8 Ridiculously Aesthetic New Releases from South Korea
From Jooheon’s luxurious hip-hop to Taehyun Nam’s show of shifting light and Baekhyun x Loco’s critique of monotony, here are a few tracks we’re currently obsessed with
“Star” by Taehyun Nam
Rock band South Club’s frontman gets emotional on his latest track “Star” as he ponders the vast emptiness of the night, tackles the struggles of loneliness but still remains optimistic for a better tomorrow. Nam takes a break from the blues rock he’s known for and chooses to experiment instead with dreamy synth-pop reminiscent of Troye Sivan–with immense success. The video is simple and mournful with alternating shots of Nam illuminated with beams of light or plunged in darkness.
“Siren” by Sunmi
Everyone’s favorite killer queen returns with yet-another endearingly psychotic banger. Preceded by “Gashina” and “Heroine” respectively, “Siren” completes Sunmi’s trilogy that outlines the journey of her getting dumped and the subsequent process of getting over it. While the Eighties bass-fueled chorus falls short of the retro splendor of its predecessors, Sunmi’s honey-sweet voice on the “Lalalalala” section is instantly catchy. “Siren” warns Sunmi’s ex to stay away as she–quite literally–celebrates finding herself.
“Red Carpet” by Jooheon
Monsta X rapper and songwriter Jooheon shows off his versatile flow and production skills on his second mixtape DWTD, which dropped on August 31st. While all five tracks brim with confident verses and tight production, the lead single “Red Carpet” stands out as most unique with it’s lush Latin jazz (courtesy celebrated producer BOYCOLD) and Jooheon’s (rare) wavy, harmonized vocals on the chorus. The video for “Red Carpet” showcases an elegant, seductive side of the rapper in contrast to his usual ‘bad boy’ image in most of Monsta X’s music videos.
“Young” by Baekhyun x Loco
EXO vocalist Baekhyun and rapper Loco touch upon something a little more sinister than they’re used to in terms of imagery, subject matter and sound with SM Entertainment’s [STATION X O] track “Young.” The unlikely duo bring their voices together to criticize the societal pressure put on youth to join the repetitive daily grind of academic/corporate success: “Going on a path someone decided for you is no fun/A special wrong answer shines more/From now on, find the path that you want/Go go go go/(We are so young.)” The video is intricate, colorful and eerie, portraying various young people trapped in a loop of monotonous tasks.
“Lil’ Touch” by Girls Generation-Oh!GG
Legendary K-pop act Girls Generation’s new sub-unit Oh!GG show us what they’re made of as they debut with a femme fatale vibe on “Lil’ Touch.” The track takes a more mature route than the bubblegum pop GG built their foundation on, opting instead for clap-infused Latin pop (currently all the rage in the Korean music industry) and darker, sultry visuals. The members are elegant and confident in all-black outfits as they brandish guns and luxuriate among tropical sets. Watch out for leader Taeyeon’s vocals, especially outstanding in the first pre-chorus build up.
“403” by Drug Restaurant
Alt-rock/post-punk band Drug Restaurant recently made their long-awaited comeback with the deliciously desolate “403” and we couldn’t be more enraptured. With lyrics that seek to pull listeners from depression and a distinctly AM-era Arctic Monkeys-esque heavy-bass instrumental, “403” cements itself as one of the band’s best singles yet. Frontman Jung Joon Young is a vision in the music video, alone and bathed in multi-colored spotlights as he languishes amid flowers and fruit. Jung’s baritone drawl is, however, what makes this track truly unforgettable.
“Countless” by SHINee
Veteran group SHINee made an unexpected comeback yesterday with a bright new single “Countless” from their sixth studio album The Story of Light. The track outlines the countless reasons to stand by someone you love and remember what it feels like to have them stand by you when you needed them: “You held my hand whenever my heart pounded/You turned on the radio whenever my legs trembled/And we danced without even counting the beats/Maybe I forgot about those things.” Despite its layers of emotion and the loss of main vocalist Jonghyun an ever-present thought, “Countless” remains bright thanks to its tropical house beats and vivid visuals. Each frame is crisp and screenshot-worthy and every set carefully built to suit each member.
“April Fools (0401)” by Jimin Park
The 15& R&B singer made a powerful comeback last week with “April Fools (0401),” the lead single off her second EP jiminxjamie. Jimin Park’s vocals are breathy and mournful as she admonishes her lover for breaking her heart, and complimented by haunting, trap-infused R&B. The video is equal parts quirky and creepy as Park murders her ex before posing and taking selfies with his corpse in a reenactment of their relationship.