Read on to find out which k-pop feature tracks Kpopalypse hated the most in 2015!
So what do I think of 2015? Well, overall not much of a quality change from 2014, with one major difference - the absolute shittest songs were really, really shit this year, there was an impressive consistency to the low quality of k-pop songs in 2015. Competition to get on this list was as a result extremely hot, and if some of you are wondering "where's [crap song x]" - well it was probably strongly considered but didn't make the cut. Or it's on my favourites list.
Here is a preamble to this list which explains its intentions for the 2% of you who actually read these introductions instead of skipping straight to my picks and then whining about them.
- This list is inclusive from Jan 1st 2015 to December 31st 2015 and was published on December 31st 2015. It may appear at a different time for some due to timezone differences.
- Yes these are really my opinions, I haven't included anything for clickbait/edginess/troll purposes (although if you find yourself trolled I consider this an acceptable secondary outcome).
- If this post is too negative for you sunny positive demeanour, I have a favourites list for 2015 as well, why not read it instead?
- Only k-pop feature tracks with MVs or music show promotions are included, because I can't listen to everything. Also it makes the post more visually interesting if there are videos.
- Songs by k-pop artists in English, Japanese or other languages do count for this list, but covers of popular western songs do not.
- Popularity of the songs (or lack thereof) is not a factor for this list. I don't care what got on the charts or not, what won an award or didn't, that's all herd-mentality stuff that has nothing to do with my personal music taste.
- Songs for OSTs, sporting events etc do not count because they are generally the same generic song over and over again with minor variations and not interesting to write about.
- Christmas songs do not count, they are a special breed of shitstain and thus have their own special post dedicated just to them.
- Speaking of shitstains: contrary to popular belief of those who don't really read my posts properly (and probably won't read this either), I've never once claimed that my music taste is better than anyone else's. Yes I do have a music industry background (teaching, management, touring, composition, audio engineering, production, blah de blah read the FAQ if you give a shit) but no that does not make my music taste "better". If you enjoyed songs on my worst-of list and hated songs on my favourites list, that's totally fine. The primary purpose of both the favourites AND the worst-of lists is laughs, entertainment, something for you to read to take your mind off the pointlessness of existence, discovery of songs for those of you who don't keep track of k-pop closely, creative writing fun times for myself, and documentation of songs for myself so I have a nice reference that I can link to friends and others who ask what I like and dislike. Hopefully you enjoy the lists. If not, that's fine but why people who hate my posts continue to read and comment about them is a continual mystery to me.
That's enough of the preamble for the newbies and those who don't get it - the rest of you know the real deal, so it's time to get started! And what better way to kick off this worst-of list than...
30. CL, Diplo, Riff Raff & OG Maco - Doctor Pepper
That's right kids, 2015 was such an extreme year for k-pop bullshit that CL's embarrassing American excursion into stream-of-consciousness trap nonsense "Doctor Pepper" was only just shitty enough to scrape onto the far end of this list. Even CL fans are under no illusions about how bad "Doctor Pepper" is, with most of their comments on the video either writing off the song as an ambitious failed experiment...
...or saying "it's only a collab so it doesn't really count", encouraging 2NE1 fans to stay strong because she'll no doubt do better soon.
CL herself didn't even give that much of a shit about it, freely admitting that she just sang any old bullshit into the studio microphone because she didn't want to waste any more time than absolutely necessary on this crap (hence the very honest lyrics about "I've got a plane to catch"). Mind you the song still does have a certain fascination about it thanks to some decent production and a creepy, foreboding atmosphere which I'm not entirely sure is intentional but helps a little nonetheless. Whatever the case, when you actually look forward to the part of a song where Riff Raff appears because of the slight lift in interest level that it provides, then you know that whatever you're listening to has got some major issues on a basic music quality level.
Now it's time for 29 songs that I thought were worse than "Doctor Pepper". Oh boy.
29. Sistar - Shake It
About a minute into this atrocious mess, Bora (I think) walks toward the camera with an apron (or something) that reads "don't set your goals by what other people deem important". There's certainly no fear of that kind of behaviour from Sistar in 2015, who seem content to disregard the wishes of everyone interested in actual music and now just continually recycle a bland pastiche of all their other "summer songs" every year. The vocal melodies all sound copy-pasted from their past hits and the song's shrillness never lets up, with every single second from the first verse onward taken up with endless vocal clutter. I'd fathom a guess that Starship just aren't trying all that hard anymore - they've realised that nobody is interested in Sistar for the music nowadays so they just throw together any old bullshit so they can get the girls to get the girls out every summer. However disregarding the music "Shake It" is even a failure on a basic fap level - the video is edited at T-ara levels of frame-juggling so the only way you're going to get to appreciate important details like Soyu wearing a Pocket Girls-style tits-harness is by continually freeze-framing it. Watching this for fap is like going to watch a Michael Bay film just for the explosions and finding out the sad truth that Michael Bay isn't actually all that good at filming explosions because he keeps zooming and cutting everywhere so you can't actually see anything explode properly. Nobody expected this to actually sound any good but when a Sistar video can't even deliver the goods as jerkoff material it's a sad day for k-pop.
28. Taeyeon ft. Verbal Jint - I
Everyone expected this solo debut to be some horrid R&B vocal wank trash from the pits of hell, but SM surprised us all by taking Girls' Generation's Taeyeon down the sleepytime-radio-rocker route instead. Taeyeon performs admirably in the shit music stakes and even manages to out-Coldplay utter garbage like Nell with this incredibly turgid ultra-conservative middle of the road mid-paced ballad complete with 576 layers of clean electric guitar-plucking weighing down the track every second so things don't get too exciting or out of hand like a song you might want to listen to. Mr. Jint (do his friends just call him Verbal?) doesn't spice things up either, his impact on the track is essentially nothing, with his rap part being out of the way before the song proper even begins, leaving Taeyeon to screech and yelp unaccompanied to her heart's content with that pissfartingly annoying climax. Who says Korean rock isn't as advanced as the west, this is just as boring as anything coming out of America and England's shittier shoegazey pop/rock hybrids. At least the box video is decent (some quaint green islands and buildings leased from the New Zealand government being the box of choice), with Taeyeon quitting her day job after spying a butterfly and longing for freedom, suggesting that maybe she's a little more understanding about Jessica's situation than SM will allow her to openly admit.
