ϟ The Sweetune Singles Rate: Now it's actually finished ϟ



Well, hello there.

As a largely image- and personality-driven genre, K-Pop sees a lot of emphasis placed on idol groups and individual performers. Choreo, live stages, merch, variety appearances – all are essential elements of the complete K-Pop package. And yet... none of it would mean anything if not for the music!*

*notwithstanding certain groups that seem to think otherwise ddd

For just a moment, I’d like to take a step back from the stage makeup and sus styling to shine a spotlight on Sweetune, the production team responsible for dozens of beloved classics. If I have to conduct this entire countdown using only my own scores… so be it. But I’d love if you would join me!

As a general rule, I’m not going to regurgitate the Wikipedia articles for everything we cover, but I will try to highlight the most noteworthy (and occasionally cringeworthy) bits. In this vein, let’s begin with a brief Sweetune primer:

Sweetune has been at least 15 people, but it’s currently 11 people, and it mostly seems to be 2 people

Confused? Let’s back up: the Sweetune team currently consists of 11 members, working as “music producers, composers, songwriters and engineers” (to quote directly from Wikipedia asdfgh, I’m such a hack). Two of these members are the team’s founders, Han Jaeho and Kim Seungsoo. They're also the only names that appear consistently in production credits... to the extent that I feel kinda bad for the others.

Well, it seems that some of the others felt kinda bad too: three members split from the team in 2014, going on to form MonoTree, responsible for a boatload of other forum faves. (If y’all behave yourselves, maybe I’ll run a sequel rate; God knows a bunch of you will jump at the chance to rate LOONA songs for the 500th time nñn)

Another former member was Kim Boa, who went on to debut as the leader of SPICA – more on her later. Honestly, it’s hard to find much in the way of Sweetune history; their official(?) website isn’t particularly helpful, though “Sweetune Woks” does sound promising.

Sweetune’s tended to work with artists across multiple comebacks

K-Pop is Pop, meaning agencies want hits; building a cohesive discography isn’t always a priority. Of course, there are exceptions, and a number of the acts we’ll be discussing have worked with Sweetune across numerous comebacks, spanning several years – most notably KARA, INFINITE, 9MUSES, and BOYFRIEND. Other acts worked with Sweetune for fewer comebacks, but the period proved transformational – Stellar is probably the best example here.

This trend has tapered off somewhat in recent years, and the acts have become… conspicuously more nugu fffff. Perhaps we’ll dig into this a bit later. Or perhaps not, since it makes me a bit sad!

Sweetune has a signature sound

Here at forum dot popjustice dot com slash forums slash k hyphen pop dot thirty-three, we love the following:
• Bops with many beats per minute
• Noisy bops (when performed by women ONLY)
• The 80s’, or more specifically, songs that remind us with the ‘80s but with better production​

Lucky for us, Sweetune has served all of the above! The last point is probably what they’re most broadly known for.

Personally? For me, a Sweetune production is all about the layers – synths & guitars & horns & deeper synths & bongos (!) & voices stacked up to the cosmos. Also: a heavy focus on melody that gets passed between instrumentals and vocals; if you can recognizably hum any 4 bars of a K-Pop song, there’s a good chance it’s a Sweetune production.

My Credentials

Let’s get this out of the way: I didn’t know the vast majority of these songs prior to this year. I think the first Sweetune track I (knowingly) heard was Beautiful by fucking TARGET; for reference, it came out the same day as TWICE’s Fancy. I’m not exactly long in the tooth here.

But 2020’s had a funny way of chopping & screwing everyone’s sense of time. So while I could swear I started working from home three weeks ago, and binged Love is Blind last Wednesday, I also feel like I’ve been sitting with these songs for an eternity. The tracks linked below have been some of the only joy I’ve experienced in the past 6 mirthless months, and I’ve developed a lot of affection for the material. So… here we are!

Of course, not having been there for a lot of these releases means I’ll be leaning on you to help fill in the blanks. Tidbits I’ve missed, context I’ve overlooked, forum memories… I want to hear it all! Which brings us to…

The Rules

The next post will include 92 songs for you to rate. It’s a lot! I urge you to give them all at least a few listens before scoring – I found many of them took a few weeks to properly sink their hooks in, and even the most unassuming tracks have details worth noting.

… except for one, but we’ll get to that.

Send me a PM scoring each song from 0 to 10. Decimals are fine – get as specific as you want (within reason, i.e. don’t be a twit about it)! And, as usual, you get a single 11 to give to your favourite song of all.

I encourage you to use as much light and shade in your scoring as possible by taking advantage of the whole scale. I have some ideas about how to showcase everyone’s absolute favourite songs, and variety in your scores will help make sure you’re spotlighted; again, more on this later.

Finally, commentary please! It makes me look good, plus it helps you get a word in even if you need a break from the forum messery.

The Deadline

You have until Tuesday, December 15th at 11:59 AM MST, so get cracking!

… but actually, it’s super important to me that everyone feels they have enough time to sit with these tracks. I’d rather delay a bit if it means more participants! So let me know in the thread if you’re feeling a different timeline.

