It’s been a week worth waiting for when it comes to k-pop releases. Long awaited debuts and comebacks and a conclusion to a trilogy a year in the making have given us a plethora of new music to dive into. We’ve collected them all right here so that you don’t miss a single one. Let’s jump straight in!
Loona – Hi High
After revealing twelve members, three sub-units and two years worth of music, Loona finally made their official debut on the 20th with “Hi High”. And boy was it hard to miss! With so many different styles and genres tested during their pre-debut phase, it was hard to pinpoint exactly what route Blockberry Creative would take for Loona’s first showing as a twelve member group. Pre-release “FavOriTe” appeared to be heading in the girl crush concept direction. “Hi High” takes a lighter approach. Elements from Loona ⅓, Odd Eye Circle and YYXY can all be heard in the songs instrumental, bringing together the styles of each unit just as the girls themselves come together. It throws all this together with a relentless energy and high pitched melody that lives up to the song’s title. Loona has burst onto the scene with a strong debut having had an even stronger lead-up. As in the last scene of the music video, they can only keep going higher from here!
UP10TION – So Beautiful
With the release of their 2018 Special Photo Edition album, Up10tion bring the uplifting dance track “So Beautiful”. The MV shows the members visiting various spots in San Francisco whilst also participating in the photoshoots for the albums photobook. It’s the perfect song for the late days of summer, laid-back yet energetic. If the beat doesn’t get you jamming along at first listen, you won’t be able to resist it after a few repeats. Since their debut in 2015, UP10TION have had a string of quality releases. They’re really starting to build their own sound and a fanbase to prove it.
Kim Sungkyu – Sorry
Leader of Infinite, Sungkyu, unveiled a live performance video for “Sorry” this week, taken from his live album for solo concert Shine. Given that Sungkyu is currently serving in the Korean army as part of his mandatory enlistment, it’s a nice gift for the Inspirit’s that will have to wait a while before they see Infinite together once again. The song itself packs an emotional punch too, a power ballad of sorts to which his vocals are suited perfectly. More importantly, the video serves to highlight the bond between Sungkyu and his fans. The intro shows a montage of moments from the concert and will no doubt be a reminder of what fans will be waiting for once Sungkyu’s enlistment ends. If you want a song full of bittersweet hope, this is the perfect track for you to listen to.
Norazo – Cider
In complete contrast, Norazo’s “Cider” burst onto the scene with their signature exhilarating pace and wacky music videos. It’s hard to deny just how catchy this song is and we guarantee it’ll be stuck in your head after one listen! The music video continues the theme that the shocking teaser images started. The duo uses the concept of summer adverts for the images, with Zo Bin dressing as a woman to complete the typical loved-up couple playing on the beach. Their previous single Wild Horse had a similar no holds barred approach to both the music and visuals, so it’s good to see them continue with that on “Cider”. Check it out if you want something undeniably funny to lighten up your day.
SHA SHA – What the Heck
This six-member girl group debuted in February this year but underwent some changes in their lineup after three members left. With new girls ready to step, they’ve now come back with “What the Heck”. The song, sharing a composer with hits such as EXO’s Growl, is bubbly yet strong. There are some pretty assured vocals across the verses and chorus and a chant-like rap section. The sound is reminiscent of Twice and it suits them well as a group. Sadly, much of the achievements of their comeback have been overshadowed by events at their debut showcase. Member Wanlin collapsed on stage during a segment. There has been some controversy over the MC’s reaction after he picked her up despite not knowing what the problem was – a potentially dangerous act. Since then, their company Major Entertainment has released a statement, saying that Wanlin will be taking a hiatus from the group for her health, and citing “decreased blood flow to her brain” as the reason for her accident. This could mean any number of things, but the most important is that she has a speedy recovery with nothing seriously wrong.
10cm – Mattress
Meanwhile, on the same day, 10cm returned with a live performance video of Mattress. A stripped back song, Mattress focuses on 10cm’s vocals with some funky rhythm guitar and plucked refrains with minimal percussion. It’s a coffee shop kind of song, but one that can be enjoyed when listening with nothing else to divert your attention. It’s relaxed and easy to listen to, but that doesn’t take away from how well it’s performed. Take some time to chill while checking it out.
BTS – Idol
Last, but most certainly never the least… who else could it be! BTS released the finale of their Love Yourself trilogy at the end of this week, inciting mass euphoria for ARMY’s everywhere! The teasers for this comeback had set up some expectations as to what would eventually be revealed, and it’s safe to say that they took a 180 and surprised everyone. This worked to their advantage – there are still elements and imagery from the traditional themes the teaser presented in “Idol”, but they’re much more subtle in the music video. Though ‘subtle’ the music video as a whole it is not. It’s loud, colourful and unapologetic about it. The boys themselves look great as always, pulling off the choreography with ease and flare. There’s a lot of effects to take in here as well. It’s at times an overload, but it matches well enough with the song that it balances out in the end. Taking elements from the African pop trends seen a good few years ago, the song is an infectious chant, one that will no doubt be amazing when performed live alongside fan chants.
ARMY’s have once again proved their streaming power by making Idol the song with the highest view count in the first 24 hours of its release on YouTube. Not to mention it’s been sweeping the iTunes charts in various countries. These may just be the first of many records to come. If BTS have proved anything with Love Yourself it’s that they have the staying power to remain on top. And that’s a huge achievement in a music scene that moves as fast as k-pop does.
What were some of your favourite releases from this week? Let’s us know in the comments and tell us what future comebacks you’re looking forward to!