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K-pop Highlights May 2022

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How was May for you: did you hear many great new K-pop songs? I’m back with May’s K-pop highlights; it was an exciting month! Lots of new songs came out, and some gems among them.

In May, I practised the dance choreography (the chorus) for “That That” by PSY (prod. and feat. SUGA of BTS), which was so fun. Also, I’ve been watching, when possible (the time zones 😊)  the musical “Midnight Sun” online, featuring Ha Sung Woon and many more. The musical will run until 26th June 2022, and I recommend it to anyone in love with musicals and K-pop!

In June, many exciting things are happening, for example, an awaited comeback, at least for me, by KARD on 22nd June 2022! I can’t wait for what kind of songs they’ll release, and I’m also so happy that they are coming back. I predicted/hoped in December 2021 to see mixed girl-boy-groups in 2022 in K-pop, and it’s happening for sure now 😊

So this is a list of my current favourites that I heard and liked and songs that were released in May 2022. Therefore, these are my subjective thoughts and opinions about the songs. I try to always think about the songwriting and music production in these posts, but try to write it in a way understandable to everyone, even if you don’t know musical terms etc. And also listen with “my heart”, what I like. A bunch of excellent songs didn’t make it to this list.

Often, I find new favourite songs released months ago that I love months later after the release in some cases. I will add those songs always to my Spotify list of this year’s favourites, and you can also check out my 2021 favourites β€“ I still add tracks there too. All the highlights of 2022 are on my Youtube channel too.

So let’s hop on to the May 2022 highlights, shall we! 😊

80’s retro sounds with good taste, iKON “BUT YOU” (EP, YG Entertainment)

iKON is back with a new EP, “Flashback”, and the title track is a song called “BUT YOU“. “BUT YOU” has retro synth sounds starting from the intro. Usually, at this point, I am going in my head, “not again, the eighties retro-ish sounds”! But for some reason, this song sounds perfect. The beautiful melody lifts this song from being another synth sound song that has been fashionable in pop music for a while. And the vocals are excellent, so this song is enjoyable to listen to and, therefore, one of May’s highlights.

This song was a step away from iKON’s signature sound, as their music genre has usually been hip hop. They have been around since 2015, when they debuted, and it is good to try different styles and vary them from time to time when you feel it is the right thing to do musically. The song is about a breakup, and the person is still in love with his ex. The person is not over their love, but at the same time tries to move on with his life. Check out the fabulous dance choreography for this song!

iKON has concerts in Seoul this month, 25th and 26th June 2022, which you can also watch online.

A Powerful Debut, TNX “Move” (EP, P NATION)

TNX made their debut in May, and TNX’s debut sounds good: “MOVE” is their title track from the debut EP called “WAY UP”. The group members were chosen through a survival show called “LOUD”, aired in 2021. Two boy groups were created in this show for JYP Entertainment and P NATION, which is PSY’s company. “MOVE” sounds very much like K-pop in 2022: loud, aggressive and a lot of hooks in the music production. The song is catchy and upbeat, with some immense energy. I like the song’s different parts, even though they differ significantly: “MOVE” still sounds balanced and has a cohesive idea.

TNX’s debut EP includes some hip hop beats, “WE ON” and “Your Favourite Melody”, funky pop and rock sounds, “180sec”, and trap beats “Burst Up”. I like the variation of the styles on this EP, and it has some fun songs for a new group’s debut. TNX has six members, and the group’s name initials are “the new six“. You can check out the challenging-looking dance choreography: some moves are pretty fast!

My favourite this month: from rock guitars to pop-punk to pop, WOODZ’s EP “Colorful Trauma” (EP, YUEHUA Entertainment Korea)

WOODZ’s EP “Colorful Trauma” is this month’s most listened-to new release; it’s so good! The music on the EP is pop and rock: every song is different, and a combination of varying rock styles are on this one EP. My most listened song from the EP has been “Dirt on my leather“, which starts the EP, and this is an English track. It’s an American-style rock song, with traditional rock guitars and a big sing-along chorus. I played this song to someone who doesn’t listen to K-pop, and they wouldn’t know it’s a K-pop artist. Of course, I always try to sneak K-pop songs into other people’s playlists! Especially if they say they don’t like K-pop, then I am absolutely sneaking in songs! 😊

Next is “HIJACK“, an electro-rock track with some excellent melodies. The EP’s single release track is “I hate you“, an upbeat pop-punk song with catchy melodies. It leans toward the 2000’s pop-punk sounds such as No Doubt, Green Day and Avril Lavigne. After this, the vibe changes and in the song “Better and better“, the sounds, the beat, production and melody are very Ed Sheeran-like. This song is an excellent contrast to the start of the album and is pure pop. The last song is a laid-back melodic pop song, “Hope to be like you“. 

