Tottenham Hotspur won! Hooray! Saturday’s 2-0 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium was a solid three points on the road. It kept Spurs in third place in the table above Chelsea, who beat Manchester City at home, and Arsenal, who Arsenal’d their way to a win over Huddersfield. These are the kinds of wins that can make the difference between second place and a title (or between fourth and fifth).
Today’s theme has been a long time coming. I’ll be 100% honest — I know literally nothing about K-pop, South Korean pop music. I certainly don’t know enough to do a coherent player rating theme on it. However, with Son Heung-Min as one of Tottenham’s stars, we’ve had people in the comments asking, nay BEGGING, for a K-pop player ratings theme.
So I brought in a ringer. Carty-Free reader and commenter Ray_Of_Sonshine is a K-pop aficionado, and it was her idea to begin with, so I emailed her to see if she’d be willing to collaborate on today’s rating post.
Here you go! The player ratings themselves are mine, but the categories and descriptions are all Ray_Of_Sonshine’s. I hope you enjoy!
5 stars: Exo, “Monster”
What more can I say? This song is truly one of the seminal K-pop songs of the last decade and solidified Exo’s status in the industry as legends. Everything about it from the lyrics to the music video to the choreography showcased a group truly on top of their creative game. Alongside its sister track “Lucky One” it was practically inescapable in 2016. I’m literally not kidding when I say that there were dance covers of this song all over Youtube that summer. Whenever people ask me about getting into K-pop, I always recommend this song and its accompanying album “Ex’act”. This song and it’s music video completely disprove the common misconception of K-pop just being cutesy bubblegum pop music.
Son Heung-Min: No better time for Sonny to get a five-star rating. He was outstanding in attack against Leicester, and his curling goal was among the best I’ve seen him score. His lofted shot for Dele’s goal was similarly excellent. No reason to sit him, ever, unless he’s exhausted.
Dele Alli: There’s an uncanny resemblance between Dele’s first goal and his 50th on Saturday — both were diving headers past Schmeichel at the King Power and both made me squeal. In the absence of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane, Dele stepped up and provided critical leadership, attacking panache, and creativity that was needed.
4.5 Stars: BTS, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears (피 땀 눈물)”
Where do I begin? BTS had been gaining traction for years since their 2013 debut but this song was what really caught the public’s eye on an international stage. This song’s music video is literally what I imagine what a renaissance painting would look like if it was on film. If Exo embraced their gritty and monstrous side in 2016 then Bangtan embraced their elegant, more indulgent sides with this song. Honestly, just like with “Monster”, words truly can’t do this song justice and if you get a chance to listen to this song you won’t regret it.
Janby Alderweirtonghen: This was one of Tottenham’s best defensive performances all season, and the biggest reason for that was the defensive play of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who hardly put a foot wrong. Gosh, it’s almost like when we play them together Tottenham are a better team!
4 Stars: Shinee, “View”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t have Shinee on this list somewhere and where better to start than one of the best releases to grace radio airwaves in the last five years? “View” occupies its own unique space for me if we’re being honest. Written by Shinee’s main vocalist Kim Jonghyun, who sadly passed away in December of last year, I always had happy memories attached to it until that fateful night in December but now this song carries a bit of a bittersweet quality to it. This song and its music video really showcases everything that makes Shinee one of the most eclectic groups in K-pop and how they’re able to constantly reinvent themselves with every comeback. Not to mention it was the soundtrack to the summer of my senior year of high school. I could literally go on for hours about how amazing Shinee are but I think this video tells you all you need to know about them.
Moussa Sissoko: Sissoko’s main role against Leicester was to stick to James Maddison like glue and press him out of the match, and for the most part Moussa did exactly that. He had a few more driving runs through midfield (that ultimately amounted to not much) but it’s his defensive performance I’m lauding today.
Eric Dier: Much better. Dier was defensively stout despite picking up a cheap (and unfair) yellow card early in the match. It’s his best match in weeks. More of this, please.
