Playlist Sunday: Worst Korean Singles of 2015

Worst Korean Songs of 2015

Now that 2016 is well under way, we’re definitely ready to say “goodbye” to some of K-pop’s
worst singles of 2015. For this week’s Playlist Sunday, KultScene’s staff members each picked their least favorite songs of the year.

[Disclaimer: These picks are based on individual taste, so feel free to disagree in the comments.]

I get it. “Lion Heart” is the epitome of what Girls’ Generation represents: The archetype for the perfect feminine and demure woman. The song’s beat and the overall styling of the music video takes us back to the ’50s and early half of the ’60s, when young women aimed to look like their older and glamorous mothers. When the sexual revolution and women’s liberation was about to explode and a woman’s value equated to her looks and how refined she seemed. But fine, it’s a pop song, and every woman can choose to be anyone they want and dress however they want. But. That. Chorus… If you want to torture someone, just play “Lion Heart,” it’ll make their eardrums bleed. Truth is, SNSD’s latest album and singles (with the exception of “You Think”) were largely disappointing compared to their previous work. Especially considering that the album had better bubblegum pop with throwback feel contenders like “Fire Alarm.” The whole concept behind “Lion Heart” makes sense for a group like Girls’ Generation, yes, and we all like them for their girly ways. However, musically, they don’t have the vocal chops to carry that chorus, no matter how nasally and high they make Yuri sing.

— Alexis

Girls’ Generation’s “Party” makes me want to dive into the body of water that they’re filming the music video on and stay submerged for as long as humanly possible (without dying, of course). Can someone please tell SM Entertainment and Girls’ Generation to stop it with their attempts at rapping? Oh, and for Tiffany to stop it when her random ass English segments in their songs. Yeah, yeah, we get it, it’s party time. “Party” had a lot of ups and downs (emphasis on the down) moments for me; I couldn’t figure out if they were trying to make this a summer anthem or if it was an attempt of them being sensually cute by experimenting with livelier beats and adding alcoholic beverages in their lyrics but either way, I was disappointed. There were too many transitional breaks throughout the song, too many moments that had me waiting for someone to hit a higher/lower note than they actually did. Sure the music video was semi fun to watch, also very scattered, but the song just makes me want to pull out every strand of hair on my head. Can they have more concepts like “Oh!”, “Run Devil Run,” and “The Boys”?

— Tam

JYP Entertainment had a great year in terms of music. miss A released a pretty solid album, Wonder Girls finally came back, and the company even debuted two new rookie groups, both of which quickly grew in popularity. They did everything right and more… Except for one disservice. I don’t know what they were thinking with giving the green light to 2PM’s “My House,” but the song is a far cry from their usual good releases. I get that they want to spice up their sound and want to show that they are more than party boys and sex icons, but something feels lacking. Where are the interesting beats? Where is the build-up? Maybe it’s because I have been babied by fast-paced songs like “A.D.T.O.Y.” or “Go Crazy,” but “My House” feels bland. It’s very forgettable, and doesn’t add much to their already remarkable repertoire. The only saving grace was the video, which contained an underlying fairy tale thematic.
Oh well, better luck in 2016, boys.


Maybe I loved “Can’t Stop” way too much to have realistic expectations for anything CNBLUE could offer for their comeback but I was woefully disappointed with their 2015 release “Cinderella.” They may have achieved a lot of commercial success (as usual) for this song but while the song isn’t horrible, I’ve definitely seen (and heard) CNBLUE do so much better than this auto-tuned track that seems to only have two lines and a bridge that hardly seems like part of the same song. To make it worse, their album “2gether” actually has some great B-sides such as “Roller Coaster” and “Radio” that overshadow this title track completely. Seriously, what was going on in the heads of the album producers? In a K-pop industry with more and more popular bands (both indie and idol ones) CNBLUE really has to step up their game in 2016 to show fans what they’ve truly got.


Let’s get one thing out there. Park Jin Young aka JYP is a great producer. But he’s a misogynist, and his hit song “Who’s Your Mama?” highlights that more so than just about everything else he’s ever said or done. The song’s funky, jazzy beat is good, and Jessi’s solo rap is nothing to sneeze at, but Park Jin Young is literally describing his perfect woman’s ass and saying that that’s all what he looks for when looking at women. I wish I could say that it’s satire a la Psy’s “Gentleman,” but that doesn’t seem the case. The song begins with Park asking a woman what her hip and waist measurements are before going into a song describing his love of big butts. “Shake that booty” is one of the most prominent lines of the song as Park diminished women as anything other than physical beings for him to oggle. “Who’s Your Mama?” is K-pop’s “Baby Got Back,” and the song did exceptionally well on charts, but that still doesn’t make it okay. 2015 was the year of the booty, but JYP took it to another level in a way that was blatantly sexist. We’re in 2016, let’s put an end to this obsession with equating women with their ass-ets.


