are, but Girls’ Generation never lets up. They deliver unique and dynamic performance after performance, and I love them so much for it.
My bias is Sooyoung. I swear, my bias has changed so many times in SNSD. For a while it was Taeyeon, but surprisingly it was her solo debut that made me realize that there are other members in SNSD that I like more. And Sooyoung was there right at the top of that list. She is so beautiful, and so talented as a performer.
2nd Bias: Yuri. Another member I never formally acknowledged as one I really love. Back when I was a newbie K-pop star and didn’t know their names, I remember seeing her face and feeling drawn to her. She is THE most underrated member of SNSD. She lights up every single of SNSD’s songs with her small parts.
#9: Block B
They haven’t released anything new since my last anniversary post, so I don’t have a whole lot more to say about them. I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for their next comeback. They did BASTARZ last year, which after Super Junior D&E was probably my favorite thing to happen in 2015. I wasn’t a fan of the music video, but to this day the song is still one of my favorites. Ever.
My bias is B-Bomb. This has remained pretty steady since I first got into Block B. I love that he is the main dancer, and I love that he was chosen to be part of BASTARZ. He does not get a lot of recognition in their music videos, so it was a very refreshing change to see him take part in their first unit group.
2nd Bias: U-Kwon. He is also the bias wrecker. He is just so great at everything he does. B-Bomb may be my bias, but U-Kwon is the one who really made Zero for Conduct worthwhile.
#8: Jung Joon Young
*ultimate bias alert*
With one more album, I know for a fact that he is moving up on this list. Jung Joon Young is a showstopper. An attention stealer. He has the most unique personality out of every single Korean entertainer I have encountered, and despite his silliness and weirdness, he is an amazing musician. He blends my two favorite sounds in music, and he has a voice that can’t be beat. My dad overheard one of his songs recently and thought it so shocking that this scrawny K-pop star can have such a deep and rich singing voice.
I guess this is another group I have liked since their debut. I knew who they were, but I didn’t become a real fan until they came out with their fourth single. BTOB has always been an unbelievably talented group, and this year they were finally recognized for that with their two passionate songs. I do hope they get back to their dance songs again, because those are of course my favorite.
Like U-KISS though, they are slowly being forgotten 😦 I so intensely liked BTOB a couple of years ago, but since then other groups have made stronger impressions in my mind.
My bias is Minhyuk. I can’t even comprehend how one person can possess so many talents. Looks, singing, rapping, athleticism, and personality. He is not just a triple-threat; he is an all-kill.
2nd Bias: Ilhoon. I want him to have a solo one day. He is such a good rapper, but he can sing as well and is never given the chance to show it off.
BTS is truly an amazing group. Every K-pop group has rappers, but they never have a strong rap team like BTS does, where they are truly passionate about rapping and talented in doing so for reasons other than “well, someone has to be the rapper.” There are members dedicated to rapping, members dedicated to vocals, but then a few like V and Jungkook who can bounce between the two flawlessly. Then you take into account their dancing and their ability to tell truly moving stories in their music videos, and you have a force to be reckoned with. What makes them just mind-blowing is that offstage, when the time is over to be serious and passionate, they can be the biggest, most immature dorks.
My bias is V. I’m kind of obsessed with him. But in the way that a mother is obsessed with her son. He has such a precious baby face, angelic smile, and childlike personality, but then surprises everyone by having the deepest voice in the group.
2nd Bias: J-Hope. This was hard to choose because after V, I like all of the members pretty equally. But as far as rapping goes, J-Hope is my favorite. He just gets so into it and performs all of his raps so well. At the same time he is a breath-taking dancer. Then when it’s time to be silly, he is the craziest one in the group.
Sidenote: I have never been able to understand how he is younger than me. It’s not by a lot, but if I was in Korea he would be calling me Noona, and that feels so weird. When he gets on stage and raps, I think of him as like one of the American rappers, who are all significantly older than me.
EXO is a prime example of the evilness that is SM. They have so many problems, so many reasons to make me want to pull my hair out, but through following their story and watching their videos and shows, I can’t help but fall in love with them. Even if their management is crap, the members are too likable and their songs are amazing. Interestingly, it is always their non-title tracks that end up being my favorite. Every year, it is EXO’s album that stands out to me as the best album of the year.
I feel like I complain about EXO a lot, but it’s like any dysfunctional relationship: I wouldn’t have such strong opinions if I didn’t care about them so damn much.
My bias is Lay. He is coming dangerously close to ultimate bias territory. He seems to me to be one of the few artists who isn’t there for the drama or entertainment or success. He’s just a passionate dancer. He wants to make others happy. He wants to perfect his craft. And that is reflected in his performances.