27. Berry Good - Because Of You
Berry Good's "Love Letter" was fantastic and one of my favourites last year, but it was actually a (much-improved) cover of an old Click-B song, and while not wanting to take away from how awesome it was, doing an established song is always the easiest road to take when debuting an unknown group. Naturally I was curious to see what Berry Good and their agency could do on their own when not riding on the coat-tails of someone else's past hit, and as it so happens, sweet fuck all. The melodies of "Because Of You" are unbelievably twee and irritating, grinding over the root note constantly like a rainbow-coloured electric drill only capable of one speed being thrust repeatedly into the side of my skull, except for that other bit where they do a quasi-descending scale which sounds like something that'd be rejected from a J-Rabbit song for sounding too much like The Wiggles. This song really is awful and even the dull nondescript ballad that they churned out six months later was still way better than this.
26. Red Velvet - Automatic
In 2014 Red Velvet released the awful "Be Natural", a cover of a turgid S.E.S song that sounded so similar in every aspect to the original (except the obligatory rap break) that if it was promoted as a remastered version of the original recording instead of a cover by some different group of girls, everybody probably would have believed it and said "wow, they really cleaned up that old S.E.S recording nicely". "Automatic" is essentially the same thing again, swiping exactly the same rhythm and textures from "Be Natural" and this time changing the chords and melodies only the absolute bare minimum required for it to be technically classed as a different song. You're only listening to a new piece of music here in a strictly technical/legal sense rather than in spirit, and the whole experience makes me feel like the girls must have felt in the video when they had to sit in front of a dinner table full of delicious food that their idols diets strictly forbade them to eat. I can never remember whether this side of Red Velvet is considered the "Red" or the "Velvet" side, but either way it's the shit side and thank god they redeemed themselves somewhat with the actually-pretty-decent "Ice Cream Cake" by releasing it the very next day, presumably to make us forgive and forget "Automatic" as quickly as possible.
25. Ben - Looby Loo
The door to the office of The VIBE Entertainment's CEO bursts open.
"That's it! I've got it! I've found the secret formula for Ben's next hit!" screams a wide-eyed music producer, rushing up to the CEO's desk.
The CEO rolls his eyes. "Okay, what is it this time? This better not be another one of your crappy BigBang cover ideas..."
"What we need is a k-pop version of the Hokey Pokey!"
"The what... ?" The CEO raises his eyebrows.
"You know, the Hokey Pokey!" The producer starts singing: "put your right foot in, put your right foot out... put your right foot in and shake it all about... It's a public domain song so we can't get sued for using it, and everyone knows it! An instant hit!"
A slight pause, as the CEO thinks. "No, that'll never fly. Kids are growing up fast these days. They're developing yolosweg tendencies earlier and earlier, we don't want to sound too immature or we'll lose that lucrative 'I check my swag with daddy's credit card' demographic."
"Well... I don't know, what about if we add some trap somewhere?"
"Add some trap? In a children's song? No, you're nuts... that's crazy."
The composer takes a deep breath. "Well, it won't be perceived as a children's song if there's a little trap in it. Maybe on the way to the chorus, the beat can slow to half-time and we can put in some of those sweg drum machine sounds, and maybe a few dubstep bass drops..."
"Dubstep bass drops? I've had quite enough of your crazy schemes! You're fired, get the fuck outta here!" the CEO yells. "Get your things and get outta my sight!"
The composer runs out the door, crying. Meanwhile the CEO sits back in his chair, thinking. "Hmmm... now that composer's gone, I can take credit for his idea. Hokey Pokey... dubstep... AND trap... it might just work. I guess I don't really know anything about songwriting, but hey the kids will listen to any old bullshit these days, after all it's 2015... how hard can it be?"
24. Global Icon (GI) - Doligo Doligo
When Global Icon debuted in 2013 with "Beatles", they showed a slightly different k-pop concept to normal with the group being made up of five tomboyish Amber types. The song was kick-ass but sadly this was an image that was never going to fly in Korea - an agency in a genre that thrives on endorsements and CF work as the main money earner will find it very hard to attract sponsors if they promote girls that are so different from the idyllic Korean beauty queen. One tomboy girl within a group of traditionally-adorned girls is fine as far as the industry is concerned, but not every member of the group, because who's going to cross over to CFs, endorse those feminine beauty products and make the agency some damn money? Young girls might be hesitant to buy makeup with Krystal from f(x) endorsing it on the front of the box if she looked like a dude, so GI are now back with a slightly more web-searchable song title and a more conventional image similar to EXID. Despite the whining of fans who miss the old look, no-one is happier for the image change than the girls themselves who admit that the boy concept was forced on them as a way to make them stand out and wasn't something they were super-comfortable with. Unfortunately the new song they've been lumbered with is shitty musically, with an annoying chant chorus and that same funk guitar riff that everybody uses... but then "Booshit" back when they were still doing the tomboy thing was a pile of crap too, so let's not blame the change of image - whoever writes songs for this group just sucks now and a few haircuts won't change that.
23. Miryo ft. Gain - Queen
Miryo's BDSM-wear in this video looks like a stage outfit Judas Priest would reject for containing too many leather straps and is at least as terrifying as JYP's plastic pants. For once I was grateful to watch a k-pop video where the girl's boobs are mostly obscured by her hair because I really don't want a better look at what's under there. She seems to me like she's trolling us all with that cheeky smile and I don't mind a bit of being trolled but what I do mind is music sucking and boy does this suck. Supposedly Miryo has some kind of underground rap pedigree so I was expecting something at least lyrically decent but when I heard this song I remembered that even most underground rap sucks now and I reminded myself about how foolish I was to think that this would be a guarantee of decent music. When she says "the sun is going dooooown" and then "the club's in down tooooown" I can't stop cringing, it's the k-pop sweg-lite version of listening to some 80s glam rocker with poncy hair singing "I'm all alone/waitin' by the phone", or "it's Saturday night/and I'm feelin' alright". It all makes me wish for someone (preferably Gain) to walk into the video shoot and slap Miryo across the head with a thesaurus. I could have tolerated these crimes against lyricism if the song had a decent beat but sadly it's a failure there too, being just the usual trendy crap completely bereft of all the qualities that makes the better hip-hop around the world actually worth listening to. Maybe Miryo will one day get to flex those supposed underground rap skills properly but that day didn't happen in 2015.
