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Solo k-artists have a special place in my heart. Knowing how the industry works, I can only imagine how lonely that kind of career path could be. Jay Moon's voice is so beautiful. The track is acoustic and soothing, matching his voice perfectly. The video is a soft aesthetic, colored and edited to make you feel nostalgic. It's really a great listen.
- Sungkyu—"Don’t Move" (video above)
Normally I wouldn't put something like this on my list, but I felt like it needed to be done. Infinite's Sungkyu said goodbye to fans for two years as he enlisted in his mandatory time in the Korean Army. This is a bittersweet video released this week just for that, something for Inspirits to have before he left. As a long-time fan of Infinite, it was a beautiful way to say "I'll be back."
- Yoona x Lee Sangsoon—"To You"
The video for this song is definitely more of the art to match the motion and tell the story of the song. Yoona's soft, high voice is gentle and almost like a lullaby. She's able to convey everything the song is about, the video is about, with her lovely voice, even if there is a language barrier between the listener and Korean.
This would be a great track to add to a mellow summer playlist. The video is so well done; it's probably one of my favorite this week. It's such an emotional and sad song, and the way the video displays what is going on between the couple with the lyrics is really lovely. The instrumental is incredible as well. I'm a sucker for a great accompanying band and bluesy guitar rifts.
This duo is so talented. They work well together, their vocal styles matching well. The piano in the music speaks to the soul. This is a fun song. There isn't much to the video beyond them groovin' and singin' and havin' a great time. It's a refreshing song. If you love a rich, deeper-voiced female vocalist, you might just enjoy this track.
- Z A K U Z I—Squall
I'm in love with this song. I may just be 30,000 of the 34,000 views the video had six days later. It has a lovely EDM flavor mixed in with popular trends in pop music. It makes it better that ZAKUZI has such a beautiful, unique voice.
Let's stop and take a moment to talk about K-Indie artist. I'm so glad it's making it's way to the mainstream. This song is so beautiful. I was blown away when I heard it. The video is simple, but all of it is so emotional and incredible. You won't be disappointed, at al.
- Red Dot—What’s Your Name
Another shout out to K-Indie. I really think the style of video would appeal to a wider, k-pop fueled audience. The music, however, is definitely not for the k-pop fueled listener. I grew up listening to American alternative and rock music, so this was right up my alley. This appealed to my ruminating teenage lurking inside and made me so happy. The beat is amazing. Your foot will be tapping immediately.
You're getting a sense of how I collect my lists, aren't you? Another K-Indie artist! I really gravitated to the video because the actress reminds me of a friend that passed away almost a year ago. But I stayed for the music and the synth undertones of the instrumental. The chorus will give you chills. The video is tastefully done. Everything is so wonderfully emotional.
The cute, light vocal styles and the music gave me a romantic Michael Buble vibe. The video is lovely as well. It's a romantic, happy song about celebrating love.
- Honorable mentions for May 14th (because there were so many great songs released):
Something about K-Pop rappers that I love is that they try new things beyond the scope of "just hip-hop." There is a pop and big band vibe with this song that makes it even more fun to listen to Kanto's voice. The choreography definitely adds another layer of fun with it. I had to listen to the song a couple times before I was feeling it, but when it hit me—it hit me that this is a great summer jam.
A voice of an angel, but perhaps I'm biased because all k-solo artist needs a lot of love. I am in love with this video too. It's edited so well and the story in it is just lovely. The images match the music so well. It gave me chills the first time I watched.
A jam from a talented group that needs a lot more attention in the K-Pop world. The video matches the song that was released early this year. It's another title track from the album. It's so catchy. Add it to an upbeat summer playlist and you won't be disappointed. The talent, the color of the video, the whole thing. Cross Gene is such a lovely find for me a while back. I'll cave soon and join the fandom; I'm willing to bet on it.
I have been waiting patiently for this album. N.Flying, one of the most amazing bands (with instruments, not "boy band") that broke into the K-Pop industry, said that this album would be different and would show the way they've grown as people and artists. But I was not expecting something this different and poppy and fresh. N.Flying still does not have a lot of love they deserve, but I think that is all about to change. The vocals and the music will definitely help them stand out and shine.
This talented rapper debuted last week and has yet another single and video to drop this week. He's so young with so much talent. He's getting a chance to let his lyrics and voice shine. I hope he continues to have success with his dreams
- EYEDI—Luv Highway
This beautiful vocalist was on a show called Mixnine, similar to trainee survival shows like Produce 101, and released a song much different than what she's done in the past. Let me tell you, it's working. I love when a singer gives us a chance to really hear what their voices are capable of. I didn't know Eyedi until after Mixnine, but this definitely showcases her lovely talent well.
The 90s hip-hop vibe is infectious. The video is great, as well. I've watched quite a few times. You won't disappointed. You'll laugh a bit but also enjoy a great, short, cinematic experience, accompanied by a great song.
- TREI—Nike (나이&키)
I put the Korean name for the song to show the way that it's stylized. The title is a play on words. "Nai" & "Ki" sounds like Nike, but translates to "age and height." So they're saying that they don't care about age and height in this hip-hop dance track. The video shows the trio showing off their dance skills; there is nothing much to the video in terms of plot but it's still fun to watch. The song is wonderful and catchy.
The video is nostalgic of old computer and game style, as well as the visuals of pop art of the late 80s and into the 90s. The song is funky and smooth. The brass instruments with the synth is incredible and satisfying.
- BTS—Fake Love
I wrote a separate article about this album because it was probably one of the most anticipated albums in Korean music thus far this year. Check it out HERE.
- UNI.T—No More
Something I love more than solo artists in Korean music is girl groups. I especially love the sensual and sexy concepts because I love the confidence and the fashion. And the level of difficulty that goes into the choreography of some sexy girl group dances?! UNI.T is a debut project group consisting nine wining contestants from "The Unit," another musical survival show. It has a lot of familiar faces in it for me from other girl groups. I am in love with this song. It has a reggae beat and these ladies' voices are so sultry and beautiful. The fashion is on point. I hope they do well because I know they deserve it.
Another lovely acoustic track to come out this week from an angel-voiced beauty. The emotion in the song and the video are impeccable. Dalda's voice is so pure and soothing. You don't need the lyrics to hear what she's conveying.
This song gave me a major John Mayer vibe and I was feeling it. It's the kind of song you'd hear at a really classy bar with a band playing soothing, slow music for everyone to clap to at the end while they enjoy their expensive scotches and wines. It's an easy song to get lost in.
A beautiful video and a great song. There is a lot of talent in this artist. I enjoy videos that allow people to understand an artist and their process of working, living a little more. It's such a great, mellow hip-hop track. Honestly, K-Hip-hop is so wonderfully different than what people think of when they think of the genre.
I hope you enjoy this week's selection of music. As always, I know there is a lot more that I'm missing out on. Until next Sunday, keep listening!