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

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Hello! Before we dig into our top 5, I have three separate housekeeping items to take care of. First off…
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Farewell to Rainbow

Everyone, please give it up for the highest group average in the rate!

Yup, that’s right! They may not have managed to breach our top 5, but Rainbow still showed the hell up and left their mark on the rate. Interestingly, they had a similar run to Lovelyz, having both tracks outlast so many others before falling hand-in-hand.

I’ve only very recently become a Rainbow convert, thanks largely to @FunkyButChic's brilliant KPSC contribution:



I find myself looping this for hours alongside Stellar’s Vibrato, like I’m in my own little ThottyButSweet Kpop musical!

Apart from that, I’m still early in my Rainbow stanning journey (helped along by recommendations from the peerless @junglefish), but here are some standouts so far:






…and honestly, I think I’ll always have a soft spot for groups that manage to slay despite DSP’s best efforts to self-sabotage.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got here, but lemme quickly express how grateful I am to this rate + KSPC for getting me hooked on Rainbow – given the 2 billion groups out there, some are bound to pass me by entirely, but I’m glad this won’t be one of them!


Rainbow – Final Scoreboard

#6. Mach (9.446)
#7. A (9.391)

Rainbow – Highest Scorers

#1. @thommyh, @Ana Raquel, @junglefish, @vague, @evilsin, @junkos, @Joli Chat (10.000)

(lmao)

Rainbow – Lowest Scorers

#23. @soratami (8.000)
#21. @Remorque, @Wills (8.250)
#20. @Empty Shoebox (8.500)
#19. @camden_italian (8.750)

(wig omfg)


Rainbow – Group Average: 9.418
 
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Next up, you've become familiar with LUCKY UNNIES - and lemme just say I appreciate the positive feedback it's gotten, I'm so glad it's been of interest!

But now, ahead of our #5 elimination, it's time to introduce...

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RETIRED LUCKY UNNIES

Yup, you read that right: we have ajummas in our midst! RETIRED LUCKY UNNIES are a special classification for anyone who:

1. Has already lost their eleven; and
2. Only has tens remaining.

Essentially, this means that they have graduated from the Lucky Unnies program and are forever lucky until the end of time, i.e. later this week when the rate ends!

But what set this new development into motion? With the loss of his sole remaining 9.75 for Mach (and @Joli Chat says I tanked it), we're ready to mint our very first RETIRED LUCKY UNNIE!

Friends, please give it up for...

@RUNAWAY!!!

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Aww, the poor thing, she's really been through it, losing tens since the dawn of time. Someone fetch her a mug of hot water and a lap blanket, she's earned her rest!​
 

RUNAWAY

Staff member
he/him
Next up, you've become familiar with LUCKY UNNIES - and lemme just say I appreciate the positive feedback it's gotten, I'm so glad it's been of interest!

But now, ahead of our #5 elimination, it's time to introduce...

IMG_2834.jpg


RETIRED LUCKY UNNIES

Yup, you read that right: we have ajummas in our midst! RETIRED LUCKY UNNIES are a special classification for anyone who:

1. Has already lost their eleven; and
2. Only has tens remaining.

Essentially, this means that they have graduated from the Lucky Unnies program and are forever lucky until the end of time, i.e. later this week when the rate ends!

But what set this new development into motion? With the loss of his sole remaining 9.75 for Mach (and @Joli Chat says I tanked it), we're ready to mint our very first RETIRED LUCKY UNNIE!

Friends, please give it up for...

@RUNAWAY!!!

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Aww, the poor thing, she's really been through it, losing tens since the dawn of time. Someone fetch her a mug of hot water and a lap blanket, she's earned her rest!​
Ffffff I hate you :)

The good sis waiting for me to send him the KARA rate graphics.




I HATE YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!
 
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Finally, the one I'm most excited for! I've had so much fun running this rate, and given the frankly absurd quality of music we've been dealing with, I think this calls for something special.

As such, I'm thrilled to announce...