22. Bumkey - My Everything
At one point in this song Bumkey quotes the bible: "pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything" (Thessaloninans 5:16-18 yo) so I guess he's a christian and gosh that's probably a nice uplifting little quote for all you christians out there, isn't that nice that he's sharing his religion with us, it must be because he's a virtuous person who cares so much about our welfare. I of course also care about the welfare of my readers so it's time for a little religious sharing of my own. I loved the idea of christianity when I was a kid, because the thought of "just follow the rules in this book and be kind to everybody and good things happen and hey even if they don't you get to go to paradise later as long as you follow the instructions correctly" seemed totally awesome. I read the bible quite a bit, and in the bible, god was always doing lots of "stuff" - making bushes burn, making the world flood, sending person A over here and banishing person B to over there, and most importantly talking to his followers constantly. I prayed to god a lot when I was really young for all sorts of shit - destruction of my fucked-up school, the banishment of brussels sprouts, a Commodore 64 joystick that was durable and wouldn't stop working after a month of use, etc - but I never got any response about any of it. The world that I lived in didn't deliver on the promise of the bible - my school and brussels sprouts both remained terrifying and the best that god could manage on the joystick front was the TAC-2 which was hyped as sturdy and durable but the buttons always gradually died after a month of use. I quickly worked out that no matter how hard and sincerely I prayed or how nice a person I was, it didn't make any difference to the world around me. So I tried being a total cunt for a while instead just to see if anything would change, and it didn't - my school continued to remain structurally sound and impervious to fire and flood, brussels sprouts continued to grow on earth and would continue to appear on my dinner plate at about the same ratio as previously, the replacement TAC-2 I bought also broke and god remained quiet about all of it. Then one day during a game of Decatholon on the Commodore 64 (a notorious joystick-wrecker of a game due to the fast waggling action needed to make the athletes move) the supposedly "unbreakable metal shaft" of my third TAC-2 snapped and was revealed to be just a thin metal veneer over flimsy plastic - a construction as brittle and unsubstantial as the last few remnants of my faith. As I looked down at the crumbling metal and plastic concoction a moment of clarity occurred and I realised then that if there was a god, he didn't give a flying fuck what I did. Maybe he wasn't real at all and I along with billions of others had been told a lie - or maybe he was real but was too busy eating mountains of chocolate and getting titwanked by big-boobed angels to care about worldly concerns or the prayers of his followers which to be fair is exactly what I would also do if I were the creator of the world. Obviously christianity was incorrect, but without it where was my moral compass? How would I know for sure what was right and wrong in the world? Also, heaven sounded really fucking cool and I wanted to get in, how was I to do this now? Fortunately recently I discovered the religion of Rainaism so now my soul is at peace, guided by the always-relevant teachings of Orange Caramel's Raina who advises that one should not covet the next life when one can fap to Raina in this life. The book of Rainaism also has some relevant words that Bumkey should have heeded:
- Thou shalt keep thine vocal overdubs to a bare minimum necessary for function of the song
- Thou shalt not abuse the use of Fender Rhodes keyboard to over-smooth a backing track
- Forsaketh thou soft wimpy R&B bullshit
- Sepia-toned drawings do not a good song make, nor a visually compelling video
- Do not use the words "I'd rather have bad times with you than good with myself" as verily thou art a doormat to believe such
21. GD&TOP - Zutter
Hey all the people who claim that I'm a YG hater, do you know what I actually liked in k-pop a few years back? The feature tracks from BigBang members G-Dragon and T.O.P's first album. "Knock Out" had a bizarre and cool beat that allowed me to overlook anything else possibly wrong with it, and "High High" impressed me as a k-pop reimaginging of RUN-DMC's "It's Like That" remix that successfully captured the same sort of party atmosphere. You won't find the MVs of those songs anywhere on BigBang's official channel due to the group flashing the Playboy logo everywhere without permission (one of k-pop's very, very, very few legitimate copyright infringement cases which was silently swept under the rug by their agency while k-pop following idiots incorrectly complained about IU or Primary or T-ara or whatever innocent people were trendy to hate on at the time) and it's a shame because it means two MVs from back when BigBang members on average produced decent music are now out of official circulation. Still, I was looking forward to "Zutter" in the hope that GD&TOP decided that since G-Dragon's solo stuff is all trendy yoloswagfest, that they weren't going to cave into that exact same sort of sound for the duo unit but instead retain the vibe that made the original two feature tracks work and... yeah okay, never mind. Anyway the video sums it up, this is a good designated piss-break song for my radio show.
20. Girls' Generation - Party
Girls' Generation years ago actually introduced me to the concept of "the k-pop girl group that doesn't suck" as a thing that was possible so it's kind of weird how almost everything they do is crap now. "Party" isn't the worst feature track that they've ever done, but it's pretty fucking close. The tune kicks off with Tiffany's "do you know what time it is?" intro which provides much second-hand embarrassment but once the "generic k-pop summer song 101" groove kicks in it soon becomes apparent that her limp Flavor Flav impersonation is actually the most interesting part of the song. It's little wonder that Girls' Generation can't pull off this party concept to save themselves, as being friendly and social is new territory for the group and isn't something within the Hateful Eight's comfort zone, as it would eat into valuable time that could be used for either furthering their careers or ostracising members. At least the video has Sunny wearing something that shows some boob flesh for a change (slyly edited in a "I know you're looking at my tits and I'm totally cool with that" way at 0.46, all you feminists who believe in the "male gaze" feel free to use this observation for your next thesis) so this comeback isn't a total waste.
