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Twice released their summery EP Taste of Love with with breezy upbeat single Alcohol-Free.

K-pop must-listen releases in June 2021: Twice, Exo, NCT, Seventeen, Mamamoo, Brave Girls, 2PM and more

  • June was a good month for K-pop, with summery releases from some of its biggest groups
  • From Mamamoo’s reflective ‘Where We Are Now’ to NCT Dream’s forward-looking ‘Hello Future’, here are the best of the bunch
Tamar Hermanin United States

The world of K-pop was filled with releases from some of the biggest names in the industry in June 2021. With many prominent groups releasing long-awaited albums, and others releasing addictive, refreshing singles, here’s what you need to check out from last month.

Mamamoo Where We Are Now (June 2)

Mamamoo reflect on their career with their WAW EP and the evocative power ballad Where Are we Now. The song arrived shortly before the news on June 11 that member Wheein would part ways with their management company, but remain part of the quartet, making the song’s introspective lyrics about looking back on the past and questioning the present state of things all the more poignant.

NCT 127 Save (June 4)

A collaboration with hip-hop indie label Amoeba Culture, this electro-pop number from NCT 127 is a rare one-off single from the group, who typically releases multiple albums in a year. With its propulsive sound and sci-fi music video, Save arrived as a brief, vibrant taste of upcoming new releases from the boy band.

Exo Don’t Fight the Feeling EP (June 7)

It’s been a while, but Exo are back, and they’re telling everyone Don’t Fight the Feeling on their latest album. Although there are only five tracks and a few of the band’s members are missing due to military service, the EP epitomises Exo’s musicality with its new groovy pop-meets-R&B songs to put on repeat.

Twice Taste of Love EP (June 11)

The 10th Korean EP from this popular girl group, Twice’s Taste of Love begins with breezy upbeat single Alcohol-Free and follows with an offering of lush, upbeat summery tunes to blast while (pandemic-allowing) chilling by a pool with a cool drink.

And though it’s a Japanese single out on June 30, check out the music video for the act’s Perfect World, which blends showtune and K-pop performance styles.

Onewe Rain to Be (June 16)

Although there are only a handful of K-pop rockers out there, the must-know idol band of the moment is Onewe, whose Rain to Be is emotional as it is dynamic. Released through a music video that features the band earnestly performing while being overwhelmed by water, there’s a drowning sense of sorrow and desire felt through its impactful vocals and energetic melody.

Brave Girls Chi Mat Ba Ram (June 17)

With one of the best comeback stories K-pop has seen in a long time, Brave Girls have dominated 2021 after being on the verge of breaking up. Now they’re Summer Queens with their new EP, and the breezy, exuberant electro-pop styling of single Chi Mat Ba Ram, which translates to “Skirt’s Breeze”.

Seventeen Your Choice EP (June 18)

This 13-member boy band hit the sweet spot with their latest album, the culmination of their career with music that’s all at once fun, mature and flawless. Fronted by the ebullient Ready to Love, Your Choice is like a perfect menu, putting together everything from glitchy hip-hop to pop-rock for an all-around enjoyable listening experience.

Loona [&] EP (June 28)

Since the early days of their career, Loona and its members have received a lot of love online, and returned at the end of the month with their fourth EP, [&]. The group continues exploring their “Loonaverse” through the album and promotional content, and forcefully show the world their worth in the rambunctious single Paint the Town.

2PM Must LP (June 28)

The last time 2PM missed a single was 2016, but even though they’ve had a five-year hiatus, the group’s return and new album don’t disappoint. The groovy, brassy single Make It showcases the group’s style, and the album’s tracks reflect their assured, charismatic boy band musicality.

NCT Dream Hello Future (June 28)

The seven members of NCT Dream started their career as young teenagers, and have grown up in the spotlight. Now adults, they recently had one of the bestselling K-pop albums of all time, and following up this year’s earlier single Hot Sauce with the spirited, sunny and aspirational forward-looking Hello Future felt very apropos.