10 K-Pop Releases to Watch This Month
From Seventeen’s rock-infused glow-up to Block B’s hip-hop spin on Argentine tango, here are 10 K-pop releases you can’t miss
Block B’s “Shall We Dance”
There is always a touch of eccentricity wherever Block B is concerned and their latest single “Shall We Dance” is no exception. Composed by the group’s leader Zico, the track fuses elements of Latin music with house and adds funk-fueled bass to deliver a sassy blend of hip-hop and Argentine tango.
EXID bring back their signature neon-soaked seduction on “DDD.” Rapper LE (who co-wrote the track) absolutely shines in this, her low drawl blending with the thrumming bass to boost “DDD” into edgier territory. While the chorus does fall a little flat with (now-overused) disco-synth in the beginning, it’s quickly rescued by the switch to the slow-tempo chant of “DDD” between verses.
It’s hard to believe “Fantasy” is JBJ’s first single. Thanks to its powerful production, dark trap instrumentals and soaring harmonies, “Fantasy” is easily one of the best debuts of the year. Rapper Hyunbin’s incredibly deep voice at the end of each chorus is shiver-inducing while the piercing wail of an electric guitar solo towards the final verse is a pleasant surprise.
While most of the song stays true to Twice’s stereotypical bubblegum-pop sound, the second half of “Likey” makes a surprising shift towards electro pop, allowing the group’s rappers to stand out and add a little attitude. “Likey” is Twice’s third single this year which pairs high-pitched tones with a repetitive hook, so it would be fantastic to see them switch things up in the future with something a little more aggressive.
Seventeen continue their coming-of-age journey with this energetic lead single off their sophomore studio album Teen, Age. The 13-member group proved itself a force to be reckoned with this year by upping all audio-visual production and abandoning their schoolboy image to explore darker themes. 2017 saw the group take on jazz, ballads, funk and trap so the rock-infused “Clap” rounds things off perfectly.
Monsta X’s “Dramarama”
Monsta X surprised fans with the strains of funk on “Dramarama,” but perhaps the most powerful aspect of the track are the impeccable harmonies at the start and chorus. There is also a fascinating oscillation between dance number and ballad as the instrumentation switches between groovy guitar riffs and down-tempo synth. Rappers Jooheon and I.M also bring back a touch of Monsta X’s aggressive hip-hop with their fierce verses.
GOT7’s “Moon U”
“Moon U” is possibly one of GOT7’s most intricate ballads yet. Full of soft harmonies and complex ad-libs, the R&B track is romantic and mellow but manages to add edge with a touch of slow trap. Vocalist Youngjae especially stands out with his seemingly effortless high notes. The clip is part of the group’s newly-launched live video series GOT the Stage.
While Jeon Soyeon taking on a mix of trip-hop and house on her debut track was a little unexpected, it’s exactly what makes “Jelly” fun. The former Unpretty Rapstar and Produce 101 contestant provides a bright introduction to her artistry and the funky “up on the jelly” chorus is tremendously catchy.
Super Junior’s “Black Suit”
Funk seems to be the flavor of the season in K-pop and it’s possible no one’s done it better than veteran idols Super Junior. The group dabble with a mix of swing and dance pop in “Black Suit,” their first comeback in two years, and pull it off with ease. There is playfulness courtesy of the brass instruments and drama via multiple harmonies and synth build-ups.
Taemin is perhaps one of the most experimental and versatile artists in K-pop, diving into several unexplored territories each time he makes a comeback. “Move” features a haunting blend of gritty Eighties-esque synth, pulsating bass drops and echoing backtrack while Taemin’s seductive vocals glide over it all.
Check out more of our favorite 2017 K-pop releases here