19. NS Yoon G - Honey Summer
If there's one thing worse than a Sistar summer comeback these days, it's a soundalike of a Sistar summer comeback that isn't even as good as the excuse for music that Sistar puts out now. Yet another clumsy entrant into the urine-soaked wading pool of "generic k-pop summer songs 101", there's really nothing to say about "Honey Summer" musically because it's so utterly generic, so let's talk about NS Yoon-G's boobs instead. It hurts to watch her in a video like this because while I'm sure Korean summers are pretty mild, where I live the summers routinely get into the heat-death zone where healthy young men collapse into comas and sensible people stay the fuck indoors if they have a choice. I'd be devastated if anything bad happened to NS Yoon-G because of the extreme heat, like dehydration, heat exhaustion or cleavage tan lines, so let's not let that happen. I hope for her sake that it was actually really overcast and non-sunny on the day of the shoot and the MV colourist has just messed with this a little to make it look like the sun was actually shining. She should do more indoor videos like "Yasisi" and take care of herself better rather than risking her career and livelihood on the beach following bullshit summer video trends.
18. Amber ft. Taeyeon - Shake That Brass
This song will be on a lot of other worst-of lists too, but probably for the wrong reasons. Adrian always gets an unfair hiding from k-pop fans who can't handle that she looks tomboyish because they're homophobes who probably have nightmares about her breaking into their house and giving them a pegging (the scary part of the nightmare for them being that they would enjoy it). Picking on Arnold's appearance is one of the most basic and unfunny of basic, unfunny jokes you can make about anyone in k-pop, right down there with "Hyuna is a slut because she has big tits herp derp" in terms of the sophistication of the satire level and the amount of amusement it can provide to anybody with a brain. All this "I can't accept the song because of Manber being manly" is a joke, are you really that much of a sexually insecure silver-spoon Mommy's boy that you can't handle a girl dressing like a guy? All the girls in Twice and Gfriend probably look even manlier once you take off the 76 layers of expertly applied makeup, put them in a suit, strap their boobs to their chest and give then a bowl cut. Let's hate "Shake That Brass" not for your inability to deal with people who are different from you, but for the reasons that actually matter, like how it's a piece of shit musically. On the positive side the song has a refreshingly quick pace, sounds unique in k-pop thanks to the tuba, and Anthony actually gets a full verse or two of rapping in which obviously suits her (if not us) better than the four bars of her rap that we get drip-fed every year via the f(x) comebacks, but then there's that shitty chorus and all the stupid chanting and cheesy English use which fucks up all that good work. The biggest problem however with "Shake That Brass" is Taeyeon's contribution, and she leaves a great big warbling vocashit all over everything in her usual style because she's a one-trick pony who can't do anything else and I hope that once Adam has finished pegging all you Internet-teat-suckling homophobic "I fapped to DMX's 'Where The Hood At' once just to see what it felt like, no homo" closet gays in denial she shoves the strapon down Taeyeon's throat and glues it in there for the future good of all music everywhere.
17. Taeil - Inspiring
When people start talking about how they like a song and the only reason that they can give for liking it is the singer's voice and talent, then that says a lot to me. It tells me straight away that the song must be fucking crap, because if the technique of the singer stands out to the point where it doesn't occur to you to say anything at all about why you like the song itself (other than that you like it because of the singer, which is circular logic), then the song must not have been very engaging to become so easily overshadowed. The whole point of the singer is to strengthen the song to the best of his ability, not to create a bunch of stupid fawning over his own voice. It's like buying a dress because the workmanship on the cross-stitching is really good and not even caring if the dress actually fits or looks any good on you when you put it on. But then there are actually people out there who buy toys and leave them in boxes and never open those boxes ever and there's a big business in selling shit to those people so I guess if stupid people can be robbed and the money can be used for something useful it could be said that they do contribute to the greater good. Notice that I've left any specific reference to the singer or the song itself out of this write-up, that way I can just copy and paste it the next time some bullshit song exactly like this comes up for review, which will probably be pretty soon given that about 25 songs are released exactly like this each week in Korea.
16. Untouchable - Crayon
One of the most effective parts of the satire in MC Vagina/Jon Lajoie's "Very Super Famous" were the bored as fuck women standing around in the background of some of the shots, because that's actually exactly what being a woman on these video shoots is like. Any video shoot for anybody on camera is 90% standing around either getting styled or just waiting around for something to happen while tech crews do stuff, it's boring enough for the person who is the focus who actually has things to do when the cameras rolls, imagine if your role actually in the video itself was also sitting around doing jack shit while some super-generic yolo bullshit music played. Untouchable have some of the most "fuck this for a joke, where's my fuckin' money" girls in their "Crayon" video that I've ever seen in k-pop and you can tell by the eye-roll at 0:43 that the girl with the big boobs in the passenger seat of that stupid impractical vehicle is so fucking over it and hates this song as well as the carrying on of rap guys in general as much as the next rational person. I hope at least she made more money than the guys did rapping in this garbage.
15. Girl's Day - Ring My Bell
Many years ago I was poking around at a garage sale when I found a Roland TR-808 drum machine. The guy who owned it really didn't want it and was selling it for $30, citing how horrible and unlike anything resembling a real drumkit it sounded. I talked him down from $30 to $5 and then snapped it up happily - unbeknownst to the seller, a TR-808 in new condition is worth thousands of dollars because although those machines were wildly unpopular at the time due to not sounding anything at all like a drumkit, their characteristic non-natural sounds were unique and found their way into several classic rap, soul and techno recordings, making the value of them skyrocket a few years after Roland stopped producing them. Unfortunately for me as I found out shortly afterward on a studio session, this particular 808 was in far from "new condition" and had an interesting fault where it would just change tempos all on its own for no reason. Listening to Girl's Day's "Ring My Bell" the chorus where the drum machine rockets along at a crazy pace totally reminded me of the studio session that I had to blow out because the 808 kept fucking up the tempo of everything and dialling itself up to face-mashing speed. Unfortunately Girl's Day doesn't sound as good as the broken machine did thanks to way too many instruments cluttering up the mix, constant annoying vocals that never let up and that fucking godawful harmonica, which is always a warning sign in k-pop songs to stop listening immediately as no good will come of it. The broken machine is probably still worth a few hundred dollars too which is probably more than a Girl's Day member would cost at a tenpro, so there's another advantage.
