We are in the second half of 2023 and the comebacks have not slowed down at all! Summer is in full swing, so there’s new music and tours every time you look up. I tried to gather a list of some of my favorite releases from June through now. Even with this post, I still feel like I left some people out, but the ones listed below have been on replay since my first listen.
EXO Makes Long-Awaited Comeback!
This has been a fun comeback to watch, even though I haven’t been very vocal about it on social media or anything. EXO has been one of my favorite K-Pop groups for a while now, so to see them older and most of them done with their military responsibilities has been nice. Before I got into my favorite songs, EXO is one of those groups whose vocal talent is undeniable, and this album continues to prove that. Also, they’re music is heavily R&B based, which could be because of all the talented black songwriters and producers that SM Entertainment recruits, but that’s a convo for another post.
Some of my favorites from this album are: “Hear Me Out”, “Cinderella”, “No Makeup”, and “Let Me In”. I feel like I chose those songs because I found myself vibing and singing along quickly to them, because of that catchy Pop/ R&B rhythm. The entire album is amazing, though, and their vocals impress me every time. Every song flows well into each other, making it a solid project from start to finish.
iKON’s Jay Drops Two-Part Project Before Enlistment
Since this was a two-parter, I wanted to wait until both were out before I talked about it, and I am glad I did. Jay has always had more of an R&B vibe, so I wasn’t surprised that was the sound for this EP. My favorite song right now has got to be “Blue Moon”. And I really love the song “Wait for You” because his vocals always shine on beautiful ballads like this.
Also, Jay announced that he will be leaving to fulfill his mandatory military enlistment this month. I’m glad he was able to do so much with the guys and release his solo music before leaving the fans for a while. I guess they’ll still tour as “planned” once he enlists, since they are supposed to tour the US in the Fall. I guess we’ll see, but proud and excited for them all the same.
VAV is Back with Subconscious EP!
VAV is in my top favorite K-Pop groups. We missed them so much, and even though they went through so much, they were able to make their return to music. This EP reminds me of their other music and why we love them so much. The lead single “Designer” was an instant favorite; super catchy, fun, and sexy (of course 😊).
This EP is full of more Pop/ Dance songs like “Call You Mine” and “By My Side”, but I always love their slower tracks, like “Reason”. I adore the chorus so much, and absolutely love their softer vocals on this one, as well. They also re-released their song “Cause I Miss You”. This EP is short and sweet, and I can’t wait to see what else they have for us (tour, maybe? 😊)
SB19 Returns with Their PAGTATAG! EP Ahead of First World Tour!
This group has become one of my favorite groups in a short amount of time. So, of course, I was so happy to hear about this new album. Now, of course the lead single “Gento” was an instant hit and viral on TikTok because of the catchy lyrics and fun choreography. But I fell completely in love with the sexier, slow jam that is “I Want You”.
They are a solid Pop/ R&B group at their core, and you can hear it clearly on this album. “ILAW” is another favorite, a ballad, and just a very beautiful song. I feel like no one talks about how talented they are vocally. The rest of the EP truly is incredible and left me wanting more, because I love listening to their voices, getting away from K-Pop for a bit.
The Return of SHINee
I know that this was a very emotional comeback for a lot of their fans. When it comes to SHINee I am more of a casual fan but have loved their music since I found them for myself. Older generation groups have a special place in my heart. And being that this is one of the few full albums, it took me a few listens.
Right away, the lead single “Hard” reminded me of one of my favorite songs “Don’t Call Me” from their last album, with its catchy lyrics and choreography. Another catchy and addicting track is “Juice”, that has a similar Hip Hop/ Dance vibe. Some of my other favorite songs from this album are: “Satellite” (seriously one of my top picks), “Identity”, “Sweet Misery”, and “Insomnia”. The more I listen to it, the harder it is to choose favorites, though, but it’s a solid album, without a doubt.
Han Seung Woo is Back with Solo EP
Right away, I fell in love with the lead single “Dive Into” with it’s sexy Pop/ R&B feel, and the video to match. I also love “Flutter” because it has that similar R&B sound, which I love hearing his vocals on. The rest of the EP has more of a Pop/ Rock feel, which kind of surprised me, after that last song. I love them all, but my other favorites are “Runnin High” and “Burn” because he just fits the Pop/Rock persona very well.
Victon is another group that went through a lot, but it was refreshing to see Seungwoo back from his enlistment and releasing music. It still makes me sad how Victon was overlooked a lot, as talented as all the members were. And now the group isn’t full like it once was, with members leaving to pursue other things. I will always support their decisions, especially if it was the best for them mentally and career-wise.
Mixed Feelings from Fans for this ATEEZ Comeback
Most K-Pop fans have heard the lead single “Bouncy”, as it has been all over social media, and its ones of those that can get stuck in your head after one listen. I love it, though, and have been enjoying seeing them perform it. The songs on this EP still seem pretty on brand for them, but more on the “just having fun” side, and less powerful than the others. Other than the lead single, I really like “Django” even though I still question that song title.
I didn’t want to make this negative, but I was very surprised at some of the reactions from fans. K-fans continue to hardly support them, and other fans aren’t as in love with this new music. Keep in mind how booked they have been; and it feels like they’ve been on tour since last year. They’re young and doing what they need to do, and the music isn’t always going to be everyone’s favorite.
BTS’ Jungkook Makes Solo Debut!
Of course, as some of you may know, Jungkook and this song are all over every single media outlet possible. There is a lot of discord around it, both good and bad, but I am going to stick to my opinion of the song and music video. It took me a couple of listens to get into it, but I do like it. Latto isn’t someone I enjoy listening to on a regular basis, but I am not mad at her feature on this song.
The song has a Pop/ R&B feel to it and is fully in English. Plus, there is a clean and explicit version, which was a surprise, a pleasant one though. Maybe some fans will finally look at him as the adult that he is. And the music video was very chaotic but fun, and very charming.
Alamat Releases Fun New Single for the Summer!
Alamat’s new track “Day and Night” gives me all the summer vibes and the music video have a beach, mermaid theme, so it fits perfectly. It’s such a cute, fun, Pop/ Dance track. They’ve been doing so well recently, and I can’t wait to see and hear more from them. Ya’ll should keep an eye out for all of the P-Pop artists and groups coming out, they are really amazing.