June is coming to a close, and South Korea is still looking for a few good songs of summer. Luckily, female K-pop stars are saving the day.
To perk things up, many of the industry’s most popular female acts — plus a few newer ones — dropped new music in the final days of the month just in time for summer to kick off in earnest. Check out a few below.
Apink – “Five”
One of the most popular female groups in Korea even as many established female acts are crumbling, Apink returned for the summer with the breezy synth-pop track “Five” to show off their girlish charms. Emphasizing the member’s vocals with melodic surges, the single’s chorus features a earworm of a hook in the form of “one-two-three-four-five.”
Blackpink – “As If It’s Your Last”
Barely a year old, Blackpink are proving formidable. The girl group dropped their first single of the year last week, and promptly began charting. The breezy banger brought the group to No. 15 on the Social 50 chart. Their fans also helped the song’s music video become the fastest K-pop video to see over 10 million views, in just 17 hours, surpassing BTS’ record from earlier this year when “Not Today” achieved the milestone around 21 hours after its release.
BoA – “Camo”
The veritable queen who launched K-pop’s popularity throughout much of Asia, BoA returned with her new single on June 26. Her first true single since 2015’s “Kiss My Lips” and “Who Are You?” combo, though she’s had a few other releases including this year’s “Spring Rain,” “Camo” wastes no time delivering up a dance track to reintroduce one of Korea’s most legendary performers. With a static bass beat providing much of the song’s sound, BoA’s vocals shape the melody before a synth-driven chorus surges and acts as a venue for her charismatic dance performance.
Heize – “Don’t Know You”
If you don’t know Heize, you’re probably not alone, considering that the singer-songwriter-rapper was relatively under the radar until she surged to popularity in 2016. Like many of her other tracks, “Don’t Know You” is a groovy alt pop track, that blends melodic vocals with a pounding hip hop-laced rhythm. It’s a little bit indie, but currently the No. 1 song on many Korean music charts.
Lee Hyori – “Seoul” feat. Killagramz
Like BoA, Lee Hyori is of iconic status in Korea, where she grew to fame as a member of ’90s girl group Fin.K.L before pursuing an extremely successful solo career as a singer and television personality. A hazy pre-release track ahead of her upcoming album, “Seoul” is a mellow tune that attempts to capture the sound of South Korea’s capital through sleepy synths, a whistling bridge, and some soft rock elements; Lee’s breathy vocals bring it all together.
Mamamoo – “Yes I Am”
Like all Mamamoo songs, the group’s latest single is focused on the member’s powerful vocals, and it doesn’t disappoint with a seemingly haphazard song production. Just as the quartet sings about being confident in their uniqueness,, “Yes I Am” revels in an atypical song format as it shifts between different tones and melodies. At points, the singles goes from full on ’80s-inspired electropop before popping in with a R&B bridge and chanty rap breakdown, with the group’s cheeky delivery bringing it all together.
Several other female acts, including 9Muses, whose Muses Diary Pt. 2 Identity EP is currently No. 15 on the World Albums chart, and Stellar, who crowdsourced their “Angel of the Sephiroth” single and received over $94,000 in funding.