14. Fly To The Sky - If I Have To Hate You
I didn't know what to say about this song and felt somewhat at a loss for words, so in the spirit of "a picture is worth a thousand words" I looked deep inside myself, harnessed my creative energy, and painted a picture to show you all how I felt. I know it's very self-indulgent to post my pictures here especially as I'm still very new to painting, but please bear with me as I share this creative work now with you all.
I feel like this picture really encapsulates the emotions that come to the fore when I listen to "If I Have To Hate You". I especially feel like I've captured an accurate depiction of the song's dynamic contrast, variety, range of emotional content and ability to hold my attention. I know I'm still an amateur but I worked really hard on this picture and I hope you all appreciate it and can at least see what I was trying to convey, even if my technique still needs a lot of work. I will endeavour to work harder in the future to bring you an improved image as a painter. Thank you.
13. A.KOR Black - How We Do
After Minju and Kemy's excellent mixtape raps, I expected big things for the A.KOR Black subunit. How foolish was I? In hindsight, conformity to the "let's stick a colour onto the end of our group name" trend of mentally lazy subunit-naming should have tipped me off that maybe the full breadth of music and conceptual imagination was perhaps not going to be applied in this case, but even if this had occurred to me I doubt I would have expected a perfect storm of elements quite this terrible. The chorus here is one of the worst rap choruses ever in the history of the form (although incredibly, not the worst this year!) and the rest of it has a cheesy, tinny beat similar to but even worse than the crap that was used for Miryo's "Queen" - Minju and Kemy's raps over the top are acceptable enough but even the best MC in history would be fighting a losing battle against a backing this bad. Visually the video doesn't fare any better, with both of them rocking the kind of eyesore yolo fashions that 2NE1 used to wear before they "turned 20" necessitating the covering of more recently-scarred flesh, and it's all shot as deliberately high-contrast as possible just to make sure your eyes don't derive even the slightest pleasure from focusing anywhere on the screen. That includes any pleasure from me looking at Minju who is terrifyingly hot with the right styling but just looks disgusting here, maybe it's the same stylist who made Minah look like rubbish in her solo because I can't think of any other recent example of a hot k-pop girl's look so completely and utterly destroyed beyond recognition with the wrong makeup, clothing and hair. They've even got those fucking awful Dara painted-on hair strand things that look like someone attacked her forehead with a ballpoint pen, and I know A.KOR's plan is basically to copy 2NE1 in all ways possible known to humanity but someone should have told them that the whole point of copying someone else's shit should be to improve on it by copying the good bits and discarding the bad. Maybe this entire track is A.KOR's producers showing that they can be just as shit as 2NE1 at their worst, so they can show the world how it feels damn good to be bad. I suggest if anyone ever gives you a physical copy of this, that you light it up and let it burn like you don't care.
12. Lim Kim - Ah Woo
There's a section of this song at about 1:18 where Lim Kim plays the annoying main riff on a Casio keyboard, just to emphasise that there is in fact a keyboard riff in the song in case you missed it gradually plodding away and grinding your eardrums down into a paste all the way through the song's first verse up until that point. You'll notice how her right index finger does nothing but continually hit the high Eb key, gosh I can't imagine how listening to that over and over might get a little fucking irritating after a while if it was played, say, fourteen times over the course of two minutes, and observant viewers will notice that the logo is blurred out on the keyboard which proves that Casio understandably weren't willing to pay endorsement money to have their business associated with whatever Lim Kim was doing to their equipment. Then the verses when she starts singing it's about 70% all the one note hammering at you like some sort of fucking vocal water torture until the chorus happens which is almost entirely made up of fucking cat noises. Sure she sounds unique (hey everybody let's pretend we haven't heard of Jane Jang ahem), but me doing a k-pop livestream where I spread my asscheeks and take a shit on someone's face would also be unique, but that doesn't mean that people would want to listen - mind you some deviants would probably enjoy it, just like some crazy folks actually preferred this godawful ear torture over the vastly superior "Love Game". It's all a bit like listening to a k-pop ballad version of Hatebeak with the key difference that Hatebeak is supposed to be funny whereas I'm pretty sure whoever wrote "Ah Woo" is expecting me to take it seriously. Mystic89 tellingly don't have this particular full video hosted on their own channel, maybe they didn't want to be associated too strongly with it, and we're apparently supposed to believe the hype from k-pop fans that Mystic89 is somehow "different" to other agencies (despite just having signed Brown Eyed Girls, the most idol of idol groups that ever was idoled) so I'm going to blame Lim Kim 100% for this nonsense until otherwise notified.
11. Pungdeng-E - Ppippippappa
Pungdeng-E are like the bastard child of Crayon Pop and J-Rabbit, combining Crayon Pop's penchant for oddball concepts and screechy yelpiness with J-Rabbit's sickeningly awful childrens TV show style melodies and commitment to completely unexciting music on every single level. The Pungdeng-E girls do their best to appear as "zany" as possible but they're completely hamstrung by the extremely basic music which has no harmonic movement beyond I, IV and V and plods along at a completely inappropriately slow pace for this kind of material, throwing you chord changes at a rate of once per four seconds at their fastest. All those vocal yelps and shouts to try and give the song a vibe of "gee what great fun we're having" aren't convincing at all and don't hide the fact that someone is selling plodding children's TV show theme music to people over 8 years old and expecting them to accept it without complaint. This supposedly upbeat song is actually a boring children's TV ballad in disguise. If you're still not convinced, go to YouTube's playback settings, change the speed of this song to 1.5 and listen to the quality of the song vastly improve. Also as an added bonus, if you play it faster the song finishes sooner and you can get back to staring at a blank wall or whatever other more stimulating activity you were up to before you clicked on this.
