Friday K-Pop Fiesta - February 9th, 2024

This week's listening spans emotional ballads, groovy covers, and old favorites.

Friday K-Pop Fiesta - February 9th, 2024
TWICE's all-English pre-release "I GOT YOU" is filled with whole team shots like this one. Source: JYP Entertainment

I don't know about you guys, but I don't tend to chase the "new shiny" in K-Pop terribly often. The longer I'm a fan, the less likely it is that I take to a newer group that is fresh out of training and hyped up with debut energy. Part of that is the idea that the guys and gals that make up the new generation of K-Pop remind me of an ever-increasing age gap that makes it hard for me to identify with the wholesale package that idols present - that unique blend of visual presentation, choreography, and vocals that has kept me in this genre for over a decade.

That's not to say I'm incapable of liking a newer group's music, as you'll soon see in this week's Fiesta. It's just that I find comfort in the groups whose music I was vibing to years ago, to see them change and evolve and grow. Or it's entirely possible I just have difficulty letting those first groups go.

Either way, this week's mix of stuff that's made it into my playlist has both artists new and old, so let's take a peek!

Dreamcatcher SuA - "Standing Next To You" Cover (orig. by BTS Jungkook)

One of the cool parts about K-Pop group members doing covers is you get to see their spin on something that you might have listened to before, how they add their unique flavor and style and how they interpret the original's performance. It's even better when the cover is performed by your favorite member in a group, and that's what Dreamcatcher's SuA did covering "Standing Next To You" by BTS's Jungkook.

I've called SuA Dreamcatcher's all-rounder for many reasons, but one is just the fact that she's done so much varying content when it comes to covers from femme fatale with Billie Eilish's "Copycat" to emotionally wistful with Sung Sikyung's "Every Moment of You" to wholesome friendship celebration with fellow Dreamcatcher Siyeon with Younha's "Oort Cloud" and more. She's always keen to try to try something new and groovy smooth and cool style is just another notch in her cover catalog. Of all the BTS solo efforts I've appreciated Jungkook's the most, and SuA does his swagger justice with Main Dancer energy.

Choi Yena - "DNA"

Yena makes my list again this week with her 2nd Japanese single "DNA". As someone who spent his young adult life working with visual kei and J-Rock acts for anime conventions, this one scratches an itch that I haven't felt in a long while but have never quite gotten rid of.

Yena brings not just the rock stylings that have dictated her latest releases in South Korea with "Good Morning", but also does so with a full band behind her with her on guitar and vocals. I know she's messed around with a ton of genres during her post-IZ*ONE solo career, but the biased rock fan in me hopes she sticks around with this style for a little longer. I think it really takes advantage of the fact that she's just great at stage presence and straight-up attitude when it comes to her singing, which is pretty much why she remains one of my favorite IZ*ONE alumna.

BABYMONSTER - "Stuck In The Middle"

YG's new investment in the future, youthful girl group BABYMONSTER, seemed to have a generally successful debut, but as one of K-Pop's "big 4" companies, YG can't just have something be generally successful - it has to hit it out of the park. Debut song "Batter Up" had this chance, but some K-Pop fans found it a bit of a swing and a miss. Is 215 million music videos considered to be mid these days, though? I don't really know, but I do know that I just wasn't feeling that first song. It didn't help that it wasn't quite my music style, but after Blackpink's rather high bar, I expected better.

Pivoting to a ballad in "Stuck In The Middle", however, seemed to help fix my opinion of the fledgling girl group. I know what you're thinking - if you've heard one ballad, you've probably heard them all, but what this song does is focus on the group's vocals, which "Batter Up" didn't seem to lend itself towards. The result is a slow-paced, emotionally-charged rendition, and that really served as a much better introduction to the group. Vocals are, of course, arguably the most important part of the K-Pop "package", per see, and BABYMONSTER needed a chance to show them off. Is it enough for me to really get into them? Not particularly, given what I opened this article with - but I will be watching out for their next release to give them another shot.


If BABYMONSTER is that new and stylish pair of pants that you take a chance on, TWICE is like a comfortable set of jeans that you know will always feel right wearing. The veteran girl group is in their 9th year, and with their revenue coming more from their consistently great-selling tours and loyal fanbase, there's been room to experiment from a musical standpoint.

"I GOT YOU" isn't the first English track from the group, and in all likelihood won't be their last, but the thing that sets this one apart is the presentation. Sure, at a glance this is yet another "bonds of friendship on a trip" video and song, but I think for TWICE it his a little different. The group is, after all, one of the few acts of its generation to stay together completely intact after the first seven years, and there's a kind of allegory to be seen in the fact that the video depicts them on a journey on a small boat together, through calm and stormy seas, always with an enduring togetherness that you can only get through working together day in and day out for seemingly endless hours for almost a decade. When TWICE says "I Got You" - whether to their fans or to each other, they mean it, and it makes the song hit all the harder for its light pop style and synced flowing choreography.

Affiliate Stuff

(For transparency: I receive a cut of all purchases through these links and partnerships I’m a part of - feel free to check them out!)

  • Notion still remains one of the best productivity tools I use to keep myself organized!
  • waterdrop continues to be the place I go to encourage more consumption of water through vitamin-filled, zero-sugar flavors