With the long-awaited release of K-pop girl group Apink’s comeback, the mini album “ONE & SIX” on July 2, let’s take a look at six other, equally beloved South Korean favourites that have returned this year.
‘The Story of Light’– SHINee
The pop act’s 10th anniversary trilogy comeback release shows how the four remaining members of the band are soldiering on while trying to overcome their grief after the death of their fellow member, Kim Jonghyun, last year.
Filled with its signature electronic R&B dance-pop tracks, the album was released in three parts – on May 28, June 11 and June 25.
One of the highlights among the high-energy tracks is the single Our Page, included in the last of the three releases.
The mid-tempo song sends out the message that “we will fill the pages of this story until the very end” – hinting that the band will go on with both Jonghyun and light in their hearts.
The album topped Gaon’s Album Chart and peaked at No 2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart.
‘SQUARE UP’ – BLACKPINK
The earworm lead single DDU-DU DDU-DU, from the girl group’s June 15 extended-play release, “SQUARE UP”, marked the quartet’s next big move on the chessboard of fame.
BLACKPINK, formed in 2016, made history on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart in June when the track reached No 55 – to become the highest-charting K-pop girl group ever – eclipsing Wonder Girls’ Nobody, which peaked at No 76 almost a decade ago.
The group, known for its hip-hop and “K-trap” style pop songs, released three other energetic staccato tracks on the EP.
“Bingle Bangle’ – AOA
The girl band’s funky, upbeat comeback EP album was released in May.
Though it is the group’s first release since the departure of lead vocalist, Choa Park, the record is not a letdown.
With group member Jimin Shin writing lyrics to the songs, the sweet title track, Bingle Bangle offers a catchy, whistling melody. The other tunes – featuring disco and smooth retro R&B – also sound playful and fresh, making the album a lively offering that is perfect for summer bopping.
‘Love Yourself: Tear’ from BTS
One of this year’s comeback tracks you shouldn’t miss is Fake Love, the stand-out lead single on May’s album release “ Love Yourself: Tear” by the boy band Bangtan Boys – more widely known as BTS – which made it big at home and abroad.
The dark, melancholy neo-soul track helped the album not only top Gaon’s Album Chart but also – more significantly – the Billboard 200 chart, making it the first K-pop album to ever reach No 1 on the US chart.
The concept album – a follow-up to the septet’s romantic and upbeat mini album, “Love Yourself: Her”, released last year – focuses on love’s sorrows, and includes 11 synthesiser tracks that shift from traditional R&B to pop ballads.
‘What Is Love?’ from TWICE
The sweet girl group's fifth EP, released in April, is filled with the usual bubbly pop tunes, including the bright title track, What Is Love?
The nine members of the band got together on the 2015 South Korean reality television show, Sixteen.
The eye-catching music video of the song tells the story of the girls’ journey in finding love, with scenes mimicking those from romantic films, such as La La Land and Romeo and Juliet.
A go-to track if you want something cute to lift up your spirits, the song peaked at No 2 on Gaon’s Album Chart and No 3 on Billboard’s World Albums chart.
New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love from TVXQ
Yes, at last, the much-anticipated comeback of K-pop veterans TVXQ – which stands for the “Rising Gods of the East”.
After spending a few years doing national service in South Korea’s army, the duo – U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin – returned with a smooth, R&B and pop album, “New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love”, released in March, featuring 11 tracks.
The album was a hit, locally and worldwide – topping Gaon’s Album Chart and peaking at No 10 on Billboard’s World Albums chart.
The boy band – which formed in 2003 with five members – has made the Guinness World Records book twice: firstly in 2008, for having the largest official fan club at the time, with 800,000 members; then again in 2009, as the world’s most-photographed group, after being snapped an estimated 500 million times!