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WATCH2GETHER CELEBRATION
SATURDAY, APRIL 10TH @ 8PM GMT


That's right! Everyone's invited to join us as we listen through our TOP 20 songs, including...

THE SWEETUNE SINGLES RATE WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

We'll have finished counting down to #3 by Thursday God willing, giving everyone a couple days to speculate between our top two. Then, the final results will be announced in real time, followed shortly by the last writeups!

I expect the event will last around two hours, and I know timezones are a pain and not everyone will be able to attend, which... sucks. I don't know how much wiggle room we have, but if bumping it by an hour or two in either direction will allow more people to attend, please let me know and we can have that conversation!

I'll post the link in the thread shortly before it begins, and I'll also mention it in the general thread in case any non-voters would like to join.

I can't wait to celebrate Kpop's crème de la crème – hope to see you all there!

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9.457
YEAR: 2012

NO SERIOUSLY, THEY PEAKED: (11 x 5) @Wills, @Slice of Life, @BeingNormal, @junkos, @Joli Chat

LOVE TO HEAR IT: (10 x 8) @RUNAWAY, @thommyh, @camden_italian, @junglefish, @Monkey0, @evilsin, @Remorque, @vague (9) @aux, @Hurricane Drunk, @codecat
HATE TO SEE IT: (6) @Empty Shoebox
AS FOR ME: it's my 11

LUCKY UNNIES*: @aux (9), @junglefish (10), @Hurricane Drunk (9), @Monkey0 (10), @ysev (8), @codecat (9), @Remorque (10), @roblognick (8), @Crisp X (8.5), @Ana Raquel (8.5), @soratami (8), @vague (10), @Empty Shoebox (6)
*meaning this was their lowest remaining score

RETIRED LUCKY UNNIES*: @RUNAWAY
*I did a whole post about this here!

The Chaser is my favourite song of all time – Kpop or otherwise. Accordingly, it has one of the highest play counts in my library.

It’s also not a song I return to very often.

Why's that? I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, and recently managed to boil it down: The Chaser is overwhelming. It’s not a song I can listen to passively – it demands attention, the likes of which I’m not always able to provide. I probably skip it outright more often than not.

For this reason, I hadn’t really listened to it in months – again, despite it being my flat-out favourite song. But then, earlier this week, the time had come to reacquaint myself, so I sat down and listened. Then I listened five more times, each one louder than the last.

To me, The Chaser is what it sounds like to have nothing left to give. Every element of the track is as bold, as impassioned, as it could possibly be. Not a single moment could be made bigger (if it were even humanly possible) without the whole thing imploding on itself. As someone who views music as the ultimate, end-all form of emotional expression, I can't think of a grander, more blistering statement than this.

I’ve avoided naming specific Sweetune members throughout the rate, mostly out of sheer laziness. But with The Chaser, Han Jaeho, Kim Seungsoo, and Hong Seunghyun came together to craft an instrumental so dear to me, they deserve to be referenced by name. Again, every element of the instrumental feels impossibly big – to the extent that I hesitate to start listing highlights, knowing the list might eat up all of the forum’s existing bandwidth. idk how the internet works

What I will address is the chorus melody, which again can be summed up in a single word: tension. The way every line seems to hang in limbo, each one nearly identical to the last, but resolving slightly differently – listening to this chorus feels like being perched on a knife’s edge, never quite allowed a moment’s rest before getting swept up by the tempest once again. In this way, it’s the perfect fit for Song Sooyoon’s lyrics about longing and desperation.

Of course, the track does eventually reach a resolution, but not until its very end – where it winds up in the same place it began. I love how the track is bookended by this refrain; it seems tailor-made for Sungkyu’s voice, providing a pitch-perfect introduction to the track, and becoming even more powerful when the whole group comes together at the end.

But this melody appears once more, midway through, as the lead-in to the The Chaser's climax: Woohyun’s chorus. His vocal is teased during the second prechorus, but its full power is only unleashed here, as the instrumental briefly pulls back to accommodate. I get that this writeup is overwrought, but then so is the source material: this is the sound of a performer emptying everything out for the world to hear. By the time his groupmates join him for the final chorus, it seems like an act of mercy – it’s hard to imagine Woohyun alone would have anything left to give.

