For many reasons, the year 2020 wasn’t exactly what any of us expected, global superstars Monsta X and their fans Monbebe included. But while MMXX didn’t bring us everything we hoped for, the boys did their best to make this year unforgettable for all the right reasons. And that they did. The group somehow managed to cram two Korean comebacks, a full English album, multiple OSTs, Japanese releases, and an online concert into the space of just 12 months. And believe us when we say that’s just scratching the surface of what they’ve achieved in this time. So join us as we revisit some of the ways Monsta X made 2020 their year!
All About Luv
Monsta X made our Valentine’s Day by releasing the first all-English album by a Korean artist in more than a decade. All About Luv gifted us with all of the members’ gorgeous vocals on each of the ten tracks and two alternate versions. Following the pre-release of several singles, in April, the group shared the MV for ‘You Can’t Hold My Heart.’ The album also featured some massive international collaborations, including ‘Who Do You Love?’ feat. French Montana (as well as a groovy remix by will.i.am that we don’t talk about enough) and ‘Beside U’ feat. Pitbull. And it wasn’t just Monbebes who appreciated this masterpiece; TIME noted the smooth R&B vibes on their Albums That Defined K-Pop’s Monumental Year In 2020. The record also debuted at No.5 on the Billboard 200, the group’s impressive first entry on the chart, and surpassed 100M streams on Spotify in just five months.
Models Left Jobless
When we say Monsta X featured in every magazine in South Korea this year, we mean it. Starting with Kihyun back in May, the members each graced the pages of DAZED with their god-tier visuals and signature charisma. Each appearance was accompanied by a personal interview that revealed their worldview. In October, leader Shownu became the first Korean muse for Moschino and modeled their Toy 2 perfume in 1st Look magazine. Another brand collaboration giving us life was Hyungwon repping Burt’s Bees in his photoshoot with @star1. Several of the members also served us looks in MAPS, Singles, and Harper’s BAZAAR, with rappers Joohoney and I.M taking on Vogue and Shownu and Kihyun teaming up for W Korea. Unbelievably, this isn’t even all the magazine shoots the boys took part in this year, but if we added anymore, we’d never get to the rest of the list.
Rockin’ Up MTV
It’s no secret there are Monbebes everywhere, and it turns out MTV is no exception. The world-renowned network invited Monsta X to perform for their Unplugged At Home series, which encouraged people to stay in their houses during the lockdown. Joohoney showcased his velvety voice with a rendition of ‘Beside U,’ and Kihyun proved his main-vocal status with an acoustic version of ‘You Can’t Hold My Heart.’ Carrying that hype into the summer, Monsta X dominated the Top Requested Artist on the Friday Livestream, making it three weeks at the top and consistently ranking as one of the most requested artists. If this wasn’t proof enough of MTV’s love for the group, they were also nominated for a VMA in the Best K-Pop category for the second year running. ‘Smoky’ from Joohoney’s mixtape PSYCHE was also one of The Best K-Pop B-Sides Of 2020 by MTV News.
Monsta X finally got the screen time they deserve in 2020 with a list of television and web shows so long we couldn’t fit them all in. In October, Shownu became one of the judges on the music survival show Capteen. He also appeared on Hidden Singer 6, where he got to meet (and impersonate) his idol, Rain. Both Joohoney and Minhyuk appeared as contestants on the ever-popular King of Masked Singer, where they slayed with their unique vocals and unconcealable talent. The boys also starred in a mini-series with partner brand TwoTuckGom, where they went glamping, stepped into the world of retro fashion, and took care of a baby for a day. They even shared a trip in the web series Monsta X on Vacation, where they enjoyed a much-needed break from their hectic schedule. Some honorable mentions include FaceID, FanFia Game, and the extremely wholesome K-Bob Star.
“Fantastic that’s me ’cause I slay, top of the top my level is A.” That’s how Joohoney flawlessly describes Monsta X in the title track from the group’s eighth mini-album, Fantasia X. And dripping in black, gold, and confidence for their ‘Fantasia’ music video, we have no choice but to agree. And we weren’t the only ones, as Fantasia X immediately reached No. 2 on the Gaon Weekly Albums Chart. It went on to be certified Platinum with over 250,000 copies sold; their fastest release to hit that milestone at the time. ‘Fantasia’ also saw success both in Korea and overseas for its catchy rhythm and ultra-high-energy choreography. The members even treated us to an impromptu part-switch version when they won first place on The Show. As a final celebration of this iconic era, DAZED named the song one of their 40 Best K-Pop Songs of 2020.
Live From Seoul With Luv
To promote All About Luv, the group announced a world tour scheduled to kick off in May with stops in Seoul and North America. But then 2020 happened, and it got canceled before it even began. Luckily, Monsta X never let their fans go hungry. They teamed up with streaming platform LiveXLive to bring us Monsta X Live In Seoul With Luv, a groundbreaking online concert. During the show, they performed a mixture of their English and Korean songs, held chatting segments, and played cute VCRs to complete the experience. Although nothing beats the atmosphere of a real concert, attending a virtual concert had some advantages. For the first time, Monbebes from around the globe could experience the excitement of a Monsta X concert together… Even if some of them had to wait up until 4 am. Now that’s true love!
It wouldn’t be fall without Monsta X, and luckily, not even 2020 could stop these kings! November saw their second Korean comeback of the year with studio album Fatal Love that made even the strongest competition anxious. The album climbed to the top of Gaon’s weekly and Hanteo’s monthly charts, recording the group’s highest first-week sales to date with over 160,000 copies sold. This success translated into two music show wins on The Show and Show Champion for single ‘Love Killa.’ But the appreciation for this addictive track didn’t stop there as it was featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday, and the album debuted at No. 9 on their Global Albums Chart. It even landed inside the Top 10 of the US iTunes Chart. We may be biased, but perhaps one of their greatest achievements with this release was making it onto The Honey POP’s Top 50 Albums of 2020!
Despite being unable to perform in front of real crowds this year, Monsta X showcased their untamable talent for virtual audiences at multiple “on:tact” concerts. With a name combining “online” and “no contact” these shows have been a popular way for K-pop artists to connect with their fans during the pandemic. The boys kicked off their digital stages at the TikTok Stage Live From Seoul as part of the platform’s #smilewithTikTok project. A definite highlight was their participation at KCON:TACT 2020, thanks to their performance of ‘Stand Up’ featuring special messages from their Monbebes. Next, they lit up the stage at VLive’s EVERY ON concert, followed by the SBS Super Concert and then Live In DMZ, a drive-in festival to promote peace in the Korean peninsula. The members themselves picked the KBS Open Concert as a memorable moment as they got to share the stage with veteran singer Insooni.
Wish On The Same Sky
Not content with killing it in two languages, the band made their return to the Japanese market in March with the beautiful ballad ‘Wish On The Same Sky’. This change of pace proved popular as the single ranked No. 1 overall on Japan’s Tower Records chart for the first half of 2020. They went on to drop their 8th single album in the country featuring Japanese versions of their hits ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Love Killa’. And that wasn’t the only major chart success they saw this year as tracks ‘From Zero’ and ‘Neol Hada’ debuted on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales Chart at #1 and #5, respectively. This achievement came months after their initial release as fans sent a message of support to Wonho, who wrote them. In celebration of his return to the group following a hiatus, Joohoney’s ‘Red Carpet’ also became his first solo entry on the chart.
Monsta X may be known for their leather outfits and fierce stage presence but, in reality, these boys have hearts of gold. During the first wave of Covid-19 in March, they donated 100 million won (approximately $90,000) to the Good Neighbors charity and joined the organization’s Neighbors Club alongside their fans Monbebe. The group was later appointed honorary ambassadors for the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference. Chosen for being good role models to a younger generation, this follows on from their work with the #TOGETHERBAND for the goal of peace, justice, and strong institutions. They also used their voice for good at the TIME 100 Talks by advocating the Black Lives Matter movement and encouraging medical professionals worldwide. In recognition of their impact, Monsta X was made representatives for the Visit Cultural Heritage Campaign which aims to promote Korea’s traditional culture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. True king behavior.
A Whole Lotta Talent
If we had a dollar for every project Monsta X have put out in 2020, we would be very rich. Before the group’s most recent comeback, Joohoney dropped his highly anticipated mixtape PSYCHE with seven fiery tracks. Monbebes had already been treated to a live preview of ‘DIA’, as well as pre-releases of ‘INTRO (AMBITION)’ and emotional rock-based anthem ‘SMOKY’. But the perfection of this self-composed mixtape really has to be experienced firsthand. Joohoney didn’t stop there, putting out a stunning YouTube cover of ‘You May Live In Happiness’ and a collaboration with Lovelyz’s Kei. We were also blessed with incredible covers of Imagine Dragons’ ‘Believer’ and ‘Natural’ from Kihyun that led to him being noticed on Twitter by the band themselves! As if that wasn’t enough, Monsta X released no less than five OSTs for Korean dramas and webtoons, not even including their collaborations with TwoTuckGom.
Every member of Monsta X has been working hard since their debut, but this year Minhyuk has been going the extra mile to promote his group. It hasn’t been easy to provide so much content and still be the vitamin giving Monbebes energy on a daily basis. So he deserves a special shoutout for everything he’s done in 2020. Minhyuk continued his role as an MC for the Korean music show Inkigayo, bringing sunshine to our Sundays. This year he also got his own show on Naver NOW, VogueShipShow, where he explored his creativity with his guests. He even became a host of Back to the Idol alongside Super Junior’s Eunhyuk and filled in as a guest host of Weekly Idol with bandmate Kihyun. If that didn’t keep him busy enough, he also found the time to share his angelic vocals on FanCafe. Thank you, Minhyuk!
End of Year Award Shows
There’s no better way to round-off a year packed with achievements than extravagant year-end awards shows! Monsta X started the celebrations with a Global Top Ten popularity award (US) from Ten Asia. Next were the Bonsangs (competitive awards), which they received in the categories of This Year’s Artist at The Fact Music Awards, and Top 10 Main Prize at the APAN Music Awards. At the Asia Model Awards, they were commended as “the best dance group in Korea” and awarded the Asia Star Award (Singer). This title was cemented with trophies from the Melon Music Awards and MAMA for Best Performance and Best Stage, respectively. Finally, the group made history by winning their first-ever Daesang (main award) at the Asia Artist Awards for Stage of the Year. Despite long deserving the accolade, the members remained humble as ever, crediting their fans for the win in both Korean and English.
So, in the words of Monsta X: Saranghanda Monbebe!
It’s a known fact that Monsta X doesn’t sleep (we don’t call them vampires for no reason), which is the only explanation for how they put out more content than we could keep up with this year! So we already know we’ve missed some brilliant moments. You can let us know your favorite Monsta X memory of 2020 in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!
2020 is over, but you still can’t get enough Monsta X? We’ve gotchu!
Featured Image Source: Mnet Asian Music Awards