10. CL - Hello Bitches
9. Luhan - Lu
Luhan is so baby-faced and lithe, he's got the completely wrong image for yolosweggin' like this, hearing him sing about how he's "out here with my crew" (crew of what - hair stylists and makeup artists?) and going to "press you like some juice" doesn't fit his persona at all, it's like listening to a song from T-ara's Boram called "I'm So Tall". I guess that's why this video tries to make you forget about Luhan's image up until now by supplanting his facial features with some scary deer that are really scary, but not as scary as his gumnastic lyrics. However ignoring where it's from, what's being sung and who's signing it, "Lu" is made awful primarily by that chorus where he sings "blow it like a flute" and then proceeds to chant "oooh" like he's straining out a chunky constipated shit. The T-Pain style hard-Autotuned R&B warbles of course only add to the shittiness of proceedings and just when the song starts improving a little with some layered keyboard it ends. It's hard to imagine how this could have gotten the green light as a feature track, maybe it was to try and make Luhan's other solo songs looks relatively good, in which case the strategy definitely worked.
8. Jay Park - Sex Trip
I like Jay Park as a person because he's honest about being a complete pervert but boy he puts out some shit tunes. Songs like "GGG" and "Mommae" were far from great but "Sex Trip" is that same crooning nu-school R&B ballad that he puts out every single year with a different name, and they never get much better or worse. The main problem with Jay Park in particular doing this type of material is that he loves to sing in falsetto which is always the wrong type of choice for a guy singing any sort of slow sex song. If Barry White sung his entire repertoire like someone had kicked him in the nuts, I'm sure he wouldn't be as well known as he is today. But then I could be wrong, maybe the modern woman likes to dream about a short emasculated man with his balls cut off making soft-as-shite music, maybe it shows that he understands their needs or something and I just need to get with the program and realise the desires of today's music-listening females. Feel free to comment below about if I'm right or wrong about that.
7. Livii - Watch & Learn
For some reason this entire video is framed with the most bizarre border full of random crap, which reminds me of those Fischer-Price toys I had as a kid where you'd draw something on a gaudily-framed plastic screen and then once you were done you could wipe it away with a sliding bar or shake it a bit or whatever. Unfortunately both the music and video also look and sound like they were recorded on the same Toys R Us equipment, and I wish I could wipe the existence of this generic yoloturd away as easily as moving a sliding bar on one of those sketch-magic things. Already covered on Kpopalypse Nugu Alert, Livii has one of those songs which proves that I don't cut unknown artists any slack on these lists when it comes to song quality just because they're nugu. It's a pity that I'm compelled to hate on this music so much as Livii has a kind of tacky-but-cute hoodrat look somewhere between Qri and Miley Cyrus that I'm actually really attracted to (even though in this particular video she has no idea how to dress herself, so I recommend her YouTube channel for later use) and I'd happily reach out to her for an interview but it would be fucking awkward if she discovered her entry in this list before that happened.
6. BigBang - Bang Bang Bang
You know, I really think BigBang get way too much hate these days. Everyone in the group are such talented artiB-B-BDING-DING-D-DING-BA-BA-BOM-BOM-BOMMM-BOMMMMM-BABABOM-BOM-BA-DANG-DONG-DING-DINGsts and in fact YG Entertainment as a collective is a whole beehive of talent. Not only are all their artists great singers and perfoDING-DING-DING-DA-DING-DING-BOM-BOM-BO-BOBOBOOOOMMM-BOMMMBOOOM-BOBOBODING-DING-DA-DING-DING-BOM-BOM-BO-BOBOBOOOOMMMDING-DING-DA-DING-DINGBOM-BO-BOBOBOM-BO-BOBODING-DA-DING-DING-BOM-BOM-BO-BOBOBOOOOMMM-BOMMMBOOOM-BOBOBODINGrmers but they even learn music production so they can have useful skills after their careers on the pop frontlines are over, something that I wish more labels would have the foresight to do. There's not many artists out there in Korea who arBOMM-BOMMMBOM-BO-BO-BOMM-BA-DING-DING-DA-DING-DA-DA-DA-DA-BAR-BAR-BA-BOM-BOMBRAAAAM-BOM-BA-DING-DIN-DONG-BANG-BO-BOM-BOOOOOOOOM-BOMMBOMBOOOOOOM-BO-BO-BA-DING-DING-BAR-BA-DING-DANG-BOMMM-BARABOM-BOM-BOMMMM-BO-BOMM-BA-DING-DING-DA-DING-DA-DA-DA-DA-BAR-BAR-BA-BOM-BOMBRAAAAM-BOM-BA-DING-DIN-DONG-BANG-BO-BOM-BOOOOOOOOM-BOMMBOMBOOOOOOM-BO-BO-BA-DING-DING-BAR-BA-DING-DANG-BOMMM-BARABOM-BOM-BOMMMMe so in completely in control of their own product as BigBang and they really do their best to deliver what their fans want every single time. I think that's something which should be acknowlEBRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABADING-DING-DONG-DANG-BA-BA-BOM-BOM-BOMMMBOMMMM-DA-DING-DING-DING-BAR-BAR-BA-BA-BA-DING-DING-BOM-BOBOBOOMMMM-BOMMMM-DING-DING-BA-DING-DONG-DANG-BA-BA-BOM-BOM-BOMMMBOMMMM-DA-DING-DING-DING-BAR-BAR-BA-BA-BA-DING-DING-BOM-BOBOBOOMMMM-BOMMMM-DINGBA-BA-BOM-BOM-BOMMM-BA-DING-DONG-DANG-BA-BA-BOM-BOM-BOMMMBOMMMM-DA-DING-DINGBA-BA-DING-DING-BOM-BOBOBOOMMMM-BOMMMM-DING-DING-BA-DINGdged and respected, don't you?