This sums up what The Chaser is for me. It’s raw emotion – uncontainable, inescapable, frightening in its power. I can’t allow myself to feel with this intensity all the time, just like I can’t always listen to this song – trying to would only cheapen the experience. But I’m grateful to know that this song is there, waiting, for when the time comes to tap into that emotion. In this way, it feels vital; a reminder of what it is to be wholly alive.

To close this three-ring circus of a writeup, lemme quickly mention my other faves: I recently posted that ONF’s Beautiful Beautiful could end up being my favourite Kpop song of all-time. I stand by that statement, as well as everything written above. To me, these tracks are two sides of the same coin: both are unfettered emotion in song; three-odd minutes of unrestricted feeling.

But they’re completely different types of catharsis: one is feverish longing, the other triumphant joy. Both have been central to my (queer, millennial, etc.) experience – and, like the songs themselves, the latter came long after the former. What a privilege to finally have both within arm’s reach.

Whew. All that, and I don’t even speak the fucking language!

M24 babe, I’m sorry to do this, but I gotta get yours out the way early: “I feel like every kpop fan thinks this is the best kpop song of all-time.. I can see why, but it just doesn't click with me that much. And believe me, I heard it countless times before this rate. And even if I enjoy it, I feel like the chorus could be a lot better? It just doesn't hit me as much as it should from the perfect production build-up that Sweetune created.” Hmm well you said the same thing about Step’s chorus so I’ll just leave it at that!

Everyone else who commented gave this a ten (or better!), so y’all know you have my heart. After all this time, it’s so rewarding to see RUNAWAY’s effusive praise get showered on my ultimate fave: “ughhhh their style was so unique to them, and this song is really their crowning glory. What a moment~” The Chaser also narrowly missed receiving Monkey0’s highest honour, but given the competition, it’s impossible to complain: “Their absolute best song, runner up for my 11.

Next, we move onto a trio of 11-givers – and if y’all thought this song brought me joy, you can just imagine what seeing this commentary did to me. We’ll start with junkos, for whom The Chaser was pivotal: “This song came out right around the time I got into Kpop, I was completely blown away by it and it has aged so well. Hearing it makes me feel so nostalgic.” I came to it a bit later, but you nailed it: this shit’s timeless!

Next, we have Joli Chat, who lowkey clocks the rationale behind my 11 in @Serg.'s rate: “Intro so iconic GFriend Stole it for Navillera, this is their best song ever tbh. That Bridge to last chorus transition is so powerful it gives me shivers every single time. A masterpiece!” omggg, honestly I love you more every day bb <3

And then we have BeingNormal – I hope and pray he returns to the forum soon to see how well this fared! “What's more can we say about this song ? A masterpiece not only in K-pop, but music in general should have put this song as one of the pinnacle of musical achievements. The arrangement, from the synths to the strings are god-tier, but Infinite themselves give us such a masterful performances. The rap is fire, and the desperation in Sunggyu and Woohyun vocals are just amazing. The way SK paid this dust, maybe they are deserved to be abused by BTS super autotuned songs for eternity.” Fhasjkfhas waiT at you preaching fire & brimstone, sis! This gospel is painful, but the truth always is.

But as much as I adored and appreciated all your words, I have to close with thommyh – he may have merely given The Chaser a perfect 10, but it took me 1200+ words to match what he said in just five:

When it's right, it's right.

Period. Below is the video, it’s perfect, and that’s enough words from me for one day.



 
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Slice of Life

Staff member
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What a beautiful write-up @Wills! You have outdone yourself, wig!!! It’s what the best boy group song of all time deserves!!!

I’m so, so happy this made the top 5 which is nothing short of miraculous. Thank you to everyone who gave this a chance and did not outright tank it just because it features male vocals. Y’all did that and I’m proud!
 
