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

I couldn't remember Love Style if I'm being honest when I was reading another of @Wills masterpiece elimination posts. So I opened my rate spreadsheet to see what I scored it. OK, so I played the video.

Oh yeah, this song....


Wait a minute...


This slaps....


My 8 was definitely too low.


YEAR: 2018

LOVE TO HEAR IT: (10) @BeingNormal (9.5) @Slice of Life (8.75) @thommyh (8.5) @Wills (8) @RUNAWAY, @junglefish, @soratami, @vague
HATE TO SEE IT: (5) @evilsin, @M24 (6) @ysev, @Joli Chat, @Empty Shoebox
AS FOR ME: it’s an 8.5

Talk about a swift downfall: after making it to the top 75 intact, TST limps into the top 60 with only ‘Paradise’ remaining. I’d complain about how much I’ve had to talk about them lately, but their songs are generally unique enough that I’m not repeating myself as much as… other groups. ‘Love Story’ was TST’s third single, released the literal day before the maknae was found guilty of sexual assault and given the boot, but even a scandal couldn’t save this one – based on the view count, I’m not convinced it’d been heard by anyone prior to this rate.

But honestly, poor everyone else – this is one of TST’s strongest, and something I wish I could’ve scored higher, were it not for all the other nines here. As is often the case, the keys are the beating heart here; the intro in particular is a bit of gloriously nostalgic cheese.

Listening now… there really isn’t much else to say tbh. The raps work well with that keyboard riff I love so much. The chorus sounds a bit like Fiestar’s ‘You’re Pitiful’. And uh… that’s about it. I guess the synths just really did it for me - that quintessential Sweetune soundscape merits an 8.5 on its own.

Commentary was sparse here. M24 owes us a progress report: “This isn't too bad, I can see myself liking it with more and more listens.” Please anticipate Sweetune Rate: The Re-up, coming 2026! BeingNormal doesn’t work too hard to justify their 10, and frankly, tea: “So cheesy but I love it.

Below is the video, which plays like a glorified performance MV, but the colours are lovely! Some really nauseating camerawork though, like at 2:14 where the one guy “pushes” the camera, only to have it move in the opposite direction. Fair play to the cameraperson though, I wouldn’t advise taking leads from that guy in particular.

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Top 60

Rock U
Pretty Girl

We’re With You
Damaged Lady

Lost (feat. Jeong Jinwoon) (Nicole solo)
Mama (Nicole solo)
Guilty (Sungyeon solo)
Daydream (Gyuri solo)
Midnight Queen (Hara solo)

She’s Back
BTD (Before the Dawn)
Nothing’s Over
Be Mine

White Confession (Lately)
The Chaser
Man in Love
Last Romeo

60Sec (Sunggyu solo)


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


Don’t Touch My Girl
I’ll Be There
Love Style
Be My Shine

My Lady
I Yah
On & On
White Out

Russian Roulette

Hateful Person


Tell Me Why

Eric Nam
Ooh Ooh (feat. Hoya)


Shall We Dance
Platonic Love

It’s Raining
The Star of Stars


Better Day
Sketch U

Good Time

Mind Control
Love Story

Wake Up

Hot Feeling

Golden Child
It’s U

That Day
Lost N Found

Delight (Jiae solo)

Gone (Jin solo)

Final Kiss

The Day


Untouched Since Top 70

Heo Youngsaeng
Eric Nam
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The next out is my lowest remaining score in the rate, and my second-lowest overall. If anyone guesses correctly, you might get it sooner!

(tbh it probably won't change anything, it just looks like fun when agencies gatekeep content behind arbitrary requirements to drive engagement)
If only all your grinches wouldn’t have done Lately so dirty...it’s okay. The fact that we’ve made it to top 60 only losing one is a victory I will take on behalf of all Inspirits. That being said, the pool of male songs is becoming more and more shallow, so I’m preparing for the inevitable.
Wow throwback to when my family would never play games with me haha triggering! Anyways

it’s fine

I’m getting my revenge >:)


YEAR: 2015

LOVE TO HEAR IT: (10) @RUNAWAY (9) @Remorque, @soratami (8.75) @thommyh (8.5) @aux, @Joli Chat, @Crisp X, @M24
HATE TO SEE IT: (2.5) @Wills (5) @Empty Shoebox (5.8) @junkos (6) @BeingNormal, @ysev, @roblognick
AS FOR ME: it’s a 2.5