And… that’s it for post #1! Thanks for skimming!​
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The Songs

Rock U (2008)
Pretty Girl (2008)
Honey (2009)
Wanna (2009)
Mister (2009)
Lupin (2010)
Jumping (2010)
We’re With You (2010)
Step (2011)
Pandora (2012)
Damaged Lady (2013)

Lost (feat. Jeong Jinwoon) (Nicole solo - 2012)
Mama (Nicole solo - 2014)
Guilty (Seungyeon solo - 2012)
Daydream (Gyuri solo - 2012)
Midnight Queen (Hara solo - 2019)


She’s Back (2010)
BTD (Before the Dawn) (2011)
Nothing’s Over (2011)
Be Mine (2011)
Paradise (2011)
White Confession (Lately) (2011)
The Chaser (2012)
Man in Love (2013)
Last Romeo (2014)

60 Seconds (Sunggyu solo - 2012)


A (2010)
Mach (2010)


Let it Go (feat. Hyuna) (2011)
The Art of Seduction (2013)


Figaro (2011)
News (2012)
Ticket (2012)
Dolls (2013)
Wild (2013)
Gun (2013)
Glue (2013)


Don’t Touch My Girl (2011)
I’ll Be There (2011)
Love Style (2012)
Be My Shine (2012)
Janus (2012)
My Lady (2012)
I Yah (2013)
On & On (2013)
Obsession (2014)
Witch (2014)
White Out (2014)
Bounce (2015)


Russian Roulette (2012)
Lonely (2012)
Ghost (2014)


Hateful Person (2012)


Study (2013)
Marionette (2014)
Mask (2014)
Fool (2015)


Delicious (2014)
Tell Me Why (2014)


Ooh Ooh (feat. Hoya) (2014)


Lovesick (2015)
Target (2015)


Shall We Dance (2015)
Platonic Love (2016)
You=Heaven (2016)
It’s Raining (2016)
Back:Hug (2017)
The Star of Stars (2017)
Dear (2017)


Better Day (2016)
Sketch U (2017)


Good Time (2016)


She (2017)
Mind Control (2017)
Love Story (2018)
Paradise (2018)
Wake Up (2019)


Hot Feeling (2017)
(the Korean version exists on streaming as ‘Afterwards’, which… might be the official title dd, but we’ve already used ‘Hot Feeling’ for the elimination banner, so we’re sticking with it!)
Awake (2018)
Beautiful (2019)


It’s U (2018)
Lady (2018)
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That Day (2018)
Lost N Found (2018)

Delight (Jiae solo) (2013)
Gone (Jin solo) (2013)


Eden (2019)
Final Kiss (2019)
Memento (2019)
The Day (2020)


Scandalous (2020)
99 (2020)
Scene (2020)

The Playlists

Apple Music

KARA - Rock U:
KARA - Pretty Girl:
KARA - Honey:
KARA - Wanna:
KARA - Mr.:
KARA - Lupin:
KARA - Jumping:
KARA - We’re With You:
KARA - Step:
KARA - Pandora:
KARA - Damaged Lady:

Nicole (KARA) - Lost (feat. Jeong Jinwoon):
Nicole (KARA) - Mama:
Seungyeon (KARA) - Guilty:
Gyuri (KARA) - Daydream:
Hara (KARA) - Midnight Queen:

INFINITE - She’s Back:
INFINITE - BTD (Before the Dawn):
INFINITE - Nothing’s Over:
INFINITE - Paradise:
INFINITE - White Confession (Lately):
INFINITE - The Chaser:
INFINITE - Man in Love:
INFINITE - Last Romeo:

Sunggyu (INFINITE) - 60Sec:

Rainbow - A:
Rainbow - Mach:

Heo Youngsaeng - Let it Go (feat. Hyuna):
Heo Youngsaeng - The Art of Seduction:

9MUSES - Figaro:
9MUSES - News:
9MUSES - Ticket:
9MUSES - Dolls:
9MUSES - Wild:
9MUSES - Gun:
9MUSES - Glue:

BOYFRIEND - Don’t Touch My Girl:
BOYFRIEND - I’ll Be There:
BOYFRIEND - Love Style:
BOYFRIEND - Be My Shine:
BOYFRIEND - Obsession:
BOYFRIEND - White Out:

SPICA - Russian Roulette:
SPICA - Lonely:
SPICA - Ghost:

BEAST - Hateful Person:

Stellar - Study:
Stellar - Marionette:
Stellar - Mask:
Stellar - Fool:

ToHeart - Delicious:
ToHeart - Tell Me Why:

Eric Nam - Ooh Ooh (feat. Hoya):

ROMEO - Lovesick:
ROMEO - Target:

SNUPER - Shall We Dance:
SNUPER - Platonic Love:
SNUPER - You=Heaven:
SNUPER - It’s Raining:
SNUPER - Back:Hug:
SNUPER - The Star of Stars:
SNUPER - Dear:

100% - Better Day:
100% - Sketch U:

A.DE - Good Time:

