Jan 13, 2017

15 Favorite B-sides Of 2016

I thought I was finished but then I remembered that I hadn't posted this list yet, so here it is! Not going to lie, this was probably the hardest list to put together out of all of them. There have been a lot of good albums this year with plenty of great b-sides. I initially tried to narrow the ranking down to my top 10 but it was actually impossible, and so I've instead managed to gather my 15 favorites with a big number of honorable mentions. Let's dive into it!

Lovelyz - Dear You
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This is one of my absolute most played songs of 2016 without a question, and one of many great tracks on "A New Trilogy". It has that special J-pop-inspired bubblegum sound that Lovelyz does so great and a melody, structure and instrumental that's to die for.

Day6 - First Time
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Don't get me wrong here; I do genuinely love every single track on the mini-album "Daydream" but "First Time" definitely stood out to me. Not only is it a fantastic opener to the album but the song itself is quite simply put everything I enjoy about pop-rock music.

Hyomin - Gold
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Although I tremendously enjoyed the other b-sides on this album "Gold" is, in my opinion, on another level. This sounds like it could be a western song with the way the music and melody is constructed, and I mean that in the best way possible. It's incredibly beautiful.

Red Velvet - Some Love
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Sadly I was quite disappointed by Red Velvet's "Russian Roulette" as a mini-album, but this song was the one and only saving grace. It's light, poppy and sweet but with a slight undertone of maturity to balance the playfulness. Again it's one of my most played songs of 2016.

Luna - Galaxy
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Once again I had to choose from a mini-album full of marvelous songs, but there was no hesitation that "Galaxy" was my favorite out of all of them. Apart from the fact that it's a beautifully put-together dance track my favorite part of it is the joy it exudes, much thanks to Luna's vocals.

I.O.I - Hold On
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B1A4's Jinyoung participated in writing b-sides for both of I.O.I's mini-albums, but this one must be my favorite one. The young ladies of I.O.I do a great job with the vocal work but it's the song itself that pulls me in the most; the mixture of feminine softness, maturity and emotion is wonderful.

Twice - Next Page
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I was completely floored when I heard this song for the first time as it felt to me as a song with a sound that Twice hadn't really tried before. Gone were the high-pitched vocals and sticky sweetness and instead it allowed room for the members larger registers and a rockier, edgier sound.

SHINee - Don't Let Me Go
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This track really is a standard SHINee-esque mid-tempo ballad and they've done quite a few songs similar to this one throughout the years, but I still can't get enough of it. The vocals are spot on as usual (I especially enjoy Key's part) and I love the emotion of the melody and chord structure.

Oh My Girl - Step By Step
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Another song composed by Jinyoung, this time for his label-mates for their mini-album "Pink Ocean". It has many of the great characteristics that have made his songs so popular, but it's truly brought to life by the ladies flawless vocal performances.

Winner - Pricked
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A duo by Mino and Taehyun (the later no longer being in the group and yes I am still upset about this), it's a emotional guitar-based ballad with painful lyrics heartfelt vocal performances from both of them. It pains me that now we might never see this song sung live.

Astro - Innocent Love
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I was actually surprised when I heard this song since Astro's regular sound, the one they're now associated with, is always so upbeat and lively. Although this ballad is about being young and experiencing first love it's actually very mature-sounding and definitely beautiful.

GFriend - Water Flower
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It was so hard to decide which song I liked the best from "LOL" because there are so many, but in the end I think the song I've listened to the most is this J-pop-sounding piece. It literally sounds like it could be the opening theme to an anime and that a fantastic one.

BTS - 2!3!
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This is probably me being a sappy BTS fan but this song really speaks to me on an emotional level. There are many great b-sides on "Wings" but there's no denying that "2!3!" is the one that I hold most dear, with its lyrics directed to all BTS fans and a chorus that hits right in the heart.

NCT - Switch
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This song was featured as a bonus track on NCT 127's mini-album, but it's well-known that this is the unofficial song of NCT as the performed it when they were still trainees. It does certainly hold a lot of nostalgia, but it's also a genuinely great song.

B.A.P - Ribbon In The Sky
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Although I loved most songs on "Noir" it was clear from the first time I heard it that this song was the one I loved the very most. It's dark and powerful and has just the type of sound I need to hear from this group, as well as having a strong chorus not easily forgotten.

Honorable Mentions:

Taemin - Soldier
Got7 - Rewind
Seventeen - Say Yes
GFriend - Distance
BTS - 21st Century Girl
Monsta X - White sugar
I.O.I - When The Cherry Blossoms Fade
EXO - Artificial love 
SHINee - Feel Good
4Minute - Canvas
NCT 127 - Wake Up

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