With the heat of August came a fierce battle for the K-pop soundtrack of summer 2021. Many artists released bright, vibrant dance tracks with that seasonal feel. Here are the must-listen K-pop releases of August, including some welcome returns and comebacks. Somi Dumb Dumb ( August 2) Sometimes you just want to dance around your bedroom to a bright, peppy dance track, and that’s what soloist Somi served up with her third single, Dumb Dumb. Leaning into the “ high-teen ” trend taking South Korea by storm this season, Dumb Dumb, inspired by teen romcoms, features a deep house chorus fuelled by a whistle sound and exuberant vocals. Golden Child Ra Pa Pam (August 2) Is there anything better than dynamic moombahton-fuelled dance music for the hottest days of summer? Golden Child doesn’t think so, and their take on the genre, from their latest album Game Changer, aims to change things for the band as they continue to carve out their space in K-pop. The Boyz Thrill Ride (August 9) When the weather is kind, there’s nothing more fun than going to an amusement park with friends during the summer months, and The Boyz lean into that on their roller coaster of a single, Thrill Ride, which evokes the highs and lows of the most thrilling of rides with its slightly chaotic production full of fun sound effects that propel the members’ delivery of singsong raps and chanting choruses. Ten Paint Me Naked (August 10) WayV, SuperM and NCT member Ten has steadily been making a name for himself over the years for his creative side, showing himself to be a pop auteur through music and other creative projects such as his art and design releases. Paint Me Naked, which preceded his fun and festive Low Low with fellow WayV member YangYang, reveals another new, bright side. Red Velvet Queendom EP (August 16) The long-awaited return of the girl group, whose last album dropped in late 2019 (a lifetime ago in K-pop), fits neatly into their discography as another example of the quintet’s stalwart vocals and almost camp pop and alt R&B flair. Tomorrow X Together LO$ER=LO♡ER (August 17) TXT have been leaning heavily into emo and alt pop lately, and their latest single, LO$ER=LO♡ER, does so as well, asking questions about money , life, love, and the future. Lucy – Irrelevant Answer (August 20) This pop-rock crew have really carved out a space for themselves in the South Korean music scene in recent years thanks to their evocative take on bright pop, and on Irrelevant Answer, Lucy perform with their usual flair and exuberance. Stray Kids Noeasy LP (August 23) This boy band has been praised and disdained for their “noisy” music, so they set out to turn the stereotype on its head, releasing this Thunderous album to share their own perspective on things. CL – Spicy (August 24) The baddest female’s been teasing her upcoming first album for years, ever since her 2NE1 days, and this Spicy release is another prequel of what’s to come, this time fiercely putting her identity as an Asian woman front and centre. Check out the music video for the full experience, plus a surprise appearance from Hollywood actor – and long-time CL fan – John Malkovich. Jay B Somo:Fume EP (August 26) This month has seen a lot of returns, and the Got7 leader Jay B’s one of them with the release of his first EP. After the group left long-term label JYP earlier this year, they remain together but separate under different management companies, where each is able to pick his own path as a soloist. Somo:Fume is an intimate intro to this new era of Jay B as an artist. BTS with Megan Thee Stallion Butter remix (August 27) BTS ’ song of the summer meets the Hot Girl Summer queen on this new remix of the band’s record-making Butter, which features new verses and ad-libs from Megan Thee Stallion that add her unique flair to the hit. BTOB 4U : Outside EP (August 30) Though they’re down a few members for the moment, BTOB are always stellar with both their dance tracks and their ballads, and the four-member 4U: Outside sticks to this as a six-track release full of pep and emotions that celebrate being an Outsider. Key with Taeyeon Hate That (August 30) Shinee ’s Key pairs up with bestie Taeyeon, a popular soloist and Girls’ Generation member, on the atmospheric Hate That. Sonically, it’s a sequel to the style of mid-tempo, introspective pop blending with electronica and R&B that was the focus of his 2018 album Face, and continues his artistic exploration ahead of an upcoming album, set to arrive before the end of the year.