The world is burning and there is no hope left, so here is a list of notable K-pop releases we are excited about this month.
While 2020 is leaving literally no stone unturned when it comes to disappointing and dooming us — I write, while scouring through episodes of The Simpsons to see when they predicted Kanye West’s presidency — we still have the merciful, bountiful blessing of debuts and comebacks in K-pop. Yes, Don’t Bore Us is doing that now.
Wait, what is a “comeback”? For the uninitiated, a “comeback” refers to the time a K-pop group releases new music. While Western artists often put several years between albums, it’s common for K-pop groups to release two, sometimes three, albums in a single year, including repackages (special editions of albums with new tracks).
That was lesson one. I thought June 2020 gave us the most sizzling line-up of comebacks for a year, but July is coming to give it some serious competition. So, without further ado, here are seven K-pop releases we are excited for in the seventh month of the year.
Red Velvet IRENE & SEULGI
After six years as one of K-pop’s leading girl groups, Red Velvet is all set to debut its first eponymous sub-unit featuring leader Irene and dancer Seulgi later today, July 6th.
While thematically, the title track ‘Monster’ signals a continuation in the same direction as the group’s delicious last release, ‘Psycho’, there’s a definite sonic shift here with bass and dubstep worked in.
The teasers have been giving us major twins from The Shining vibes, so really, we’re all ready to be slaughtered by DarkVelvet.
Since last year’s ‘Gotta Go’, Chungha’s trajectory has been on an upward climb, giving us delightful shoulder moves and cementing her femme-fatale status. Now, she’s coming back to give us ‘PLAY’, today, July 6th.
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Here’s why you should already be queuing up to watch it: ‘PLAY’ seems to take her out of the sensual darkness of her previous releases for more shimmery-summer vibes. Knowing Chungha, however, there is bound to be a catch there.
Speaking of shoulder moves, it’s hard to not include one of K-pop most promising rookie groups: ITZY. After the success of their second mini-album IT’z ME’, released in March (remember what I said about multiple releases?) their agency JYP Entertainment confirmed that the quintet was preparing for a comeback in late July.
Knowing ITZY, it’s going to be a fiery, fast-paced anthem about being yourself and not giving a damn about what others think, with knife-sharp choreography that spawns another viral moment. Can’t. Wait.
(G)-IDLE’s last release “took us to the stars” and had us reaching for holy water (note to leader Soyeon: if she wanted to step on me, I would not say no) with the way the members looked falling from grace so elegant.
Now, they’re following it up with ‘I’m The Trend’, releasing Tuesday, July 7th. Seems apt, given (G)-IDLE’s status as some of K-pop’s most versatile new groups, effortlessly flitting between booming confidence and heady heartbreaks on their releases. We’re ready (not) for what you’ll throw our way, girls.
After a strong debut with their Treasure series, which included four EPs and two albums, ATEEZ are finally starting a new chapter with ZERO: FEVER Part 1, due later in July.
Between an international tour that came only months after their debut, universal praise for their powerful choreography, and a definitive musical direction courtesy of exceptional control over their production process, ATEEZ have redefined the term ‘rookie’ in K-pop. They may be new, but their vision has the wisdom of veterans.
Speaking of veterans, one of K-pop’s most chaotic duos is back on Monday, July 13th with their first full-length album, 1 BILLION VIEWS. I say chaotic because who else would get drunk and play their entire unreleased album on an Instagram live? EXO’s Sehun and Chanyeol, that’s who.
The album teasers prelude a kitschy retro-futuristic extravaganza, featuring dinosaurs and what looks like their own version of K-9. Aside from the fact that you are definitely losing internet privileges, can’t wait, boys.
Okay, so this might count as cheating, but it’s BTS. After they broke a zillion records (it’s a pattern with them, really) with Map Of The Soul: 7, the septet is releasing a Japanese version with new tracks on Wednesday, July 15th, titled Map Of The Soul: 7 The Journey.
Both Map Of The Soul: 7 The Journey and its predecessor are a tribute to BTS’ extraordinary career, with all their crests and troughs. In just seven years, they’ve become the global face of K-pop, going from struggling rookies to repping the genre not just on international charts but also at the UN General Assembly.
Word of advice: please have tissues at hand.
Which one are you most excited about?