TST - She:
TST - Mind Control:
TST - Love Story:
TST - Paradise:
TST - Wake Up:

TARGET - Hot Feeling:
TARGET - Awake:
TARGET - Beautiful:

Golden Child - It’s U:
Golden Child - Lady:

Lovelyz - That Day:
Lovelyz - Lost N Found:

Jiae (Lovelyz) - Delight:
Jin (Lovelyz) - Gone:

IZ - Eden:
IZ - Final Kiss:
IZ - Memento:
IZ - The Day:

KEEMBO - Scandalous:
KEEMBO - 99:
KEEMBO - Scene:
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93. TARGET - Awake
92. BOYFRIEND - White Out
91. TARGET - Hot Feeling

90. BOYFRIEND - On & On
89. BOYFRIEND - My Lady
88. ToHeart - Tell Me Why
87. TARGET - Beautiful
86. Jin (Lovelyz) - Gone

85. BOYFRIEND - Be My Shine
84. IZ - The Day
83. 100% - Sketch U
82. ToHeart - Delicious
81. BOYFRIEND - Witch

80. SNUPER - Dear
79. Heo Youngsaeng - Let it Go (feat. Hyuna)
78. BOYFRIEND - I'll Be There
77. BOYFRIEND - Obsession
76. BOYFRIEND - Don't Touch My Girl

75. INFINITE - White Confession (Lately)
74. TST - She
(Tie) 72. IZ - Memento
(Tie) 72. KARA - Rock U

(Tie) 70. Nicole (KARA) - Lost (feat. Jeong Jinwoon)
(Tie) 70. TST - Mind Control
69. 100% - Better Day
68. A.DE - Good Time
67. TST - Wake Up
66. SNUPER - You=Heaven

65. BOYFRIEND - Bounce
64. KARA - We're With You
63. Golden Child - It's U
62. BOYFRIEND - Love Style
61. TST - Love Story

60. Stellar - Fool
59. Golden Child - Lady
(Tie) 57. Gyuri (KARA) - Daydream
(Tie) 57. BEAST - Hateful Person
56. Eric Nam - Ooh Ooh (feat. Hoya)

55. ROMEO - Lovesick
54. Kim Sunggyu (INFINITE) - 60 Seconds
53. Stellar - Study
(Tie) 51. Jiae (Lovelyz) - Delight
(Tie) 51. SNUPER - Shall We Dance

50. Heo Youngsaeng - The Art of Seduction
49. INFINITE - Last Romeo
48. TST - Paradise
47. Nicole (KARA) - Mama
46. KARA - Pretty Girl

(Tie) 44. IZ - Final Kiss
(Tie) 44. INFINITE - She's Back
43. IZ - Eden
42. BOYFRIEND - Janus
41. INFINITE - Nothing's Over

40. SPICA - Ghost
39. Seungyeon (KARA) - Guilty
38. ROMEO - Target
37. INFINITE - BTD (Before the Dawn)
36. SNUPER - Back:Hug

35. INFINITE - Man in Love
34. KEEMBO - 99
33. SNUPER - It's Raining
32. SNUPER - The Star of Stars

30. KARA - Honey
29. INFINITE - Paradise
28. Stellar - Mask
27. SPICA - Lonely
26. KEEMBO - Scene

25. Lovelyz - That Day

Road to Sweetune: Introductory Posts


Farewell Posts

Rainbow (9.418)
9Muses (9.374)

KEEMBO (8.656)

SPICA (8.430)
KARA (8.414)
INFINITE (8.037)
Stellar (8.006)

SNUPER (7.804)
Lovelyz (7.791)
ROMEO (7.663)

Eric Nam (7.324)
BEAST (7.315)
Golden Child (7.255)
IZ (7.239)
TST (7.200)
Heo Youngsaeng (7.175)
A.DE (7.109)

100% (6.837)
ToHeart (6.490)
TARGET (6.080)
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And, as a final introductory note – a moment of gratitude for @junglefish unnie, who’s provided all rate graphics. Other than being a complete joy to work with, he’s done some excellent work – I’ve been gazing lovingly at the song images for weeks, and I can’t wait to share them with you all. Please give it up for the good sis by liking this post!​
Now hear this! Per @Wills Infinite alone...pick a song, any song, the magic will touch you! For those of you unfamiliar with them beyond The Chaser, or who think you remember the songs, LISTEN AGAIN! I simply ask that when you get to said Infinite section, you go on with open ears, hearts, and minds like I have in other rates. LOL

This is also a friendly reminder that I will take low Infinite scores personally and will be be taking notes. So for those of you who will automatically give White Confession a 3 or 4 because it’s a Christmas song, I will let you know that it NEVER leaves my playlists so that argument is suspect. OH, and while I love all the boys, I will especially NOT tolerate any L, Woohyun, or Hoya slander in your commentary!

Seriously though, as the resident Infinite STAN, I am super excited for this as it is the closest I’m ever going to get to an Infinite rate. I myself can’t wait to dive into Kara. Also check back for motivation as I think I will be taking a few personal favorites and explain to you why you should love them. Hahaha