When I do these playlists, I try my best to be balanced. I’ve made it a goal to mix them with popular tracks/artists and lesser known gems. I also try not to overload them with my favorite artists as it’ll just be the same songs over and over again.
However, for this playlist, I wanted to share some songs that I currently have on repeat. No themes, no common thread other than my loving them.
Crucial Star — 두 얼굴/2 Faces
Crucial Star is probably my favorite underground rapper. Over a weekend, I went digging through parts of his discography I hadn’t heard yet. This one instantly stuck out to me. A lot of his hallmarks are here — him singing along with a female vocalist, a focus on pianos, etc. But that second verse!! I actually start obsessing around the 1:45 mark where he changes up the tempo to return to the hip-hop beat. Then he raps using two voice filters so it sounds like two rappers going back and forth. It’s a simple tactic that easily could have failed, but it elevates the track so much.
PENTAGON — Dr. Bebe
You ever hear a song and just spend days picking it apart? This was that song for me. While I like a few of their songs, I haven’t really fallen down the PENTAGON rabbit hole. That being said, “Dr. Bebe” just grabbed me, and for weeks, I couldn’t figure out why. Why do the bridge and chorus work in spite of the nonsensical title? Why can’t I stop listening to the 2:24 mark of the song? What exactly was the bassline doing?
I finally broke down and spent an hour listening to this, dissecting everything in the song. It was worth it. There’s just so many great, small things at play. I can’t recommend it enough.
Agust D and NiiHWA — 점점 어른이 되나봐/28
I always had an interesting relationship with BTS. We’re around the same age, and their songs always feel like I’m talking to a friend about our lives. Our goals, our anxieties, is the path we’ve chosen the right one? I recently turned 29, and I’ve spent these past few months reflecting on my life.
When I first heard this song, I was immediately drawn it, even before looking up the lyrics. The Korean title translates to “Seems like I’m becoming an adult,” and I feel that. The song’s deep reflection and quiet atmosphere nails the emotion of looking back on your life and wondering. Also, this song is too dang short. There, I said it.
NCT 127 — Day Dream
I was not expecting this song on the album. When I personally think of NCT, I also think of the epic tracks such as “Kick It,” the lead single from their latest album, “Neo Zone.” But this? I need more of this. The instrumental nails the daydream feeling with the airy chorus and vocals. I love how you feel more than hear the low bass and drums that ground everything. I just feel like I’m floating in slow motion when I hear it. NCT has always had strong vocalists, but they rarely lean into it enough for my taste. The whole album gives them the chance to do just that, but this one is lightning in a bottle for me.
Suho — Let’s Love
I can’t even express what draws me to this song. I’m not sure if it’s Suho’s soothing and steady vocals? Or the easy and contemplative chorus that gently tugs for your attention? Maybe it’s the sweeping bridge that still doesn’t push too much? Either way, this song is like a warm blanket I want to snuggle in. It has wormed itself into my heart.
Zion T & E-Sens — Malla Gang
We don’t talk about this song enough. While Zion.T has always had some soul influences, this is the first time we’ve heard it quite like this. From the funk piano and bass player to his erratic rapping, this is a fun blend of old and modern. However, once I did some research on it, I fell deeper in love with it.
You see, “Malla Gang” is a play on the Korean phrase for “Scrawny kid.” It’s him calling out people for judging others based on their looks and not their accomplishments. It’s not often that we get sassy Zion.T, but I’m all for it and ready for more.
These are just a few of the songs on my current playlist. But knowing me and my music addiction, it’s likely to expand soon.