Queendom 2 finally comes to the finish line, and I finally survived weeks and months of being drowned in school work. I am very excited as to what these batch of artists have created, seriously, this is the fourth installment of the K-Pop imperial war series.

In the past Mnet iterations, the most critically acclaimed songs have varied: from 2019’s Guerilla by Oh My Girl and (G)I-DLE’s Lion, 2020’s New World by ONF, and 2021’s Show and Prove by BTOB. All these songs are extraordinary, legendary, and iconic. What will 2022 show us? Let’s find out now.

HYOLYN, Lee Young ji – Waka Boom (My Way)

The first entry is HYOLYN’s Waka Boom, which HYOLYN described as a warrior’s song and standing up to the gusts of the wild desert environment. The combination of HYOLYN’s skill in EDM and Lee Young Ji’s gritty and sleek rapping is an advantage it can surely boast. The song never lacks energy and is very anthemic as well, this song is really something you would make at a grand march of Triumph at the streets of the Roman Empire. This is definitely a strong composition and the arrangement is dynamic as it can be, albeit the song does tend to be predictable and follows orthodox EDM themes.

Rating: B+

Personal Score: 7.75


AURA by WJSN is centered around the theme of the group itself, cosmos to be exact. While WJSN is known to be very stylistically potent in delivering a sound and a finale wouldn’t be anything less than. Aura is quite disappointing and it does lack any creativity and progression we’ve seen with WJSN. This song instead opts for a mild, laidback structure and a warm delivery akin to what Oh My Girl would release in 2018, however, this is just lackluster and the riff they used is quite underwhelming it even sounds like it was made for Universe. In any case, I am very confused as to why their A&R would decide to release this piece rather than opt for a more reinventive sound, I don’t know Starship to be honest.

Kep1er – THE GIRLS (Can’t turn me down)

THE GIRLS is banal. I mean it sounds like any other edgy group with a muted A&R would release. I thought this was a competition not a normal day in K-pop. On the other hand, it seems that Kep1er did try their best to turn this one around on the edge, especially that wacky bridge. I mean that bridge would have worked if the chorus wasn’t so lazy, and disappointing. I really don’t know what happened to making blooming choruses in this industry, it seems that everyone all got collective amnesia and guess what we don’t know what to do anymore, so here’s your “TikTok moment”.

Rating: C

Personal Score: 6

VIVIZ – Red Sun!

I have to be honest, I don’t like the jazz swing genre. What VIVIZ did with Red Sun! is spectacular in and of itself. It made me reconsider if I actually really dislike the style of music or if VIVIZ was just fluid, emotional, and dynamic throught this springtime dream. The arrangement of Red Sun reminds me of classic Japanese pop music and what you’d hear in Western buffet restaurants, which is funny because I really do like those stuff and combining them is spectacular.

You see, the violins, piano, and cadence really shined throughout the song. It just glides like what you’d see in the plain fields in spring. Noh Juhwan produced this song and it shows that he does know what VIVIZ can do more after what happened. Red Sun is truly the reinvigorating soul of the artist that was once the top of the list.

Rating: A-

Personal Score: 8


WHAT THE FUCK?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. The start of this song was really promising and at the same time worrying, the pre-chorus had something intriguing but when the chorus enters we become NCT 127 and ruin the K-POP industry. Honestly, fuck you Lee Soo-man, you ruined K-POP. This song doesn’t even deserve to be in contention. I apologize LOONA, you don’t deserve this discographic contamination.

Rating: C-

Personal Score: 4

Brave Girls – Whistle

What did we expect coming from Brave Girls? I mean nothing less. Whistle is a classic quintissential K-Pop song. It has everything you’d expect in an iconic high octane pop release, albeit it being a little more magnanimous on the instrumental side, the arrangement is a showstopper. Whistle is a song that is very hard to write and even find in this day in K-Pop, if not for Sweetune, Monotree, 13, and other creative producers including Brave Brothers, we wouldn’t be able to listen to some of the most innovative and transcendent singles of our lifetimes. Whistle is a powerful anthem culminating the talent and melodic mastery of the group itself. It presents liberation from the repressive mundane lifestyle we live and blasts into pop fluff.

I am just surprised that Whistle maintains the style of Brave Girls without sacrificing monotonicity, and repetition. This is what I consider an early summer song of the year contender, and possibly surprise us again with a slew of critical upheaval.

Rating: A

Personal Score: 8.75