DryedMangoez Top 40 of 2024 – My Favorite Songs of the Year (So Far!)

We’ve made it to the halfway point of 2024! So of course it’s time to check-in with my favorite music of the year so far. Like always, it’s hard to come up with my list. Not only do I usually have too many songs, I also struggle to rank them. If anything, I could just list them instead of rank them. But I somehow find a way. hehe

So without further ado, here are my Top 40 favorite songs of 2023, so far!dr

40. “Glow” by TRENDZ

TRENDZ just recently released their latest album Dreamlike. And title track “Glow” continued the refreshing vibes of their last release “Go Up” from earlier this year. The groovy pop track is indeed a bright and positive track, perfect for the summer months.

39. “Badder Love” by EVNNE

I’ve really enjoyed EVNNE’s first two releases with their powerful, “bad boy” image. But they switch things up with a different and more refreshing side of themselves with “Badder Love”. The synth-infused track and its refreshing melody allow the rookie group to really showcase their range in both performance and personality. It’s a great release to complement their strong discography so far. I know I’ll be listening to this song a lot more this year and it could easily move up the list at the end of the year too.

38. “Strings” by SF9

SF9 came back earlier this year with a new album, the first since Inseong’s discharge. And while title track “BIBORA” was a nice, funky song, my favorite track from the album was and is “Strings”. It has a nice, feel-good harmony with meaningful lyrics, especially for fans of the talented group.

37. “Want You Back” by SEVENUS

It was so great to see Heejae and Ireah of MASC redebut as SEVENUS last year. So it’s even more exciting to have them make their first comeback with album Spring Canvas. Title track “Want You Back” is another bright track. The pop-rock song has an addictive guitar line that delivers the emotions of separation and regret in a contradictory bright melody. But it comes together in one great package.

36. “Heyday” by XODIAC

I have really enjoyed XODIAC’s music the last year. And they returned with a brand new single album Xoul Day. Synth-infused title track “HEYDAY” is a wonderfully nostalgic track that the rookies offer as a special song for their fans. It even has a cinematic MV that perfectly evokes the great feels of the song.

35. “Beautiful Ashes” by ONEWE

Really exciting to have ONEWE return back in April as it was the first comeback since Yonghoon and Kanghyun completed their military service. The album Planet Nine: Isotropy was another amazing showcase for the multi-talented band. And “Beautiful Ashes” is quintessential ONEWE with its emotional lyrics, soaring melody and passionate performance from the band. It leads the rest of the excellent album.

34. “Stay” by Cha Eunwoo

I am so impressed by Cha Eunwoo’s solo debut. I don’t know what I expected from his solo release in terms of sound and style. But title track “Stay” and the rest of the album Entity perfectly suit his voice and charisma. The music videos for both “Stay” and “Where Am I” showcase Eunwoo’s unmistakable star power. And the songs perfectly play to his strengths, while still allowing him to show off a different side of himself. One that allows him to be able to stand on his own in a way that he might not have yet. Really a wonderful and pleasant surprise of a release.

33. “Moonrise” by TIOT

Rookie group TIOT has had a great debut. And pre-release track “Moonrise” was a perfectly refreshing rock-infused pop track that helped to get you interested and intrigued by the about-to-debut group.

32. “Ugly” by EVNNE

I really enjoyed EVNNE’s debut track “Trouble”. And their first comeback track “Ugly” was just as addictive. Since it’s release, it’s been a song I’ve played a lot. And every time, it’s hard not to get caught up with the charismatic energy the group exudes in their performance.

31. “So Let’s Go See The Stars” by BOYNEXTDOOR

Rookie group BOYNEXTDOOR completed their debut trilogy with title track “Earth, Wind & Fire”. But my favorite track from the album How? is definitely the synth-powered “So Let’s Go See the Stars”. It is a refreshing and youthful track with a sweet romantic vibe.