5. B Free ft. Play$tar & Sway D - Kawasaki
In 1978, seminal English industrial music group Throbbing Gristle released their album "DoA - The Third And Final Annual Report", featuring what would come to be regarded as their most iconic song, "Hamburger Lady", a relentless slab of deliberate aural torture paired with vocalist Genesis P.Orridge reciting sections of a letter describing the unfortunate plight of a burns victim. Throbbing Gristle were admired by few even at their creative and popular peak - many critics and casual music-lovers alike thought of the group as a joke, and even those who loved the group often conceded that it was music so far ahead of its time that they weren't sure if it would ever come into mainstream fashion within their lifetimes. Fear not, late 70s industrial music fans (if you're still alive), as that moment has now arrived! B Free has collated all of the main sonic elements of "Hamburger Lady" to create "Kawasaki":
- Slow repeating tuneless bass-heavy pulse - check
- Oscillating seasickness-inducing siren noise - check
- Gibberish lyrics examining human atrocities - check
4. Brooklyn - Go Brooklyn
"Yeah... y'all ain't ready", begins Jay Park at the start of this video, and for once this typical cliche hip-hop intro line isn't a bluff or a brag but closer in spirit to a public health warning and in any event certainly a statement of pure unadulterated trufax. I definitely wasn't ready for this, and neither will you be, regardless of what I write here. Of course it's not the kid's fault, I mean yeah he sounds comical but hey he's better than me when I was his age, so let's not be too harsh. He's called Brooklyn but he's Asian, so what, lighten up - I'm sure there are Asian people who live there and would be proud for him to represent, plus anyway his breaking moves are sweet. Yes the kid slurs his words and staggers around like a bitch when he raps as if he's a bit fuckin' drunk but that's pretty much the standard mode of operation for all rappers in 2015 regardless of age, gender or colour so perhaps he studied that style and is just being an authentic G. I don't actually know what he's rapping about but hey at least he's not being creepily sexualised like Little PSY was so that's another positive. The real problem with this is actually the backing track, which is that typical annoying fucking B-B-B-BOINGBOING-B-B-BOING yoloshit that nobody wants to listen to. I'm holding Jay Park responsible for not giving this kid a better beat, Jay's clearly holding all the better beats for his own proje... um... oh wait, never mind.
3. Dok2 - Riatch
And then there are people who have no excuse. This video is by and featuring an actual adult (at least in terms of physical age, if not mentally) and it's also 19+ rated, presumably for public health reasons once again, after all children are impressionable and the last thing we need is the movers and shakers and leaders of tomorrow looking up to and emulating horrible beats like this. The lyrics are on another level however. While I was watching this I decided to turn the captions on to see what Dok2 was actually saying, and the auto-generated subtitles came up with all these nonsense lyrics that were complete crap and didn't seem to have any relation to anything at all. It must be working perfectly, who know it could translate Dok2's Korean to English so accurately. Sadly I'm still not sophisticated enough to understand the true depth of what he's on about though even when translated but I do understand that he is conveying that he is "riatch, biatch" which makes me wonder why he still needs to ride his school bike to the video shoot. Maybe he just lost his driver's license by making too many illegal u-turns to fetch his swag. He's also not wearing any bike safety wear and his bicycle doesn't even have a rear reflector, let's hope he rides carefully on those dangerous South Korean roads and doesn't end up in a diatch.
2. Henry Bloomfield - Kiss A Kumiho
Don't you just hate the word "problematic"? Once a useful word with an actual meaning, now it's just a plaything for whiny Internet fuckbags and it loosely means "things I don't happen to approve of because I'm a morally grandstanding cuntface who likes to lecture others about how to run their lives from the safety of my computer chair to compensate for the fact that I'm incapable of running my own life". High on the list of concerns for those hunting for things to feel "problematic" about in the world of k-pop would probably be Henry Bloomfield, who is kind of like Chad Future with a lounge-jazz twist, and his ode to chasing Asian girls with nine tails, "Kiss A Kumiho". It's all in good-natured fun and not racist at all, I'm sure he's just interested in Korean culture and the fascinating Gumiho legend like the rest of us who forked out for the Ahri skins in League Of Legends and watched T-ara's "Bo Peep Bo Peep" on repeat and slow-motion to appreciate the finer nuances of the story. Sure he overacts like crazy and it's cringeworthy but it's not any different to what happens in other MVs or shitty Korean dramas, we're only reacting with knee-jerk revulsion because we're used to seeing an Asian guy do that stuff and not some buggy-eyed skinny white guy. What's wrong with a white guy trying out entering the k-pop scene and shoot a music video dancing with hot Korean girls anyway, why shouldn't he? Why is that bad - just because he's white? Ahhh - look who's racist all of a sudden, you hypocrite. I've got nothing against people with caucasian backgrounds (or any other racial backgrounds) getting into k-pop and doing it, observe Shannon Williams on my favourites list as proof of that. Lets cut any crap out about the girls being "exploited" too - judging by the smiles on their faces I'd say that they were renumerated fairly for their services, and in any event we see far more of Henry Bloomfield's flesh in this video than anyone else's (lucky us). The singing is fine too, that sort of semi-talking style is actually pretty normal for this particular genre of lounge-jazz-fusion-whatever and he's doing it just as well as anyone else ever did, certainly as well as he needs to. Frank Sinatra pretty much made a living out of sing-talking to the extent where he was almost an early form of rap and nobody cared back then so there's no need to be a worthless complaining cunthole about it now all of a sudden. If you're going to get all "problematic" about "Kiss A Kumiho", at least do it for a real reason. You don't have to invent all these extra bullshit reasons to hate it when the song being truly a piece of fucking unlistenable jumbled cacophonous shit that sounds like it was improvised during a particularly messy enema is perfectly valid and all the reason anyone needs.
So what's the number 1 worst song for 2015? Well it probably goes without saying that...
