Picture from UMI's Instagram. Shot by @georgiaseizis

2018 was a year filled with countless ups and downs as well as tons of good music. Some songs happened to fall through the cracks and I’m here to make sure you didn’t forget them. Here are, Bops You Almost Missed in 2018.

Genre: Alternative

We’ll be starting off the list with an underrated hit. The song “Cold Fire;” a song from the band PREP, from their EP with same name, Cold Fire. This retro style hit also features light background vocals from the Korean R&B legend Dean.  PREP delivers kicked back vocals on top of a modernized 70s/80s funk beat, which makes this track perfect for any situation – chilling at home, working out, going all out with your dance moves in your room at 3 am, you name it. Make sure to also check out the group’s most recent EP titled Line by Line.

Next, we have the Japanese band Tempalay. And this year they’ve given us their new mini album なんて素晴らしき世界, which can be roughly translated to What A Wonderful World. Their sound is one that leaves you wondering what’s going to come next. Off the album, a song in particular that you should check out is “Dooshiyoooo!!”, which translates to, “What should I do?”

If psychedelic rock is your thing, then literally look no further than the Japanese group, Kikagaku Moyo. Every piece they make takes you on a trip. And their latest album, Masana Temples, is no exception. Their talent becomes even more noticeable when you take into consideration that the composition of the majority of their pieces comes from just jamming out and improvisation. Watch them do a spectacular live performance of their piece, “Dripping Sun”, below.

Genre: Classical

Within the classical world, it’s not always about new releases but sometimes more so the renditions of different talented musicians. This year we saw the release of the solo debut CD, Anima Sacra, by the Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński. In anticipation for the release, he also recorded and put out a beautiful interpretation of Vivaldi’s “Vedrò con mio diletto” which is an aria from the opera “Il Giustino”.

Fun fact – He can also breakdance.

Genre: K-Pop

Let me start by saying that if you don’t listen to K-pop, that’s fine, but in 2019, let’s live a little. 😉

I’ll start off by introducing one of the best K-Pop collaborations this year. And that would be between the group SUPER JUNIOR and Dominican-American star Leslie Grace. The pair came together for SUPER JUNIOR‘s repackaged version of their album Replay. Following this release, they have also collaborated with the Mexican band Reik on the track “One More Time (Otra Vez)” The culmination of English, Spanish, and Korean here just seems to oddly work, making this a true multilingual hit.

Next, we have the boy band Seventeen. The boys have had countless comebacks this year, including one just a couple days ago with the release of their song “Getting Closer.” But for the purposes of this list, I’ll have to narrow it down to just one. And I’ve chosen their track “Thanks,” off their repackage album Director’s Cut that was released early this February. Now, this song does come with a music video which is great, but I want you to pay special attention to one of the aspects that Seventeen should pride themselves on, and that’s the boys’ precise and difficult choreography. Therefore below we have the dance practice version (yes, that’s a thing over there), of the track.

Here we have another boy group, and they are NCT 127. NCT as a whole can be a little daunting and confusing but just know that this particular lineup makes up the NCT 127 unit. The group is always surprising fans with the evolution of their sound. This song, in particular, was a little overshadowed compared to their other tracks so I just wanted to bring it to your attention. Just like the group above, it is important to take note of the boys’ killer moves.

Lastly, to close up the K-Pop category we have the girls, Red Velvet. With numerous comebacks, the girls also held their own against all the boys. The entertainment company that the girls’ and the group above (NCT 127) belong to, SM Entertainment is really great at creating unique and innovative images for their artists, by way of their sound and dance moves. For Red Velvet, this comeback was the smooth pop/ R&B song we all wanted but didn’t know we needed. The girls also portray a tinge of a femme fatale in the music video and we are here for it.

DISCLAIMER: This selection does contain pieces with explicit lyrics and mature themes.

Genre: R&B/Soul

Then we have the up and coming artist UMI. She’s got a soft sound with heavy R&B vibes. This year she released several tracks with the most recent one being “Lullaby ft. Yeek”. The song is composed in such a way that it pulls at your heartstrings and simultaneously is super pleasant. Making it a song you can literally use as a lullaby. However, my favorite release from her this year is the track, Remember Me. UMI’s songs are transparent and that makes it all the more bittersweet. And “Remember Me” is no exception, it is most evident in the music video that follows the arc of different relationships. It’s clear that the young artist is on her journey to more success and recognition.

This year was also powerful for the Indian songstress Raveena. With such classic soulful R&B hits like her track “Honey,” she constantly draws you back to her. A hit of hers that you shouldn’t miss was her most recent song, “Temptation.” The sultry track has a beautiful music video accompanying it that features warm and inviting muted colors. The lyrics of the piece as well as the video visuals highlight divine femininity.

Tinashe, Tinashe, Tinashe. Unfortunately this year for Tinashe, her labeled pulled out of what was supposed to be Nashe, the title of the star’s alter ego and her scheduled next full-length album. However, if you look at the silver lining we still got the release of this track, “Throw A Fit.” To say it’s a good song to get down to would be an understatement. Nevertheless, we will be watching and waiting patiently to see what comes next for Tinashe.

Genre: Rap/Hip-Hop

It’s everyone’s favorite Seattle native and Ethiopian rapper Aminé. Aminé had a great year, with the release of his album OnePointFive. On the album, we got greats hits like “Reel It In“. That being said, this bop was released a couple months prior and I think it didn’t get the recognition that it deserved. It featured rap group Injury Reserve, and the music video had Aminé and Ritchie with a T wearing tasteful neon green and pink bob wigs.

I could go on and on about GoldLink‘s flow; how it differs from everyone else’s or how no matter how many times one tries, it’s nearly impossible to emulate. But one of my favorite things about GoldLink is how he chooses to pair his style with other musicians. This time, it was with R&B’s sultry voiced Miguel. This song is essential for any kickback.

This politically charged tune is so infused with musicality it is almost easy to forget all the statements Anderson .Paak makes, almost. With the release of his album Oxnard, this year Anderson .Paak continues to show off his strong skills of lyricism and artistry. This track in particular is one you can’t skip.

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