30. “Love or Die” by CRAVITY

I could easily include “Ces’t la Vie” and “Over & Over” on my list as well. But “Love or Die” made such an impact on my first listen that it represents what is such a strong comeback from them. I didn’t know what to expect coming into CRAVITY’s “Love or Die”. But I came out of the track and music video loving it! It is such an awesomely fresh sound from them. They’ve always released some catchy tunes. But this was a wonderfully pleasant surprise for me. The drum and bass rhythm helps it be an immediately attention-grabbing track. It’s also a nice step forward for the talented group.

29. “Lighthouse” by TEMPEST

TEMPEST’s “Lighthouse” is a charismatic track with a hopeful message. The smooth melody offers up a dynamic and mature sound for the group. And it’s been a song that perks me up every time it comes along in my playlist.

28. “Sweat” by ZEROBASEONE

“Sweat” quickly became my favorite song from ZEROBASEONE. Though the talented group has come out with some good songs and even better performances, “Sweat” is a song you never get tired of. And I’m happy they’ve been promoting the track in addition to the solid title track from the album “Feel the Pop”.

27. “Super Power” by LUN8

LUN8 made their first comeback with a great title track in “Super Power”. The funky pop-dance track is an easily appealing performance from the talented rookies.

26. “Sugal” by Maja Salvador

What an unexpected, but wonderful surprise from Maja Salvador! This fresh-sounding pop-dance track fits perfectly into the continually growing P-pop scene. You’ll have no problem getting up and dancing along. Maja shows the youngins how it’s done with a fun and captivating performance of this catchy track. And she definitely leaves no doubt that she’s still the same talented performer.

25. “Alpha” by Boy Story

It really has been so great to watch BOY STORY grow up as young men and artists. They show that growth with every release. And their title track “Alpha” is no different. The boys deliver a powerful performance of this energetic hip-hop dance track. And its addictive hook will definitely have you coming back to this track and these talented guys.

24. “Voyager” by Catch the Young

I have never heard of Catch the Young before, but YouTube Recommendations came through once again. And now I have been introduced to his wonderful band. Their latest title track “Voyager” is what popped up and it is an amazing introduction to the band. Such a great vibe of a song that definitely makes me want to find out more about them!

23. “Atlantis” by WAKER

I have not heard much about WAKER either. But the rookie group’s title track “Atlantis” definitely grabbed my attention! The enthusiastic pop track is the perfect debut title track to introduce anyone to these obviously talented rookies. The feel-good and positive lyrics are matched by the group’s energetic performance. And the song allows them to show off their talent and charms as well. The rest of the full(!) album Mission of School has a diverse mix of tracks, showcasing what the group is capable of. A really great debut!

22. “Stay” by Han Seung Woo

Han Seung Woo is back with his latest album Scene. And the three tracks of the album are a great showcase for his diverse musical range as well as his growth as an artist. The feeling of longing for home is so beautifully expressed through Seung Woo’s performance here. And the other two tracks from the album Scene are equally as great too. Really love this release from him.

21. “5!6!7!8!” by Nicole

Hello one of my ults! Nicole is back after a year with her latest Korean single! “5!6!7!8!” is an exciting synth-infused dance song with an 80’s disco pop sound. You’ll find yourself getting up and dancing along in no time. Such a perfect song for Nicole’s effortless charm and charisma with vocal and dance talent to match. Always love getting to watch and enjoy Nicole Jung performing!

20. “Beautiful Maze” by DRIPPIN

Its really great to have some fresh music from DRIPPIN. And their latest title track “Beautiful Maze” is really great. It is a great pop track that shows a little bit more maturity from this talented group. And it’s a nice step forward and an evolution of their sound.

19. “Until the End of Time” by Xdinary Heroes

Xdinary Heroes know how to rock out with their performances. But my favorite tracks from them have been their mellower rock ballads. “Until the End of Time” is another one from their first full album Troubleshooting. The band gives a beautifully emotional performance and effortlessly express the bittersweet lyrics of the song.

18. “Navy Blue” by Wooseok

PENTAGON’s Jung Wooseok included two solo tracks in his special unit album with Wanna One alum Kuanlin in 2019. Both of which I really loved. I always enjoy when “Always Difficult Always Beautiful” and “Domino” by Wooseok pop up in my music rotation. So seeing that he has finally returned with new solo music really got me excited. Even more so after I actually listened to the two new tracks from the single album Empty Paper. Both title track “Navy Blue” and “Sketch” are just so good. The self-composed tracks are the perfect showcase for Wooseok as an artist.