The density of shitty trap comebacks was so intense that I could have easily made this list just 30 trap or trap-influenced songs, and it's in fact a minor miracle that there were also k-pop songs that weren't trap-based that also sucked enough to actually compete and score places on this list. The equal parts puzzling and disgusting trend of "rap without proper beats, clever rhymes or any semblance of intelligence" that is trap swept strongly into k-pop over the course of 2015, pushing humanity closer to "peak sweg" and dominating this worst-of list, and the following song is not only the worst one of them all, but it's probably largely to blame. It was released right at the start of the year on January 1st 2015, and started such a vile and cancerous trend that it condemned the entire year to an influx of trendy nonsense from every sweggot whose agency thought they could swig a swag. Yes that's right it's...
1. Keith Ape feat. JayAllDay, Loota, Okasian & Kohh - It G Ma
Earlier in 2015, I had a health scare - I start feeling slight pain whenever I took a piss. The pain wasn't very severe, just a dull ache, but it was certainly annoying enough and consistent enough to get me worried about what it might mean for my health. I hoped that the pain would go away on its own but after a few weeks and no noticeable change, I decided that it was time to see a doctor and get myself checked out. I'm lucky enough to have a doctor who is actually pretty awesome plus also lucky to live in a country with a normal healthcare system where people can actually afford to see a doctor (i.e not the USA). I told the doctor about my pain, and he told me about the process of diagnosis.
"Well, it could be nothing, or it could be something serious. In a worst-case scenario it could be bladder cancer, but it's unlikely to be anything that bad. We'd better do some tests to make sure.", said the doctor.
Cancer? Uh oh. "If it's bladder cancer, what happens? Is that as deadly as terminal ass cancer?"
"It's easy to treat if it's caught early before it spreads. The survival rate for bladder cancer is excellent."
"How is it treated?"
"We put a small torch up through the eye of your penis and burn off the cancer cells inside your bladder, then you pee out the scar tissue later. The entire operation only takes a day."
A needle up my cock? "Can I just rip my own cock off and eat it instead? I think that would be less painful." I asked the doctor.
He seemed unfazed, no doubt he's seen people react this way before. "It's a pretty simple operation. I won't lie to you, it's pretty nasty, I certainly wouldn't want to have to go through it. But there's quite a few steps before we get to that point, so don't worry prematurely."
I had some blood tests and urine tests done, which determine if the pain is a result of a urinary tract infection. These tests both came back negative, so it was time to see a specialist.
"I'm going to need to do a prostate check" the specialist said as I sat down in his operating room.
"Okay, what's that?" I asked, already having a pretty good idea of what he was going to say but hoping against hope that it was something else and my anal virginity wasn't going to be taken by a 70-year old man. No such luck.
"Oh I just put a glove on, shove a finger up your ass and feel your prostate gland, just to make sure that it's hard and firm like it should be. Just take your clothes off and lie on your side for me over on the table, it'll only take a few seconds." I did as the doctor instructed and before I knew it I suddenly had a newfound respect for all those pornstars who had enhanced my life over the years - it wasn't exactly pleasant but it was certainly over with very quickly. It's important for any older men to get their prostate checked regularly, but I also recommend prostate checks to all you younger men so you can fully understand and appreciate the eye-rolls and grumbling you get when you ask your girlfriend if she'll do anal sex for you. There's nothing like experiencing something firsthand from the other person's perspective to increase empathy.
After this it was off to radiology for some nurses to give me an ultrasound. They asked me to drink a litre of water and not take a piss for an hour, then they smeared x-ray contact jelly over my lower abdomen and then rubbed it with some hand-held x-ray thing, which isn't anywhere near as sexy as it sounds and actually really uncomfortable because the x-ray thing puts pressure on my bladder so I wanted to pee again but of course I wasn't allowed to because it would fuck the scan results. This was actually more painful than the prostate thing because even though the discomfort was milder, it took a lot longer, and not only is the bladder pressure an issue but they have to get photographs from several different angles so they're there doing it for a while and all the pushing on my pelvic bones got a bit irritating.
A few days later I went back to my doctor, who looked at the scan results and told me that my prostate was slightly larger than normal, but it wasn't cancer. The doctor put it down to the large amount of bike-riding that I do and suggested I get a softer bicycle seat which had a gap in the middle so it doesn't put pressure on the prostate area. I went out and bought such a seat, and in a few weeks, the pain cleared up, everything was okay, and I went on about my pain-free existence.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
A while later, I discovered Keith Ape's "It G Ma". "Gosh, I've heard it's a trap thing, and I usually hate those but hey it's got over 17 million views, there must be something good about it, let's be completely fair and reasonable and give it a chance to impress me", I thought to myself as I clicked on the video, turning my speakers up to give the song every advantage possible to blow me away. My first thought was "wow, these intro sounds are pretty crap on their own but they could build into something cool", as the lazy 50 BPM beats kicked in, which is slower than any Shitney Houston song ever recorded, not that I've checked because it's bad enough that I have to listen to "It G Ma" just to review it, let's not lobotomise myself with her garbage as well. Then the guy started screeching over the top something about "underwater squad" and I could feel the pain in my prostate returning, indeed his castrated yelps reminded me of just how I felt on the inside when the doctor's fingers were shoved deeply up my colon. The song grinded on for another minute as I realised that the flaccid backing track wasn't building anywhere at all and the whole song was in fact going to be just like this, as my entire lower genital region resonated in throbbing sympathy with the horrible music, the tinny keyboard making me shudder as I imagined a hundred resectoscopes probing my genitals in painful synchronisation. Mercifully, the main guy's chanting eventually stopped while some other useless non-rapping idiots commenced some uncoordinated drunken slobbering warble, with the last guy who non-raps bearing a close auditory resemblance to the noise that the x-ray contact gel tube made when it squirted out its contents just before the hand-held x-ray machine painfully pushed on my bladder. Just like the ultrasound, the song also painfully overstays its welcome, clocking in at nearly the six minute mark, and if you want to know how my several weeks of medical checkups made me feel in auditory song form, it's all right here in "It G Ma". Just don't ask me which experience is more unpleasant, I'm really not sure.
That's it for Kpopalypse's 2015 worst k-pop songs list! Thanks for reading my worthless opinions, and thanks to Dwelph for the Admiral Boram image! Don't forget that there's a favourites list as well, and here's to a hopefully less trap-infused 2016!