There’s nothing better than wrapping up the month of September with killer new music from talented K-Pop artists. Last week, we were blessed with spectacular comebacks and unexpected new music from some of South Korea’s rising and prominent artists. These are the top music EPs, singles and albums you need to listen to:
1. Twice — ‘Feel Special’
After showing a more bold and mature side in their last release, Twice made fans feel special with their long-awaited eighth EP, ‘Feel Special’.
The title track, ‘Feel Special’ was penned and co-composed by JYP founder and singer-songwriter Park Jin-young. It comes with a comforting and encouraging message for those feeling down and going through hardships, drawing inspiration from the versatile girl group’s prominent four-year career as K-Pop idols.
It’s the group’s first release since Japanese member Mina, who has been involved in the EP but will not be promoting with the group, publicly revealed that she has been suffering from anxiety disorder. It also comes after bandmate Jihyo was reported to be dating K-Pop artist Kang Daniel.
Despite this, the musicians managed to fly high with the support of their massive fan base and were able to overcome their own hardships.
In addition to the lead track, the newest EP contains five other tracks ‘Rainbow’, ‘Get Loud’, ‘Trick It’, ‘Love Foolish’, ‘Breakthrough’ as well as a fan-dedicated song ‘21:29’ written by the members.
Twice continued their winning streak not only in Korea and globally but also in the UAE. The EP was clearly a hit in the country as it dominated the local iTunes Top Albums chart and the title track took the second place on the songs chart.
2. AKMU — ‘Sailing’
Four months after frontman Lee Chan-hyuk was discharged from the South Korean Marine Corps, brother-sister duo AKMU came back with a more mature sound in third studio album ‘Sailing’.
Fronted by soulful, poignant lead track, ‘How Can I Love the Heartbreak, You’re The One I Love’, the 10-track album diverges away from the young pair’s bubbly and bright sound but rather explores a more grown up side. It delves into topics that aren’t discussed in the music industry such as freedom and the environment, and incorporates a variety of genres, all while still using their distinct AKMU sound.
It predominately focuses on Chan-hyuk’s story as songs like ‘Whale’, ‘Moon’, ‘Chantey’, and ‘Fish in the Water’ as well as the title track relate to the ships and the ocean, reflecting the singer-songwriter’s experience during his military enlistment.
Local fans have taken a liking to their musical approach as songs like ‘Endless Dream, Good Night’ and ‘Moon’ were in the Top 20 of the UAE iTunes Top Songs chart. The lead song sailed to the top of all seven major real-time charts in Korea when released.
3. Lizzo — ‘Truth Hurts’ ft AB6IX
It was unquestionably the most surprising and unexpected collaboration this year. K-Pop rookie group AB6IX joined forces with Lizzo on a remix version of her chart-topping song, ‘Truth Hurts’.
Both artists didn’t give any hints of the upcoming collaboration to fans. However, they publicly announced it a few hours before it was released last Tuesday.
The all-male act throw in a few Korean verses, singing about how they’re on a career rise and embracing their fame, despite negative comments surrounding them.
The song is the latest in a slew of collaborations between K-Pop artists and Western musicians. It is the song’s third rework, following remixes by rapper DaBaby and America DJ CID.
The K-Pop quintet’s first full album ‘6IXENSE’ is scheduled to drop on October 7.
4. Jackson Wang — ‘Bullet To the Heart’
Prior to releasing his upcoming new album, GOT7’s Jackson Wang dropped an emotional track declaring being blindsided by a lover with his distinct raspy vocal style.
This is seen in his dramatic music video, which has three million views to date, is equally fraught with emotions as a woman veiled in haunting black attire is seen controlling the struggling Chinese singer.
However, the English-language minimalistic pop tune song may have a deeper meaning about working through hardships and overcoming the difficulties.
Set to be featured in his debut solo album, ‘Mirrors’, the song received support from fans in the UAE as it climbed to No 2 on the local iTunes Top Songs chart.
The popular 25-year-old K-Pop star has been juggling between the Korean and Chinese music scenes as a GOT7 member and as a soloist. He has been actively releasing solo music as part of his own Team Wang label he heads in China.
5. J-Hope — ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ ft. Becky G
BTS’ J-Hope collaborated with American singer Becky G on trilingual song, ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’, that pays homage to the original 2006 hit by Webstar and Young B feat AG aka The Voice of Harlem and its accompanying iconic choreography.
Along with Becky G’s self-written Spanish lyrics, the BTS member added his own unique colours and delivered his story about his dreams and dance in Korean. He was also involved the overall dance-fuelled music video production and album production.
A track inspired by both artists who both fell for the song during their early childhood days, J-Hope’s rendition of the old school, hip hop song instantly dominated the iTunes Top Songs in 69 countries, including the UAE.
In addition to becoming top trending topics on Twitter globally, the music video was soon trending number one on YouTube in the UAE, a testament to the member’s local and international fame.
6. Jessica Jung — ‘Call Me Before You Sleep’ ft Giriboy
Jessica Jung, former member of prominent group Girls’ Generation, released a new single, ‘Call Me Before You Sleep’ and a music video last Thursday.
The surprising guest artist featured in the new song was none other than South Korean rapper Giriboy. Produced by AOMG producer Cha Cha Malone and IconicSounds, the sweet love song is about wanting to talk all night and came with a music video showing the pair singing in the studio.
The new collaboration song is the Korean-American artist and entrepreneur’s first Korean release this year since December’s ‘One More Christmas’. A Japanese-language version of the single will drop on October 9.