17. “Somebody” by AIMERS

AIMERS made their first official comeback since debut. And from the bright “Bubble” comes the charismatic “Somebody”. The rock and hip-hop-infused pop dance track is I think a much stronger performance and release overall. I enjoyed their debut and pre-release tracks. But “Somebody” allows the group to really deliver an attention-grabbing and charismatic performance.

16. “Love Me Do” by ASC2NT

Where have I been that I did not know Karam, Injun and Jay of The Boss/DGNA was re-debuting as ASC2NT with two new members? Well, I’m here now and wowow! I definitely love “Love Me Do”. Their debut title track has a cheerful and addictive melody with a bright message that definitely fits perfectly with the members’ fresh and hopeful start.

15. “Feeling” by Fantasy Boys

Fantasy Boys’ recent release might be my favorite from them so far. Title track “Pitter-Patter-Love” is great and my favorite title from them, no question. And “Make Sunshine”, the second track of the album with the same name, is also really good. But the third track “Feeling” is amazing! Written and composed by member Hikaru, the moody midtempo track has such a great vibe. Not a track I would’ve expected from the group. But a style and sound I hope we can hear more of from them.

14. “Girl Friend” by MCND

In a similar way, “Girl Friend” by MCND is also a surprising track. MCND is known for their big, groovy dance tracks. But “Girl Friend” is quite a different vibe from them. A pop-R&B track, it is MCND like I don’t think I’ve experienced them before. And I love it so much! I’d love to hear more from them with this sound and style. Of course, alongside their perfected signature sound too.

13. “Breathe in Love” by EPEX

I could easily include “Youth2Youth” and “Graduation Day” on this list from EPEX. But “Breathe in Love” has emerged as my favorite track of theirs from this year. The dreamy, youthful track gives EPEX the opportunity for a different, yet charming performance. And it’s a great way to showcase the group’s growth in this their first full album.

12. “I Like the Way” by Kim Woojin

Kim Woojin embarks on the next chapter of his career with a fresh start under a new company. (An SM subsidiary purchased 10x Entertainment late last year.) And his first title track back is an amazing way to kick it off. “I Like The Way” is a groovy pop dance track that may be a bit different from what he has released so far. But it isn’t any less a showcase for Woojin’s vocal and performance talent. Not to mention his charisma as well. The vibes of the track give Woojin the opportunity to show off a refreshing side to his artistry.

11. “Come Closer” by Leo

I really loved Leo’s “One Look” last year. So I was really looking forward to his first comeback. And he definitely did not disappoint. “Come Closer” is of similar, yet different and fresh sound from his debut. The R&B track offers up the perfect vibes and Leo’s performance is easily captivating.

10. “Please” by Boy Story

I love “Alpha,” but if there is a track that officially showcases Boy Story’s maturity it is “Please”. The haunting and enchanting track is such an amazing performance from the talented guys. For anyone who has followed them all these years, this performance from them really shows how much they’ve grown and how far they’ve come. An amazing track and performance.

9. “Way 4 Luv” by PLAVE

So I have seen and heard of PLAVE, but haven’t really checked them out. When I saw that they won a few music shows last week, I thought now is as good a time as any to finally do so. And when I did, I was so upset. Because why in the world had I not listened to their music sooner?!?! Wowow! They’re amazing! I of course first checked out their latest, music show-winning title track “Way 4 Luv”. And I can definitely see and hear why they are getting lots of positive attention for it. What a great song and performance.

The group is very interesting. They are not AI, but actual real-life humans. And so there’s actual people singing the songs and performing the choreography. Really a refreshingly different way to experience music. But a welcome one. Especially when they have songs and performances like “Way 4 Luv” and the rest of their latest album Asterum : 134-1.

