2014 Year in Review: Worst K-Pop Songs

2014 brought K-Pop lovers some awesome songs from Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips” to Girl’s Day’s surprise hit “Something.”  But the music scene can’t always be perfect, and artists in the industry can release some stinkers here and there. So what were some of 2014’s worst?[i]

Hyomin “Nice Body”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYs_GMfCqTI

While Hyomin may have wanted to empower women to be proud of their bodies through good health and exercise, the overbearing message many received was that women should be thin in order to be considered beautiful. In fact, many comments on the video’s YouTube page thank Hyomin for encouraging eating disorders through the MV and song and consider the opening and closing sequences to be an act of “fat shaming.” The song itself sends the same mixed messages. This was a song that could have been positive, but it remained shallow and clueless instead.

Crayon Pop “Uh ee”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDG3BQRdDY

The Trot vibe of the song is the best part of the song, but the part that makes the song weak is how pigeon-holed Crayon Pop is since the viral success of “Bar Bar Bar.” Prior to “Bar Bar Bar,” Crayon Pop had a range of songs like “Saturday Night” and “I Am Beautiful” that showed their potential.  Since “Bar Bar Bar,” their music has remained the same gimmick that has gotten old and tired. “Uh ee” follows the same formula as “Bar Bar Bar” with a repetitive chorus and goofy fashion. Chrome needs to move on from milking the silly, quirky act and give Crayon Pop something to show their true abilities.

ToHeart “Delicious”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdrz_e2mbtE

A pairing that consisted of SHINee’s Key and Infinite’s Woohyun sounds like a dream-come-true. The song, sadly, is generic and preteen-friendly. The chorus is decent but contains a high cheese factor. Their subsequent song, “Tell Me Why,” showed their vocal talents better.

PSY and Snoop Dogg “Hangover”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkMNOlYcpHg

 

Kudos to PSY and Snoop Dogg for creating a song that sounds exactly what I expect a hangover to feel like. Of course, this was the purpose of “Hangover” because it does seem to be poking fun at Korea’s soju culture.

While billed as PSY’s song, Snoop Dogg was front and center, so it is really his song with PSY as background. The main gripe is how it feels wrong to glorify drinking so much that people don’t remember what happened. The song just doesn’t work, but it seems like something that would be featured in the film Hangover. “Hangover”  is just flat-out obnoxious!

 

Hitchhiker “Eleven”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZa4yre0uEk

For 3 minutes and 51 seconds, a girl makes noise and beats her mouth. This is called music.

Let’s absorb that a minute.

Sure, club-type and experimental music is different and people have different tastes, but is it really a song? Why not? It has a good beat, but it gets annoying real fast. A few people I know who are into the club scene thought it was awesome, but it’s just not fit for a lot of everyday listeners.

M.o.A “I’ll Call Ya” and “Run for Your Dream”

Rookie group M.o.A has had a rocky start to their career, and it’s a shame since they could have potential if they had better songs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNTuzanQnlw

“I’ll Call Ya” had a catchy chorus, but the song as a whole was short cohesiveness with instrumentals that drowned the girls out. Sadly, the M.o.A ladies lacked good vocal technique too since poor control made the song sound like a call for help over a call to a potential love interest.

Three members left and joined the new group 4L after this song’s release.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkLXx4D983w

“Run for Your Dream” gets credit for not using autotune, but the vocals are weak, shaky, and often fade out. The rap portion lacked flow, so it felt more like amateur hour than a professionally produced song. The tempo change made it sound like the song was two different pieces sewn together. After this release, two more members got the boot. Here’s to hoping Professional Entertainment gets in gear to help these girls succeed.