2nd Bias: Baekhyun. I literally had to use an online bias sorter to figure this out, because after Lay, there are quite a few members who I really like. Back when I didn’t know any of their names, Baekhyun was the one I found the most attractive, and now after really getting to know EXO, I found Baekhyun to be such a fun person to watch. He is an incredible singer, and his personality never fails to bring a smile to my face.
*ultimate bias alert*
How do I even begin to describe Ailee? She is just the best. She has an unbelievable voice, which she uses to make my jaw drop with every single performance. Even if she is singing a song I don’t like, she manages to keep me interested through her sheer passion and vocal strength. Despite that, she has such a sweet and humble personality in interviews and TV shows. People joke about different things that “saved K-pop,” but Ailee is the real deal. She saved K-pop.
Over the past couple of years, I have become so emotionally invested in B.A.P. It started out as simply an admiration of their talent and fangirling over their cute personalities, but now I really love them in a way that I don’t think will ever change despite any new groups that debut and steal my attention. They were the first artists I ever saw live in concert. Then right afterwards they went through such an emotionally draining struggle with their company, and after almost two years made an earth-shattering comeback. I still can’t watch Young, Wild & Free without thinking of the emotional context that came with it. It isn’t just a regular music video for me. It symbolizes who they are, what they fought through, and what they fought for.
My bias is Jongup 🙂 I have never been able to quite describe exactly why he became my bias. This was totally one of those “you don’t choose the bias; the bias chooses you” moments. He just caught my attention back in their Power music video and I have been captivated since. He’s a great dancer, and always manages to have the coolest hair in their music videos.
2nd Bias: Daehyun. Through the whole emotional turmoil of falling in love with them after their concert and crying for them in their lawsuit, I have for some reason felt the most connected to Daehyun. Maybe he just has the realest personality of all of them.
It has officially been two years since the beginning of the VIXX obsession and they are still going strong. I’m still in that cloud 9-honeymoon phase with them in which everything they do excites me. They are getting so successful and they so deserve it. They are truly so good at what they do and each member contributes so much to the group.
My bias is Ken. He’s my third and fighting for second ultimate bias. He is unlike any of my other biases, but I have such an unreal amount of love for him and everything that he is.
*ultimate bias alert*
2nd Bias: Hyuk. He used to be the bias-wrecker, but now he’s just the bias. Manhyuk won me over. He is maturing crazy fast, and he is easily becoming my favorite vocalist in the group.
Poor N and Hongbin. They are the two who first caught my interest in VIXX, and now they got beat out by their other members.
#1: Super Junior
Yes, still very steadily at the top are my boys of Super Junior. In fact, my love and appreciation for them has only grown over the past year. As I started this blog and got into new groups, I was afraid that my interest in Super Junior was fading, that maybe they just weren’t what they used to be. However with their 10th anniversary and saying goodbye to by two UBs, I was reminded of what put them at this #1 spot in the first place: it’s the members. Their personalities, their humor, their love, and their history. And unlike many of the other groups on this list, my love of their music has not faded at all. I still can’t get enough of Super Junior’s songs, both old and new.
The bias of course is Donghae. To be honest, the line between him and the second bias is blurring, but for now he is still my favorite. Even if people continue to post fantaken photos of our little police officer, it doesn’t stop me from missing him like crazy.
*ultimate bias alert*
2nd Bias: Eunhyuk. As with Donghae, I just miss him so much. He makes up so much of SJ’s flavor. It doesn’t feel right to see the members on stage now without him.
*ultimate bias alert*
Now that I am finished with part one of college (there is still graduate school to get through), my life is very much up in the air. I am not a fan of transitions, and it feels like my entire life is in transition right now. Maybe it’s because of the craziness in my life right now, but I want to change the way I do things on this blog. It’s nothing drastic, don’t worry. However, I am finding myself less and less motivated to continue doing review after review. I want to write other kinds of posts.
Moving forward, I know for sure I will continue with my Month in Review posts, in which I do mini reviews of the month’s comebacks, as well as my Catch-Up posts, which involve my commentary on things happening in the K-pop news. The only big change is that you will see less full reviews, meaning those in which I dedicate an entire post to one music video. If something really captivates me, then sure, I’ll write a full review for it. However, I won’t be rushing myself to write reviews for music videos that I don’t really care about like I used to before. While that is what I have been doing for the majority of this blog’s life, it is the other posts that seem to catch my readers’ attention more anyway.
We’ll see what the future holds. I am a work in progress, and so is my beloved blog. 😉
Question of the Day:
Who are your favorite artists? What causes your list to change when it does?
#NowPlaying: Huff n Puff by Red Velvet. I listened to their most recent album for the first time today, and wow. They are pretty good! I haven’t really given Red Velvet a good listen since they debuted until today, and I wish I did sooner! If you’re a fan of f(X), you will definitely like Red Velvet’s stuff.
Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!