Springing into new music

Spring proves to be a popular time period for new K-pop releases.

Andrea Lindner and Sena Ross

It’s comeback season! As more snow melts in Saint Paul, Korea’s K-pop scene is blooming like the first day of spring. In Korea, idols and musicians put in a lot of effort into the end of the year music awards and shows. Imagine the American Music Awards or the Grammys, but with almost all Korean musicians (there are “Favorite Foreign Artist” categories as well, this year won by Ed Sheeran). The biggest ones are the Mnet Asian Music Awards, Melon Music Awards, KBS Song Festival, and others. Because most artists use November and December for preparation and January and February for break, March and April become the hottest times for new releases, or what is called “comebacks.” These are some of our top comebacks and debuts of this month.

    • One of the most promising acts to debut in 2020, STAYC has quickly built up a following of loyal fans after their hits “ASAP” and “Stereotype.” Their newest mini album (known in the states as an EP), “Young-Luv.com” is proving to be just as popular. The lead single “Run2U” has already earned seven first place Korean music show wins (weekly programs where artists perform and compete to top the chart). Full of ear worms that you’ll be singing all day, “Young-luv.com” boasts strong vocals from the six piece group, in particular the songs “Young Luv” and “Butterfly.” Based on the popularity they continue to gain, STAYC shows no signs of slowing down.
  • Red velvet- sena
    • Seven months after their last comeback “Queendom,” Red Velvet released another sophisticated mini album “The ReVe Festival 2022” with the title track “Feel My Rhythm” on March 21.  Red Velvet’s group concept of fairy tale imagery with a bit of creepiness has come through clearer than ever with the song and the music video. The song starts with a sampling sound from “Air On The G String” by Bach and the lyrics of the girls getting ready for a ball night. Even their CD packaging, which is a very important part of KPOP marketing, has a music box version of each member dressed up as ballerinas. Their style is so unique, and we can only hope that this will not be their last comeback from their company, SM entertainment. 
  • (G)I-dle
    • Following their last release in January 2021, (G)I-dle released their first full length album, “I Never Die,” on March 14, featuring the title track “Tomboy.” After the departure of member Seo Soojin in 2021, frontwoman and leader of the group, Jeon Soyeon, noted that she wrote this album as if it was their first. Full of feminists anthems, punk styling and addictive choreography, “I Never Die” feels like a return to form for the five member group while also being a reinvention of their image. Album standouts include the soft and melodic “Already” and the bouncy “Liar.”
  • Stray Kids
    • Eight member boy group Stray Kids made their comeback on March 18 with their mini album “Oddinary” and lead single “Maniac.” With a whopping 1.3 million pre-orders and over 100k first week sales in the United States, the group is projected to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200—a feat only reached by three other Korean acts. Known for writing, composing and producing all of their material (which is somewhat of a rarity in the kpop scene), the group has fully embraced their title of ‘noisy’ on this album. From the crawling EDM beat on “Venom,” to the high energy flutes on “Charmer,” there is no shortage of experimental sounds not often found in K-pop. The louder sounds are balanced out by softer moments like the pop punk inspired power ballad “Lonely St.” and the sweet “Waiting For Us,” proving themselves to be a versatile act in terms of their musical catalog and skill sets.
  • Nmixx
    • If you’re even slightly interested in K-pop and have been on K-pop internet, you might have heard about the hot debut of JYP entertainment’s new girl group, NMIXX. JYP entertainment is considered one of the top three management companies in South Korea, founded by producer J. Y. Park. The reason why NMIXX’s first song became the top of conversation on K-pop internet was because of how polar opposite people reacted to it. Their debut song “O.O” is under a genre called mixed pop which contains two or more types of song mashed together. The mix in “O.O” is rather drastic and noticeable, which made fans and listeners have mixed feelings about it. At first, I too was confused and didn’t really know how to feel about their whole debut. However, the more I listened to it, the more the seven members’ amazing singing and dancing talents surprised me, and made me like the song more and more. It is a new genre of music and a bit of a shock, but I would definitely stick around to see what NMIXX has to offer for us.