8. “Sunshine” by Im Hyunsik

I could put every song from Hyunsik’s The Young Man and the Deep Sea on my list. But I’ll just say to check it out in its entirety, including this hopeful track “Sunshine”. The song presents a hopeful message of the feelings that come after emerging from a difficult journey. And the music video perfectly encapsulates its message. (Spoiler alert! This won’t be the last you’ll see of Hyunsik on my list. Hehe)

7. “Take Off” by D82

I’ve been a fan of Han Seungyun since his LUNAFLY days. So I’m always happy to see him releasing new music. And he does so this time with his new band D82. Their album and title track of the same name, “Take Off” is such a great collection of songs. All eight tracks on the album are the perfect pop-rock sound that you can’t help but want to listen on repeat and never get tired of. Though I’m still learning more about the band, Take Off is the perfect introduction to them.

6. “Butterfly” by Sandeul

Sandeul delivered this amazing track for the OST of romcom Wedding Impossible. The refreshing pop-rock-R&B track is so good that it really even transcends the drama itself. Sandeul’s performance enhances the song’s fresh feelings of love that suit the drama as well being a strong and easily appealing track on its own too.

5. “The Black Cat Nero” by BXB

I’m always rooting for BxB. They deserved so much more as TRCNG. But it’s great to see them doing well so far on this next chapter of their careers. And what a wonderful surprise they’ve released with their first official comeback since their re-debut. I enjoyed their songs last year, but I was really blown away by their track “The Black Cat Nero”. It is a track that is playful, dynamic and harkens back to the awesome K-pop of ten years ago while still sounding current and modern. The playful, flirtatious lyrics and performance of the group is so enjoyable and makes an immediate impact. You can’t help yourself from meowing right along with them. Really! Seven months later, I’m still doing the choreo to the song’s catchy chorus! It’s a song you won’t get tired of no matter how many times you listen to it.

4. “Still Love” by Yoo Heedo

This song was released just a few days ago. But it makes such a huge and impactful impression on me that I had no choice but to squeeze it into my list today. I absolutely love Yoo Heedo’s “Still Love” This alternative rock song is perhaps not the kind of track I would have expected from Heedo. Though he is B.I.G’s rapper, it is so awesome to hear him singing here. And his vocals perfectly suit the easily appealing melody. His performance effortlessly expresses the bittersweet lyrics speaking of the complicated feelings of an ended relationship. Just an amazing track.

3. “Kalaw” by VXON

VXON is another artist whose songs I could easily use to fill my list with. “SSP (Saksak sa Puso)”, “KNT (Kanta ng Tanga)” and the group members’ solo track area all just so good and have been on repeat for me all year so far. But my favorite track from their excellent album 20:20 has to be “Kalaw”. The R&B-powered track has the boys fondly looking back at happy, but fleeting moments of a relationship. And the vibes are just perfect. VXON has released some great music. But this album is such a revelation. And I am so excited to see and hear more from them in the future.

2. “Before I” by Corbyn

Corbyn, the multi-hyphenated talent, came back with some brand-new music last week. And again, I could put all three tracks from his new EP on my list. “Galaxy Eyes” and “Bullet Through My Heart” are equally amazing. But title track “Before I” is just absolutely stunning. It is an emotionally-charged, rock-powered track with the personal and affecting lyrics so effortlessly expressed through Corbyn’s performance.

1. “La Mar” by Im Hyunsik

Im Hyunsik is really my ultimate bias. So of course he’s going to take the top spot of my list. Hehe. The Young Man and the Deep Sea is another breathtaking album from Hyunsik. Hyunsik’s effortless vocals bring to life meaningful and personal lyrics while gliding across captivating melodies. The way Hyunsik is able to tell stories through his music and in full albums like this is just so amazing.

Title track “고독한 바다 La Mar” is absolutely stunning. The accompanying cinematic music video definitely adds to the experience. But the song itself is an ethereal and emotional performance about being able to move forward through the many rough seas one may encounter.

Hyunsik’s hard work and passion for his music has really been an inspiration and motivation for me in my daily life. And The Young Man and the Deep Sea is another perfect and excellent showcase of just what makes Hyunsik such a gifted and talented artist and person.

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