Stellar makes their first appearance with ‘Fool’, their final Sweetune collaboration… sort of. The timing on this was funny: by 2015, the contingent of producers they’d previously worked with on ‘Study’, ‘Marionette’, and ‘Mask’ had already split off to form MonoTree, who they’d eventually collaborate with a couple times more. ‘Fool’, on the other hand, was their only time working with “Sweetune proper,” i.e. founders Han Jaeho and Kim Seungsoo, plus additional member Jung Byonggyu. The track was positioned as a response to criticism over the group’s hypersexualised image, but that has more to do with the video than the song itself, so we’ll set that aside for now.

I’ve waited 31 eliminations for this! I’d initially scored this quite a bit higher, because… I like Stellar. Then I listened to it again… and again… and a bunch more times… because I kept tuning out as it played. I’d never have guessed this was a Sweetune production, I find it so incredibly bland. This type of jazzy arrangement isn’t for me at the best of times, but this feels particularly snoozy – the melodies don’t grab my ear whatsoever, and the instrumentation is as generic as they come. For me, this is a “life’s too short” song.

Obviously I was the only one who felt quite this negatively about it (I mean, even @Empty Shoebox gave it a 5, so you know she fucking loves it). Not only that, those of you who provided commentary were pretty effusive. Joli Chat is a fan of sedate scatting: “Loving that post-chorus!” And M24 reads me so the rest of you don’t have to: “Wooooo, a sexy jazzy bop!!!!!! And it's got a pretty melody and hooks for me to grab onto… let me give it a high score just in case you all tank this for the lack of synths!” Nope, just me!

Finally, perennial high-scorer RUNAWAY lists this alongside much better songs champions this as a gem among Stellar’s discography: “they really impressed me with this song, and I still play this one all the time along with Crying and Sting. I really love the vibe of the whole song, and wish they had gone with this style a little more in their career.” ddd I probably wouldn't be running this rate!

Below is the video, which I understand is meant to hit back at the haters, but honestly I don’t really understand what’s going on? I get the YouTube comments, I get them reclaiming their image (which, serve). I think it’s the Santa Claus gorilla that’s throwing me.



YEAR: 2018

LOVE TO HEAR IT: (9.5) @Wills, @aux (9) @camden_italian, @junglefish (8.75) @vague (8.5) @BeingNormal, @junkos
HATE TO SEE IT: (4) @M24, @Empty Shoebox (6) @ysev, @roblognick, @Crisp X, @Ana Raquel, @soratami
AS FOR ME: it’s a 9.5

In one of the swiftest exits of the rate, Golden Child is officially out of the running, coming only four eliminations after their first appearance. Much has been made (maybe not on this forum, but elsewhere!) of Golden Child’s suitability as successors to Infinite. While I’m generally happy to see them stay in their own lane, I’d say this track presents the strongest argument for adopting their seniors’ sound. Incidentally, this was released as a rare non-repackage follow-up to ‘It’s U’ – a move once made by Infinite. And, like ‘She’s Back’ before it, they saved the best for last.

‘Lady’ presents one of Sweetune’s lushest soundscapes. A gorgeous piano line accompanies the verses, before transitioning to the team’s standard synth work. Despite being one of their more downtempo offerings, there’s no lack of dynamic range – the pre-chorus is especially dramatic with its sudden influx of percussion. Hardly Sweetune’s most inventive instrumental, but that isn’t really the focus here.

No, that role belongs to the melodies, and pardon me if I end up throwing “timeless” around once or twice. In contrast to my biggest complaint about ‘It’s U’, every sung line here feels carefully considered. Mirroring the instrumental, the verses keep things subdued before the pre-chorus ramps up the intensity, culminating in Y’s soaring “goodbye.”

And girls… I’d be lying if I said this hadn’t jerked the odd tear every now and again. It’s the perfect escalation in sentimentality, and his tone is absolutely crystalline. It’s the type of brief moment that utterly sells me on a song, and it's somehow made even better the last time around, when a pitched voice pops in to harmonize.

