Domestic K-music charts unusually steady as general public takes the reins
K-pop music charts are generally known for their fast-paced changes. But this time around, Korea’s general public, not K-pop fandoms, seems to be in control unwittingly as many hits from the summer continue to reign in the top spots domestically. But for the international audience, things look quite a bit different.
On Melon Chart, Younha’s chart-climbing ballad “Event Horizon” maintained the No. 1 spot. The song, released in March, did not initially see much popularity after its release but started gaining word-of-mouth popularity after the singer performed it at numerous university campuses during the fall festival season. It dramatically “climbed the charts,” as K-pop fans like to call it when a late-bloomer song becomes a hit months or even years after its original release.
The Melon Chart, which had not been seeing much change for about a month, recently saw some new tracks breaking into its top 10. “My Way” — a song on Mnet’s hip-hop competition show “Show Me The Money 11” performed by rappers Justhis, Don Malik, Huh!, Khan, Mckdaddy and Los — came in at No. 4 as of noon Tuesday after being premiered on the show’s sixth episode last Friday.
BTS member Jungkook’s “Dreamers,” from the official soundtrack of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, sits at No. 9. The song has been experiencing popularity globally ever since dropping on Nov. 20 and topped the weekly Global top songs chart last week.
But apart from the few new breakthroughs, long-running hits that have been in the top spots since the summer still have a stronghold on Melon Chart. After “Event Horizon,” No. 2 was “Antifragile” by Le Sserafim, followed by NewJeans’s “Hype Boy,” “My Way,” (G)I-DLE’s “Nxde,” Lim Young-woong’s “Love Always Runs Away,” IVE’s “After Like,” Lim’s “Our Blues, Our Life,” “Dreamers” and Zico’s “New Thing.”
The usual volatility of K-pop charts is often due to intense organized streaming efforts by fans, but ever since fall, the domestic charts have been showing a rather long period of stability. The chart toppers this time around are numbers which gained popularity even among the general public, not just fandoms, and are therefore played frequently in everyday life in Korea and are relatively less affected by the ups and downs in fans’ streaming.
Meanwhile, Circle Chart’s Global K-pop Chart showed a noticeable difference from Melon Chart, as the former tallies worldwide streaming and tends to reflect the tastes of non-Korean listeners. The two major charts usually show differences, but this week’s contrast was stark following BTS leader RM’s solo release.
As of Tuesday, six of the top 10 songs on Circle’s Global K-pop Chart were by RM, who became the third BTS member to officially begin solo activities by dropping his full-length album “Indigo” on Dec. 2. The lead track “Wild Flower” was at No. 1 on the global chart, a stark contrast from No. 42 on Melon Chart, suggesting that RM’s new release has not gained nearly as much popularity among the Korean general public. “Wild Flower” was the only other song from RM’s new album that made it onto Melon Chart’s top 100, while all of his 10 new tracks ranked above No. 17 on Circle Chart.
Similarly, trot singer Lim Young-woong’s highest-ranking song on Circle Chart currently is “Love Always Runs Away” at No. 103, while the same song is at No. 6 on Melon Chart. He has no songs on Circle Chart’s Top 100, yet he has 14 songs between No. 6 and 31 on Melon Chart as of noon Tuesday. Lim specializes in a music genre called trot and has a large fan base of predominantly middle aged and older Koreans domestically, but has little presence in the global K-pop scene which shows a strong preference for idol groups’ dance numbers.
Apart from RM’s new music, Blackpink’s hits “Shut Down” and “Pink Venom” from September retained their high ranks at No. 6 and 10, as well as NewJeans’s summer hit “Hype Boy” at No. 5.
BY HALEY YANG [email@example.com]