When I think about music in 2015, I had quite a lot of stuff I enjoyed.
I think K-pop in 2015 was an upswing from last year. There was some select stuff from 2014 I liked but it was a down year. 2015 rectifies that with some outstanding releases. Here are my highlights.
IU – CHAT-SHIRE
As evidenced by my review earlier this year, I really liked CHAT-SHIRE, although there are moments on the album that I wish weren’t there. But Twenty-Three and Zezé do more than enough to elevate this to year-end list status. Also, she wrote all the lyrics on this album and split production credit as well. She’s operating on a level only few in K-pop can reach right now and it’s magnificent.
f(x) – 4 Walls
When Sulli officially left the group, it made me wonder how they would bounce back and respond. They responded well. f(x) has always been SM’s experimental group (even with Red Velvet coming into the mix), and 4 Walls continues their stellar batting streak. Déjà vu and X stand alongside the lead single to show that while f(x) might not be considered one of the top-tier K-pop acts out, they are more than capable to hanging with the best.
BoA – Kiss My Lips
With more control over her music than ever before, BoA shows that the decision was a wise one. Fox and Green Light still stand out among the rest of the songs, and Kiss My Lips still remains as a must-listen. Feels good to have BoA still around and still providing some quality stuff.
Wonder Girls – Reboot
Speaking of still around, holy crap did the Wonder Girls return in a big way. The first time I heard I Feel You I was pleasantly surprised and a bit worried. Perhaps this 80’s synth style wouldn’t hold up for an entire album. I was wrong. Greg was right, Rewind sounds like New Jack City and it’s great. Maybe the time off “rebooting” the group was what they needed.
Red Velvet – Ice Cream Cake
This is a surprise to me. Prior to this, I didn’t hear anything that really piqued my interest. Even the single Ice Cream Cake didn’t really win me over. It wasn’t until I heard Automatic that I finally heard something that connected with me. Some smooth R&B, it was at that point where the group clicked for me. Maybe going down that road musically might be the better play for the group. (I realize I have three SM acts on this list. It just worked out that way.)