This moment leads into the sweeping chorus, and I’m going to use that word again: it's timeless, the type of melody that acts like Infinite built their names on. It’s both catchy and refined, and sounds like something I’d have heard my parents play when I was a kid. Actually, I’m going to make another comparison, this one a bit weirder: it reminds me of AKMU, in the sense that the first time I ever heard it, I swore I’d known it my whole life. Some melodies just seem inevitable.

If it seems I’m rambling, you’re correct! A few reasons that might be:

• I’m smarting a bit from the 7-point swing between the last elimination and this one… oof
• I’m exhausted after a long work week and ‘Lady’ is a perfect bit of musical comfort food
• I’m filibustering because only one of you provided commentary

All of the above are true, but mostly I just really love this song. If this rate was your first exposure, I hope that it can grow on you over time, too.

Let’s hear from Joli Chat before I wrap up this melodramatic mess of a post: “Has some of that early sweetune magic to it but idk, I feel like this is something Infinite rejected during their Nothing's Over years and it, somehow, found its way to Golden Child” – nn wait at you just summarizing why I love this so much, could’ve saved myself 500 words!

Below is the video – luckily, Woollim’s big enough that a follow-up video is roughly on par with a nugu’s title track. Hot take though: piano choreo (like at 2:58) is always cringe and should be treated with no more dignity than air guitar.

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Farewell to Golden Child

Golden Child becomes our fifth act to vacate, and forget the gold – these guys couldn’t even see the podium. Not that any of us expected different, but still, I’m a little sad to see them go – partly because they kinda seem like underdogs in general, and partly because ‘Lady’ is just so damn good.

This is another act that didn’t get an intro, so I’ll quickly cover that here. Golden Child debuted in 2017 as Woollim’s first new boygroup since Infinite in 2010. Their debut song was ‘DamDaDi’, which skewed more pop-rock than anything their labelmates had attempted:

They’d revisit this style again with ‘Let Me’, released a few months after the tracks we rated. And honestly, I think they’d have been wise to stick with this sound, just… maybe with better material ddd. I realize there isn’t much of a market for fresh-faced boys doing rollicking power pop in 2021, but it’d be an improvement over the identity crisis they’re in the midst of.

Their next release was ‘Genie’ in late 2018, which was much more dance-oriented than their previous titles. Everything was still bright and upbeat, and I’d expect this to be right up my alley… but I’ve never really been able to connect with it. The production’s great, but like their previous tracks, I don’t think the songwriting quite nails it:

We’ll take a brief detour into B-side territory with ‘Eyes On You’, and yes ladies, it’s a Sweetune track! Well, kinda – like Lovelyz’ ‘Lost N Found’, Sweetune only provided lyrics here. In my mind, that’s a bit “well what’s the point?” nn, but the track itself is easily one of Golcha’s best:

Their next release didn’t come for thirteen months – a ludicrously long hiatus for a rookie group. When they finally returned in late 2019, Golden Child had been rebranded as… Infinite, circa 2016. Their next three singles were known as their “Dark Child trilogy” and were all done by BLSSD, an in-house producer partly responsible for Infinite’s rebrand. ‘Wannabe’, ‘Without You’, and ‘One (Lucid Dream)’ are all pretty good, though the latter came after their stint on Road to Kingdom, resulting in their most successful comeback to date. It’s also easily the strongest of the three, so I guess We The People got it right for once:

To be honest, even though the material was solid, it’s always felt like Woollim rushed this reboot in an attempt to repeat Infinite’s trajectory. This overlooks the fact that Infinite had already developed a trademark sound and secured their place in the market prior to changing lanes. The Golden Child approach has seemed comparatively messy, not helped by their latest release sounding more like their 2017/2018 songs than anything since:

Quibbles aside, ‘Pump it Up’ is my favourite Golcha track since ‘Lady’. And with their upcoming mini only a couple weeks away, I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they head next. Given their history, literally nothing’s off the table ddd!

All that said, I’m rooting for Golden Child, and I’m also worried for them. As Infinite’s juniors, I’m pulling for them to carve out a similar legacy, but I don’t think their label’s taken the right approach to date – especially with DRIPPIN threatening to eat their lunch (not that there’s any imminent risk lol, but we’ve seen it happen before). But hey – it’s taken other acts much longer to get it together. Anything can happen!

Oh right, and y’all let ‘Lady’ bomb out too early. Bye!