I could have picked any song from the many iKon released towards the end of the year, but for sheer lack of imagination, I’ll go with “Airplane.” Apart from their whole shtick being based off what’s popular in K-pop right now (rap,) iKon also come across like Big Bang-lite (so like another WINNER but even less interesting.) “Airplane” has twee synth and piano sounds that are used to make their ballad sound less like a ballad. I’m all for ballads not sounding like ballads but this screams of trying too hard, “it’s not a ballad guys, we rap, we’re cool, I was on that rap show remember?” Speaking of Bobby, I’m also not one to care too much about line distribution but this is ridiculous. It’s unfair to both B.I and Bobby who should be in a duo or going solo and to the rest of the members whom might as well not exist. Mostly I hate how YG thinks he can put a bit more rapping into a song and that makes it good enough to be recycled over and over. It was great back in 2008, but it’s time to move on.


4 Amazing Talents To Watch For From ‘K-Pop Star 4’

Every season of the SBS’s survival audition program K-Pop Star has us on the edge of our seats. The hidden talent keeps coming up during every run of the show. This competition has given us a lot of artists that we now love, many of whom have had tremendous success in the Korean music industry like Lee Hi, Park Jimin, Akdong Musician, and, the show’s latest winner, Bernard Park. Season 4 so far has us discovering hidden gems with amazing vocals, unique timbres, and even some contestants that are very young but are singing better than professional singers out there. Yang Hyun Suk of YG Entertainment, Park Jin Young of JYP Entertainment, and singer-producer Yoo Hee Yeol will surely have a hard time this season to choose the next K-pop star. These five new faces are the new amazing talent that we need to watch for from K-Pop Star 4.

4. Jung Seunghwan

Jung Seunghwan became a hot topic not only in the show but in the music charts in Korea after his performance of Kim Jo Han’s I Want To Fall In Love.” His rendition topped various music charts in Korea. Jung managed to impress all three judges and was even promised by Yoo Hee Yeol himself to have a spot on his music show, Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook. His voice full of emotions, which is perfect for gayo (Korean popular music,) has made other competitors fear to go up against Jung Seunghwan, and has the viewers falling in love and supporting him. Keep an eye on the judges; Jung’s performances has one ending up in tears.

Also on KultScene:Artist Spotlight: DaeNamHyup

3. Lily M.

Lily M. is one of the youngest and most talented singers on K-Pop Star 4. She is a Korean-Australian actress-singer that has the judges falling in love with her every time she performs. Her unique raspy voice, falsettos, and her natural control over breathing while she sings has Park Jin Young amazed at what she can do at such a young age. Yang Hyun Suk has picked her as his favorite this season, and has stated many times how he wants to train her at YG Entertainment. Did we mention that Lily M. is only twelve years old? Imagine what she will be able to do when she’s older and after proper training! We just cannot wait for her to debut formally as a singer.

2. Lee Jin-Ah

As soon as Lee Jin-Ah opened her mouth she had not only the judges and guest panelist amazed, but also all the shows viewers amazed. Her unique voice when she spoke had everyone wondering how her voice would change once she sang. To the surprise of everyone watching, her unique voice also translated to a unique vocal style, which everyone fell in love with. Yoo Hee Yeol even said during her first audition that her voice was like a fresh breathe of air. Not only did her voice impress everyone that witnessed her audition but her self-composed song also impressed everyone. Her songwriting skills so simple but accompanied by the keyboard and her music arrangement, Lee Jin Ah’s song made such an interesting combination that left everyone who listened to it wanting more. Park Jin Young himself couldn’t even seem to categorize her in any genre and said how she is a complete new genre of music that he has never heard of. The childish tone in Lee’s voice makes everyone rejoice and have a nostalgic reaction to her music.

1. Grace Shin

27-year-old New Yorker, Grace Shin had previously auditioned for the show, but due to visa problems she wasn’t able to be part of the show. As a true comeback kid, Grace came back and auditioned again. She had previously managed to impress only Park Jin Young in her New York audition, but this time around she impressed all of the judges. Her vocal range is so high that even Yang Hyun Suk commented that her skills are better than those of many established recording artists. She was only criticized for not showing enough emotion during her first audition, but starting in the ranking auditions she proved the naysayers wrong by showing the judges that she can convey emotion with her features while she sings. Her powerful vocals will surely keep her in the competition and could lead to her taking one of the top spots.

Bonus Video:

Here’s an amazing rendition of 2PM’s Again & Again by Grace Shin and Lee Bong Yeon that had Park Jin Young, who wrote the song, amazed by their version.

This season of K-Pop Star has many unique incredible talents. We can anticipate that the live shows will leave us all in shock with everyone’s performances but make sure to keep an eye on this four contestants.

Are you watching K-Pop Star 4? Which one is your favorite contestant? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.