GOT7 “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “A”

GOT7 had a lot of hype leading up to their debut, and there’s no doubt these guys are talented. Luckily, they have a strong fan base because their debut and follow-up singles were average at best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sAoKmg7qPI

“Girls, Girls, Girls’” old-school track made the song worth listening to the first few times, but after a while the instrumentals get annoying because they remain in the same key throughout. The overall lyrics and chorus aren’t memorable and too self-serving. “Girlsx3’s” is confident, yes, but since it was a debut song, why emote the feeling that girls will love the group already? The song comes across as cocky because of it, but since GOT7 comes from a “Big Three,” it seems they knew it was safe to choose this song for a debut. However, it would have been better as a non-title track.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eISomx-VMow

With “A,” the intro immediately draws a listener into the song with its summerly vibe. “A,” however, feels like it’s yelled more than sang making it less enjoyable.

However, GOT7 will do well despite these average starts. With over 24 million views combined for both MVs, fans will support them no matter what, but stronger songs will help cement their place as a top rookie.

Aila “Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Girl”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6v0GdN-W2Q

Aila had, perhaps, one of the saddest debut stages in recent K-Pop history. The Aila ladies look older than the typical female idol group, and their voices suggest this is the case too. This song is too young-sounding for them! Their harmonies in the chorus are messy since they sound like they’re all singing a different song. The pitchiness makes the girls sound obnoxious, which is a shame because there are hints of potential. If they are allowed out of K-Pop obscurity, hopefully their company will give them a more mature song to fit their vocal range because it would be nice to hear what they can do.

A.I.N “Candy Girl”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgNhTmKBTW4

Nothing against Nurse in Angel because they do seem genuinely talented (though I’m not buying the sexy nurse concept) with the potential to become a known group, but the song just isn’t for them. The song is in too high of a key to complement their voices leading the song to sound shrill at times. The song isn’t bad per se, but it would have worked for a different group who can reach a higher pitch better. The song is solely on this list due to the miss-match of artist and music.

CL “MTBD”

Earlier this year, “MTBD” caught the ire of many when people thought they heard elements from the Quran in the song. YG neither confirmed nor denied this, and it’s really unclear if the Quran was used. There are clear Middle Eastern and South Asian influences though.

Controversy aside, “MTBD” had too many elements pieced together that made it sound like a breakdown. The “boom” portions sounded a bit like Madonna’s “Vogue,” and the “how beautiful is this life” at the end is just whiny and grating. While it’s great K-Pop is working toward embracing other cultural sounds via instrumentals, sometimes it just doesn’t work. “MTBD” is one of those songs where very few elements came together to make a likeable song.

Pritz “Too Difficult Oh Eh Oh Eh”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b9TWbkN0K8

Pritz feels more J-Pop than K-Pop, not that there’s anything wrong with that. “Too Difficult…” fits well in an anime as an intro or closing credits song, but it’s definitely not a standalone song. The random cheers and yelling are unbearable since there is very little singing going on. With “Go Girls,” Pritz seemed like a group with a cool concept and sound.  Since then, they’ve gone downhill and even got embroiled in some controversy.

Scarlet “Hip Song”

http://youtu.be/95LWTeda-qk

 

The song is catchy for summer, butthe message suggests women should only be about impressing men through body language and brainless actions. The nonsensical, repetitive lyrics create a song that’s cute the first few times it’s heard, but why be dumbed down? Scarlet, you are so much more than this, I know it!

HyunA “Red”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTXCgR93zC8

The bridge leading up to the chorus and the way the instrumentals make the body sway are the best part of “Red”; everything else got old quickly. The lyrics are some of the worst ones this year although they seem to be based on a Korean nursery rhyme, but the arrangement seems off. HyunA’s high-pitched sound wears thin quickly also, and it would be nice to hear her sing in her lower, natural voice.

 

What songs did you loathe this year? Share with us in the comments below!

 

[i] Opinions are solely the author’s and do not reflect K-Crush America’s stance as a whole.

 

— Joelle Halon

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3 comments on “2014 Year in Review: Worst K-Pop Songs
  1. mongshell says:

    There must be A LOT of more horrible songs to come!!!

  2. klynb says:

    Why does everyone except me consider Hangover to be k-pop? It’s an English song with a couple of lines in Korean. The presence of a Korean artist doesn’t necessarily mean that the song is Korean pop. FYI, Psy does all the autotuned vocals (I don’t think he likes the way he sounds in English), as well as the Korean lines.

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