Golden Child – Final Scoreboard

#59. Lady (7.304)
#63. It’s U (7.207)

Golden Child – Highest Scorers

#1. @BeingNormal (9.250)
#2. @junkos (8.750)
#3. @junglefish, @Slice of Life, @camden_italian, @Joli Chat (8.500)

Golden Child – Lowest Scorers

#23. @Empty Shoebox (3.500)
#22. @M24 (4.250)
#21. @soratami (5.000)
#20. @Crisp X (6.000)
#19. @ysev (6.125)

Golden Child – Controversy Index
*based on standard deviation, higher index = more controversial

#1. It’s U (1.683)
#2. Lady (1.516)

Golden Child – Group Average: 7.255



YEAR: 2012

LOVE TO HEAR IT: (10) @thommyh, @Monkey0 (9.5) @M24 (9) @BeingNormal (8.75) @RUNAWAY (8.5) @camden_italian, @junglefish
HATE TO SEE IT: (4) @Hurricane Drunk, @Empty Shoebox (4.5) @junkos (6) @Crisp X (6.5) @Slice of Life, @Ana Raquel
AS FOR ME: it’s a 7

We kick off our third tie of the rate with Gyuri’s ‘Daydream’. I already provided some background on KARA Solo Collection in my writeup for Nicole’s ‘Lost’ – which, by the way, was thirteen eliminations ago. How much longer do we think Seungyeon will last?

Charts-wise, this did the poorest of the five tracks, only reaching #163 on Gaon. This also charted the lowest of the bunch in Japan, hitting #11 on the Recochoku Uta chart, though Wikipedia is unclear if this was for the song itself or… the ringtone. Simpler times!

‘Daydream’ is unlike anything else in the rate – the closest comparison I can make to Sweetune’s other work is ‘Pray’, an Infinite B-side with a similarly grandiose, orchestrated ballroom vibe. But where that’s closer to a waltz, ‘Daydream’ plays like a twisted tango. The verses have Gyuri delivering breathy lines over someone banging on the lower end of a piano, later joined by plucked strings; all of it conveys a moody, almost sinister atmosphere.

This leads into an instrumental bridge, which is easily my favourite part of the track and such an 11/10 moment in Sweetune’s discography. The violin solo is lovely, but it’s the synthesized strings playing backwards that make this for me. It’s a bizarre little passage, but really opens the track up and gives it a moment to breathe before barrelling into… the chorus.

And this is where it starts to lose me. The instrumental is still suitably dramatique, but with everything cranked up, I find it loses a lot of its rhythmic drive. And then there’s Gyuri wailing over the top of it – she sounds totally fine (great, even), but the melody strips the song of the subtlety that worked so well moments before. Unfortunately, the track stays in this mode for the rest of its runtime. The outro echoes that earlier passage I loved so much, but by this point, the magic’s gone and I’m ready for it to end.

This won’t be the last time that opportunity cost yields a score in the sevens – but damn, this could have been amazing. Joli Chat also feels this is good-not-great: “It’s good but when it comes to Gyuri I prefer her songs with from the Airport; both Gyuri and Seungyeon’s solos sound dated even by 2012’s standards imo.” I’ve heard her other work is great, I’ll bump it up the priority list! As for Seungyeon… we’ll get there eventually, but spoiler: RUNAWAY likes hers better – “no shade to Gyuri, and I love her voice, but this song was never really one I ever came back to from Kara Collection.

High-scorer thommyh knows what he likes, but second-guesses labels: “I listen to singers. Very rarely do I listen to people who cannot sing. The way the verses are sung like it's a sexy lil tango[citation needed] or whatever though ddd. Queen!” Don’t worry sis, I was also frantically googling tango examples before starting this writeup. Luckily, we had a real-life Argentinian in our midst all along! Yes, I’m talking about M24! Take it away, unnie:

The tango beat gives me life… I guess my nationality shows. Probably one of the most experimental Sweetune songs, from what I've heard so far. The chorus could be better, but I like the shouted verses kii! I'll rate it a bit higher than I objectively would, because I don't trust you all to do this song justice!

Below is the video, and I assume this is meant to be serious, but… it’s so melodramatic and maybe a bit silly??? And I love it so much for that! Gyuri running through the woods, broken shackles flailing… living her Hwasa fantasy in that red dress… that astonishing glance towards the camera at 3:03… queen shit!!!