SINGAPORE – It’s been a good month for fans of boy groups as popular K- and J-pop groups such as BTS, Oneus and King & Prince have released new versions. Meanwhile, K-pop group Shinee’s Taemin is bidding temporary farewell with a solo album ahead of their compulsory military service.
Check out the releases on streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.
Following Dynamite’s success comes the second all-English single from K-pop juggernaut BTS, Butter. The funky track is immediately catchy, with the youngest member Jungkook sweetly singing the opening lyrics: “Smooth like butter / Like a criminal undercover.”
The band members look colorful and stylish in the clip, with V’s bright orange suit and Jungkook’s purple hair giving fans something to talk about.
Pop / Hip-hop
Boy group Shinee’s Taemin released a mini album ahead of their recent military enlistment. The title song is a moody dance song that begins with an introduction on the piano and matches Taemin’s course, which tends to gravitate towards a darker vibe in his solo music. Dancing has always been her strong suit and the sultry choreography of the Adviser music video is worth the detour.
Fans looking for something a little different can check out Light, which is less influenced by hip-hop and has a more groovy sound.
This remake of a song from the movie Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) is a bold comeback from girl group Aespa. The track is heavy with slower raps, but then it turns into R&B about three-quarters of the way. It might not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s definitely an interesting outing.
Insomnia in Seoul
10cm with Lee Su-hyun
South Korean singer-songwriter Kwon Jung-yeol, who goes by the stage name 10cm, has a new song, Sleepless In Seoul. It stars Lee Su-hyun, the singer of the musical duo Akmu. The soothing vocals of the singers complement each other nicely in this song largely driven by a dreamy electric guitar.
Six-member band Oneus’s EP Binary Code leads the way with Black Mirror, a bright and energetic song with disco influences and a catchy, whistling riff. With military-inspired costumes and trendy dance moves, his music video is inspired by King of Pop Michael Jackson.
The former frontman of K-pop boy group iKON quit his longtime band after a drug controversy, but has now rebounded as a solo artist. His album is a reflection of this journey and he plays to his strengths as a singer, songwriter and rapper.
The title track reflects his past troubles: “If I wash away all the shameful past / I pray heaven will be washed away.”
Chinese singer Yuqi of South Korean group (G) I-DLE released A Page, which includes two tracks in English: Giant and Bonnie & Clyde. The Bonnie & Clyde trance track, referencing the American criminal couple active in the 1930s, is the louder of the two as it highlights her low, slightly hoarse voice better.
King and prince
The Japanese boy band King & Prince comes from the same management agency as the mega-bands Arashi and Smap. Their music may not yet be available on streaming services, but it is available on YouTube. Their latest release, Beating Hearts, is decidedly funky, with an effusive chorus that has infectious energy.
Folk / Pop
Japanese band Ikimonogakari are known for songs such as Bluebird, which was an opening theme song for the popular anime Naruto: Shippuden (2007 to 2017). Kyoukara Kokokara – which stands for From Today, From Here – is a pop-rock folk song that talks about moving forward with optimism in a changing context. This is particularly striking after the recent announcement of guitarist Hotaka Yamashita’s departure from the group.
Pink Blood by J-pop queen Hikaru Utada is her first anime theme song for To Your Eternity (2021). The bittersweet trail reflects the importance of relying on oneself rather than others for happiness. She sings with emotion: “I won’t be afraid of losing the thing that filled the hole in my heart / Because I realized: the only one who can heal me is myself.”