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I suppose it's time to announce our next batch of

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RETIRED LUCKY UNNIES

And whew, we have a handful this time around: no fewer than five of you are being committed inducted into the big seniors residence in the sky!

First off, three unnies who lost their final sub-10 scores, having given The Chaser a 9, 8.5, and 8.5 respectively. Please give it up for...

@aux, @Crisp X and @Ana Raquel!!!

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How cute, they're already matching! Bingo starts at 5:30 ladies - don't be late, RUNAWAY hates to be kept waiting!

Additionally, we have a pair who've now lost their 11s, but had the good sense to give everything remaining a perfect 10. Please welcome two of my favourite golden girls,

@Slice of Life and @junkos!!!

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Oop, why so shady, queens? Maybe cuz you have to spend eternity with a bunch of whores that didn't give The Chaser its due? I understand completely. I might still be a young buck, but don't worry - I'll join you someday and we'll let those hags have it.​
 
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Farewell to INFINITE

Ahh, guess it's curtains for my faves. All I can really say is… the same as everyone else: The Chaser landing at number 5 was nothing short of miraculous, so thank you to all the openminded unnies who let it happen!

Though really, their entire run here was impressive: I fully expected them to fare the best of the boygroups, but landing all eight of their non-Christmas titles in the top fifty? AND an 8+ average??? That takes talent, not everyone has that! And honestly I’m still considering Be Mine part of the top 20, if only cuz I could’ve been a complete dick and rejected @M24’s ballot change, so I deserve this make-believe victory for being so nice.

Here’s a fun fact: Sweetune actually did one more Infinite track – Pray, from their 2018 Top Seed album. It was left over from their sessions years prior, but fit perfectly on the album and made for one of their greatest B-sides ever:



But honestly, what really solidified my love for the group was how they continued to go from strength to strength even after parting ways with Sweetune. I mean, if there were any concerns that the material would suffer, they were quelled when Infinite released their second-greatest song as their very next comeback:



I also adore each of their comebacks that followed, but it only seems fair to @camden_italian that I plug his ultimate fave:



I love how experimental they got in their later career, which makes their titles run incredibly satisfying to listen through. Sadly, the group is all but dead: first, Hoya left in 2017 after choosing not to renew his contract with Woollim, leaving them to promote Tell Me as a six-piece. Then came the revolving door of military enlistments… only to be followed by Sungkyu, Dongwoo and Sungyeol all terminating their contracts earlier this year. Welp.

It’s hard to say if we’ll see any further group activities (though stranger things have happened!), which makes 2019’s Clock their de facto farewell track. Sungkyu had already enlisted by this point, leaving Woohyun to lead the charge vocally:



…and it’s gorgeous: a fitting denouement to an unrivalled discography. And to wrap up, lemme close with Sungkyu’s recent comeback, which doubled as his final release under Woollim:



Given how recent a lot of these developments are… you’ll excuse me for getting a little misty-eyed dd. I owe Infinite a lot, teebs: not only for the music (which you can read all about in my The Chaser writeup), but also for inspiring me to run this rate… and helping me connect with all of you. Aw!


INFINITE – Final Scoreboard

#5. The Chaser (9.457)
#21. Be Mine (8.859)
#29. Paradise (8.511)
#35. Man in Love (8.152)
#37. BTD (Before the Dawn) (8.022)
#41. Nothing’s Over (7.826)
#44. She’s Back (7.652)
#49. Last Romeo (7.587)
#54. 60 Seconds (Sunggyu solo) (7.348)
#75. White Confession (Lately) (6.957)

INFINITE – Highest Scorers

#1. @camden_italian (10.100)
#2. @Monkey0 (9.800)
#3. @junkos (9.750)
#4. @RUNAWAY (9.450)
#5. @Slice of Life, @Wills (9.350) omg bestie

INFINITE – Lowest Scorers

#23. @Empty Shoebox (5.000)
#22. @soratami (5.600)
#21. @roblognick (6.000)
#20. @ysev (6.700)
#19. @Crisp X (7.000)


