Rundown: RIIZE, JO YURI, VANNER, Eric Nam, BLACKPINK, NCT 2023, AKMU, DKB, more

Man, this was a busier week or so than I expected as there was a lot that fell into Rundown territory, though mostly for better than worse.

There’s a handful of either above-average or promising stuff that others may like even more (and the usual clunkers).



I actually like this quite a bit in a soundtrack-from-a-Disney-teen-movie-about-a-kid-who-inherits-a-Taxi-company-and-gets-into-all-kinds-of-quirky-hijinks kind of way. Generic? Sure, but that doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, and this is a bright and fun pop song. Not trying to be a dick about it, but I do not remember any of her previous singles, so this seems like an improvement already.


n.SSign – “Wormhole”

The “quiet” production is sorta interesting to me, but it never evolves from there and the tempo is sloth-esque throughout. Of all the songs to be near four minutes long, this was ironically the exact wrong track to do that with.


Eric Nam – “Don’t Leave Yet”

I’ve always felt Eric Nam‘s best quality is creating songs with (to use a scouting term) high floors. Sure, every once in a while there’s a gem (or two or an elite feature), but there’s mostly a lot of tracks that at worse are a bit forgettable yet still listenable. Anyway, this is a nice and solid song thanks to a more interesting drop than I expected, and while it doesn’t quite reach those heights of his best, like a lot of his other releases, it’s still a lot better than artists who will get a lot more run.


DKB – “All Yours”

I hate this so much. It’s like they took the mashup of a fan song and a disbandment song that was their other boring title track (Told You) and made the chorus less interesting while autotuning the vocals to fuck and back. All of that set over a soundscape that’s supposed to be serious and emotional but is just annoying throughout. Brutal.



Love that their comeback story got a happy ending after they took home the win on Peak Time, and I feel like this is a safe and solid comeback song. It’s hard not hear a (lesser) version of SHINee‘s “Juliette in this, especially during the “I’m your PERFORMER” hook, but hey, that’s a decent place to crib from and makes for a quality end product.


AKMU – “Love Lee”

I usually love them, but if you told me this was just another boring, throwaway indie track from a band nobody has ever heard of before that was published on Mirrorball Music‘s YouTube channel, I’d have believed you.


RIIZE – “Memories”

I enjoyed the upbeat, vocal-heavy, and melodic chorus. Everything else is much more of a mixed bag, but it’s certainly promising. I’m basically coping that the tone switches are a product of wanting to showcase the members, since this is their introduction, and that the end product will eventually be inspired by SHINee.



HYO (SNSD) – “Picture”

Pretty standard moombahton song, which I think fits her well, but that flute (?) in the background is grating. Still, it’s probably one of her better efforts as a soloist, even if I definitely prefer DJ HYO.


YERIN (GFRIEND) – “Bambambam”

Maybe I’m remembering a bit with my nostalgia, but I thought her vocals were better than this in GFRIEND. While the song sounds like the type of standard retro dance pop track that I enjoy, her vocals are struggling here something awful.


NCT 2023 – “Golden Age”

SM Entertainment has to be sampling classical music just for the fan/critic circlejerk at this point, because they’re being utilized in a pretty nonsensical way. I honestly don’t get it, and I still hate the tone shifts that make no sense. The best thing I can say is the delivery of “i hwanggeumbiche new wave” reminded me “I will know that you are no dreamer” from Faye Wong‘s Eyes On Me.


Xikers – “HOMEBOY”

The Bias List has been taking heat from Xikers fans, but he’s been much nicer than me about their output this comeback. Like he seemed to enjoy this release just fine, whereas I see it as having insanely annoying rap verses with a comical amount of vocal effects, far more than anything the attempt at an anthemic chorus could redeem. The best thing I can say about it is that the title reminded me of N.O.R.E‘s Nothin. “Homeboy, I came to party.



Honestly? It’s pretty decent considering what it’s for (their game) and their recent output, but I’m also not shocked it was cut even from their latest album. Rose and Lisa basically carry this to acceptable territory.

Anyway, remember these days?


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