2PM returns with its first new album in five years.
SINGAPORE – Over the past month, K-pop has hosted the return of beloved second-generation boy group 2PM as well as two solo debuts from the members of Got7, while girl groups and other artists like the Japanese singer Nissy have released summer-friendly pieces just in time for bikini season.
The Straits Times highlights 10 titles to discover, available on streaming platforms such as YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.
2 p.m. “í´ì¼ í´” M / V
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/-6aVQrzja9U?feature=oembed
Second-generation K-pop boy group 2PM returns with their first album in five years and their seasoned status shows.
The flagship track Make It has a jazzy and groovy vibe and a seductive bridge. The choreography also captures that old-fashioned K-pop vibe – a movement in which the members roll up their sleeves at the same time is particularly appealing.
Another lead to catch is The Cafe. Stepping away from the sexier vibe of Make It, it’s a relaxing and refreshing listen that showcases each member’s vocal qualities nicely.
Point of view: U
ì ê²¸ (YUGYEOM) – ‘I Want U Around (Feat. DeVita)’ Official Music Video [ENG/CHN]
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/MSAN-2CNMVo?feature=oembed
Members of South Korean boy band Got7 have embarked on a solo career since their contract with longtime label JYP ended earlier this year.
Signing with hip-hop label AOMG, Yugyeom now has his solo album, which features the angsty All Your Fault, with rapper Gray, and the dark and romantic opening song I Want U Around, with the hip-hop soloist. DeVita.
Her airy, almost soft voice serves her well here and provides an interesting contrast to the nuances of anger found in her music.
(BamBam) MV ‘riBBon’
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/-0xLZpERmoI?feature=oembed
Got7’s Thai member BamBam also has a new EP, Ribbon. The title track starts off strong with an upbeat and catchy chorus, although it unfortunately gets repetitive halfway through. The music video, however, is drenched in dreamy pastels and is fun to watch.
Taste of love
TWICE “Alcohol free” M / V
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/XA2YEHn-A8Q?feature=oembed
K-pop girl group Twice returns with a new EP that leads with the track Alcohol-Free – a summer bop with hints of bossa nova in its tune.
While it does have its enjoyable moments, there are other stronger avenues to explore. Scandal’s addicting riff makes it the catchiest song of this comeback, while Baby Blue Love is also a summery track, but with a more disco vibe.
[MV] ì´ë¬ ì ìë (LOONA) “PTT (Paint the city)”
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/_EEo-iE5u_A?feature=oembed
In K-pop girl group Loona’s new EP, the title track PTT (Paint The Town) is a real highlight. It opens up aggressively from the get-go, using instruments like Indian drums and the flute to infuse the song with infectious energy.
A bridge that comes in later also keeps things interesting – giving the members a chance to showcase their high notes – and develops the song into something approaching an anthem towards the end.
(Brave Girls) – ì¹ë§ ë°ë (Chi Mat Ba Ram) MV
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/e70PkoJhQYM?feature=oembed
After their 2017 track Rollin ‘went viral earlier this year and became a huge dormant hit, Brave Girls is not resting on its laurels. Their new EP declares their intention to be the queens of summer and is chock full of pool party-worthy tracks.
Chi Mat Ba Ram is a shamelessly upbeat dance piece well done. Although it follows the familiar rhythms of a K-pop dance song, its high energy is cheerful enough to counter its predictability.
ç±³ æ´¥ ç å¸« – æ»ç¥ Kenshi Yonezu – Shinigami
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/8nxaZ69ElEc?feature=oembed
Popular J-pop singer-songwriter Kenshi Yonezu’s new release features just three songs. The title track Pale Blue, which served as the theme song for Japanese wedding drama Rikokatsu (2021), is a throwback to romance for Yonezu, whose distinctive voice and utterance shine.
But the most interesting work on the mini-album is Shinigami, which translates to Grim Reaper. The track is inspired by a famous rakugo story about a man who is prevented from killing himself by the Grim Reaper. Rakugo is an ancient form of Japanese comic storytelling.
The song alternates between the perspectives of the man and the grim reaper, taking turns to say the famous lines they speak in the story. Yonezu even performs the song using the traditional outfit and movements of a rakugo master in the clip.
Nissy (è¥¿ å³¶ é å¼) / ãDo Doã Music Video
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/WnqVD4qhS0Q?start=122&feature=oembed
The lead singer of Japanese AAA pop group Takahiro Nishijima, who uses Nissy’s name as a soloist, has a fluid and confident new dance floor. Its funky retro vibe and Nissy’s constant use of its falsetto create a memorable song, which will instantly make you feel like you’re indulging in a beach club.
ã ã£ ã¨ ç å¤ ä¸ ã§ ã ã ã® ã«ã ãã ã ã¤ ã å ¨å¡ å çª ä¼ã MV (ZUTOMAYO – Joke inside)
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZUwaudw8ht0?feature=oembed
The mysterious J-pop group Zutomayo has never revealed the full roster of its members. This fast-paced new song builds a storyline over long chunks of lyrics, examining the isolation of modern life and how society can pass judgment with a light touch.
In what seems like an unorthodox way of structuring a track, the rhythm of the song grows up and eventually comes to a half-whispered rap towards the end, creating something surprising and musically exciting for the listener.
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/nMtgUEJUyJY?feature=oembed
Yama, a Japanese soloist who has become famous in recent years, channels deep emotion in her new single Sleepless Night. The melancholy track, which paints a picture of the night sky through the seasons, is enhanced by her strong singing voice, which has a particularly alluring and subtle rasp when she hits the lowest notes.