INFINITE – Group Average: 8.037
 
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In case you haven’t been paying attention, KARA and 9Muses are each sitting at two songs remaining.



























































Which group will be a shoo-in for the finale?




























































































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WIG!!!!!!!!!!!!! UGH I LOVE THIS @junglefish

9.489
YEAR: 2013

NO SERIOUSLY, THEY PEAKED: (11) @Remorque

LOVE TO HEAR IT: (10 x 13) @Slice of Life, @aux, @RUNAWAY, @camden_italian, @junglefish, @Hurricane Drunk, @Monkey0, @junkos, @roblognick, @Crisp X, @Ana Raquel, @soratami, @vague (9.75) @thommyh (9.5) @Wills (9) @ysev, @evilsin, @codecat
HATE TO SEE IT: (7.5) @BeingNormal, @M24
AS FOR ME: it’s a 9.5

LUCKY UNNIES*: @thommyh (9.75), @BeingNormal (7.5), @junglefish (10), @Monkey0 (10), @ysev (9), @evilsin (9), @Joli Chat (8), @codecat (9), @vague (10), @M24 (7.5), @Empty Shoebox (8)
*meaning this was their lowest remaining score

RETIRED LUCKY UNNIES*: @RUNAWAY, @Slice of Life, @aux, @junkos, @Crisp X, @Ana Raquel
*I did a whole post about this here!

Yup, it happened: KARA just secured a spot in the final 2. After dominating every square inch of the rate… is it possible that the Muses could get shut out at the final hurdle? Remember the days of speculating a 7-way tie for 1st place? Wills remembers. Mostly he just remembers the fear of being the only one not to have a 10+ average…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Just barely missing the podium is a track that shows its hand right away with its title: within seconds, Wild is absolutely relentless. Sweetune were no strangers to intensity in their production style, but the frenzied, abrasive synths here have no equal anywhere else in their discography. The BPM stays cranked throughout, and even when things pull back briefly for a piano-led verse, it’s more like maintaining a rolling boil than cutting the heat.

Frankly, given everything I’ve described thus far, this could’ve turned out horribly tacky; and yeah, it does seem like someone listened to Born This Way and stifled a yawn before wrangling the Muses into the studio. Luckily, the vocals class up the joint, with a bulletproof topline and a layered performance that matches the intensity of the instrumental.

By the time the key change rolls around, it’s total overkill – and absolute perfection. From start to finish, every element is kept at a fever pitch, mere inches away from a meltdown. This results in one of Sweetune’s most thrilling compositions ever. I absolutely adore it.

For as well as this did, commentary was sparse, not to mention evenly split between praise and disdain. That’s sad, huh? As always, we’ll start with the latter, as M24 is up to his old tricks: “Great beat, I love those synths. They have better songs, but this is good.” …wait, this is quite positive? I saw your name in the low scorers and expected shade. We love a curveball!

Matching his score, but a bit harsher in tone, is BeingNormal, who notes: “This one sounds dated now. Not dated in the sense of sounding 80s, but just screams early 2010s.” Yup yup, and that’s why I have to stan! No more of this sedate nonsense, I’m running out of amphetamines. roblognick also offers his final “after banger” of the rate, adding: “Practically faultless run of songs in all honesty. I feel this could be because I've had a couple of years of listening to these.

You know who drives me wild? You guessed it, it’s RUNAWAY! “Lee Sem shooting the gun in the video literally killed me. I’m still SO OBSESSED WITH HER. At this point, if it HAS Lee Sem, it’s a 10 dddddd. But they deserve every single one. One of my favorite groups OF ALL TIME, and this song is without a doubt in their top 5 of their career. The production is particularly INSANE, and listening to the instrumental by itself is an EXPERIENCE. It reminds me a little T-ARA Sexy Love (original version) with the equally insane production there.

Below is the video, which is yet another shoestring-budget-but-let’s-pretend-otherwise affair. Say what you will about Star Empire, but these clips always felt way more expensive than they had any right to. I do get very squeamish about razorblades and lips, but other than that, this is another in a long, long line of serves.



 
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