3.5 Stars: Sunmi, “Gashina”
Ah yes, you didn’t think I’d let this song go under the radar did you? Gashina was a song that was everywhere in 2017 and for good reason. Miss Sunmi came to play with this track and in doing so created one of the best tracks to come out last year. This song really shines in the live versions especially in the case of her dual performance alongside Taemin at last year’s MAMA awards show. A must have in anybody’s K-pop playlist.
Ben Davies: I’ve been harsh on Big Ben, but he actually looked good going forward. Let Demarai Gray into space a tad too often for my liking, but since Gray isn’t very good that might have been at least partially by design. Ben did well.
Serge Aurier: One of Serge’s better performances recently, so it’s a shame that he picked up a knock and will now miss some time. We could’ve used his pace vs. Barcelona.
Christian Eriksen: Eriksen came on as a substitute while up 2-0 and the match well in hand, but he didn’t switch off for one second and let Leicester get a toe-hold in the match. Nothing outstanding, but just more solid play in midfield.
3 Stars: Blackpink, “Whistle”
Okay before you guys fight me for this one, I love Blackpink and their music. Like, I’ve literally been a fan of their members since before their debut and trust me when I say “Whistle” is probably one of the best debut songs from a girl group ever if we’re being honest. However, my only complaint with this song was the music video and even then it’s a small complaint. Anyways give this song a listen and let your ears fall in love okay?
Hugo Lloris: Didn’t make a save until the second half and was never seriously tested. Distribution was fine. Didn’t have much else to do, honestly.
Lucas Moura: Not as impactful as he was against Southampton, but still was progressive and bright with the ball. Got the “Modric assist” to Son for Alli’s goal.
Harry Kane: When you have the option of bringing on Harry Kane as a human victory cigar, you’re having a good match. Didn’t do anything especially noteworthy besides play people in, but he didn’t have to.
2.5 Stars: BigBang, “Fantastic Baby’
Bet you didn’t think a BigBang song would be this low on the list huh? Okay so before you guys break out the pitchforks again hear me out...I loved Fantastic Baby when it first came out in 2012. It was one of my most played songs that year and I was so hyped to see what BigBang would come up with next... and then they didn’t. They just kept performing this song at the awards show for the next three years. It literally was four years in between the time their “Alive” album came out and their “Made” album was released. I literally went through all four years of high school in that time span!
Harry Winks: I like Winksy. I always have. But l can’t pretend he’s been good lately, because he hasn’t been. His passing has been decent, but it’s been mostly lateral or backwards, confirming that he hasn’t been the conduit between the defense and the attack like he should be. Defensively on Saturday he was a mess, chasing players and looking a step behind everything that was going on. There’s a good player in there, but I haven’t seen him in a while now.
2 Stars: BTS, “Fake Love”
I’m going to get a lot of hate for this but I didn’t like Fake Love...at all. Coming from someone who’s been a BTS fan since she was fifteen years old (I’m twenty now), I really vibe with the direction BTS took with this song. As per usual for any BTS video, the music video’s visuals are impeccable but the song leaves a lot to be desired. Another international hit for BTS, it’s arguably one of their more forgettable tracks but hey that’s just my opinion.
I don’t have any players in this category, but I just couldn’t leave Ray’s description out of the article.
1 Star: Exo, “Wolf”
Oh, Exo how I love you but even I have to admit this is one of their worst songs. Ironically this is also the song that got them their first music show win in 2013 and propelled them to the heights of fame they currently occupy now. With a chorus like “Yes, wolf, I’m a wolf, awoo (I love you) I’m a wolf and you’re a beauty” I don’t even have to say much about this song. Please don’t even get me started on the music video or the horrendous outfits they had to wear either (카이 난 널 사랑해 하지만 그 땋은 머리들은 촌장님이 아니었어 ㅎㅎㅎ T_T)
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Exo’s “Wolf.”
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating