Whether you’re a serious fan or a curious newcomer, discover a monthly roundup of new releases from South Korea. From K-Pop to hip hop and everything in between, gorge yourself on all that’s new.
When mega-girl group Twice and mega-boy group BTS announced they’d be making comebacks in mid-February, only the brave and foolish decided not to move their releases given the risk of being flattened on the charts. Twice, with their gorgeous visuals for “Knock Knock”, stuck to their tried-and-tested formula of hooky, pattering lyrical rhythms – understandable for a young act, but given they’ve smashed so many other girl groups out the park since releasing their debut, they definitely could have experimented slightly without risking the grip on their fandom.
Elsewhere, Girls’ Generation’ Taeyeon continued her slew of solo releases but, in an error of style over substance, made a purple, ruffled dress look so incredible that she forget to put an interesting song to go with it. Multinational boy group Cross Gene came up against the same problem – they released a juicy, blood-soaked, skull-crunching MV (music video) for “Black or White”, yet even after multiple viewings, there’s little chance you could hum the song’s chorus.
As any long-term K-Pop fan will attest to, East-meets-West rarely goes well (anyone who heard JYJ and Kanye West’s “Ayy Girl” is probably still going through group therapy), but the tide had to turn at some point, and you should thank Gallant, Tablo, and Eric Nam for breaking the collaboration curse with “Cave Me In”. It’s a silky hybrid of R&B, pop, and hip hop that feels completely effortless. Still in hip hop, Cheetah (the feisty rapper who won the survival show Unpretty Rapstar in 2015, with fluctuating success since), released “Blurred Lines”, blending jazz, simple beats, and old school scratching beneath one of her stronger vocal performances, let down only by a distractingly insipid piano refrain.
The month’s most divisive track had to be Red Velvet’s “Rookie”. If you played it to someone who’s never listened to Korean pop, it’d either put them off for life or drag them kicking and screaming into the K-hole. It recently scored its eighth win on Korea’s music shows, proving yet again that cute-to-the-point-of-nausea is unfathomably popular.( Collapse )What do you think, Omona? Any other songs you'd like to add to this list? B.I.G's song got me hyped for Eurovision tbh
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