I think this EP presents WOODZ’s talent as a singer, composer, and performer: he can vary styles and pull off even the song like “Dirt on my leather”. Which, for me, was a surprise when I listened “Colorful Trauma” for the first time. I love traditional rock sounds, but you rarely hear them these days in popular music and new songs. The melodies are timeless on this EP, in my opinion. WOODZ has been in boy groups called Uniq and X1, created from a TV reality show called “Produce X 101”.

Today’s big K-pop sounds, BVNDIT “VENOM” (EP, MNH Entertainment)

BVNDIT is back after two years with a new EP called “Re-Original”, and the title track from this release is “VENOM“. The girl group debuted in 2019 and has five members. “VENOM” was an exciting release for this month: the song’s production and parts are very on-trend for today’s K-pop, but it still sounds interesting with the energetic beat, the bridge with the guitar riff, and the powerful chorus. The song has an excellent balance overall being interesting from start to finish. 

“VENOM” is stylistically and production-vice different from their single release in their last EP in 2020 “Jungle“. The popular style of K-pop has changed in two years, which probably explains this. Most popular K-pop songs seem less melodic now and rely on sound hooks and sound effects a lot. I think BVNDIT manages to pull this style off well, and I find “VENOM” a catchy song to listen to. Check out the cool dance choreography. This looks especially good as a group dance. Also, a fact about the group: BVNDIT’s member, μŠΉμ€(Seungeun), participated in the Mnet’s television talent competition, Girls Planet 999, last year, 2021.

Beach party vibes, SEVENTEEN “HOT” (Album, PLEDIS Entertainment)

Here are some party vibes for your summer soundtrack. “HOT” is the second single released from the boy group, Seventeen’s new album “Face the Sun”. “HOT” has a hip hop beat and addictive sounds such as the beeping sound, groovy guitars and 808 bass. The song has melodic parts at the bridge and chorus. The beat is the essential character of this song and this song is a party song. The mood changes in the song with the contrast of calm and groovy song parts. And also, just the right amount of heavy effects in some parts of the vocals, like autotune (listened to this more and it doesn’t sound like a vocoder), make a big difference bringing interesting details.

This song seems to be about confidence when reading the lyrics and going forward in life, even though it seems complicated. And this is a way forward from last year’s latest album release, “Attacca”, and the hit single from that “Rock with you“, which is a traditional pop song. And also, the mini-album from last year, “Your Choice” and “Ready to Love“, are more conventional pop. But you still can hear the style hasn’t changed that much so “HOT” fits as a single for SEVENTEEN very well. SEVENTEEN has 13 members, and the group debuted in 2015.

Rockin’ it, TOMORROW X TOGETHER “Good Boy Gone Bad” (EP, Bighit Music)

TXT is back with a mini-album, “minisode 2: Thursday’s Child”, and rocking and addictive title track song called “Good Boy Gone Bad“. The group continues with their emo-rock sound with great melodies in this song, which I think is fantastic. The song starts as pop with hip-hop beats, and when the chorus kicks in, you can hear the rock and emo vibes in the prominent guitar riff and the vocals. Especially I love the “Whouoo, Whouoo” shouts and whispering fits very well to this song in the chorus. I feel that the song’s attitude is rock, but it’s pop. “Good Boy Gone Bad “has a hip-hop-style dance choreography.

So TXT continues with the rock/emo sound from the last year’s releases as “LO$ER=LOVER” and “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)”, which are mid-tempo pop-rock songs with some hip hop elements and sounds. Weverse Magazine has an interesting article about drawing the line from K-pop history to TXT. The five-member group debuted in 2019. 

Summing Up May

So there were the song highlights from May, and these songs are all quite upbeat. I’ve been listening to a lot of calming music lately – it depends on the mood always. But for some reason, the highlights were more upbeat this month. What did you choose for your May highlights?

My one big highlight for May was travelling to Frankfurt, Germany 14th to the 16th of May and attending the K-POP.FLEX festival, where there were many K-pop performers. You can check out my travel posts and photos of Part I and Part II from this blog. The trip to Frankfurt was fun, and seeing new places was refreshing. The trip was a birthday gift for me from me πŸ™‚ And on my birthday in May, in Helsinki, we had dinner at a Korean restaurant. So I enjoyed that a lot too! It is great that we can do these everyday things in our daily lives again. I’m so grateful for that.

I hope you all have a great time in June: sleep, eat well, meet people and do things you enjoy. Stay inspired whatever you do 😊 

Lots of love and happiness to everyone! 😊

Summer is finally starting in Finland: barbequing and eating outdoors is the thing here, so first time grilling last weekend. K-pop-related: we went to the K-POP.FLEX festival on 15th May in Frankfurt Germany; also got this cute fan club package when joining the Ha Sung Woon official Fanclub. And also had a birthday, so here we are at a Korean restaurant. Pink grapefruit is my favourite πŸ™‚
A rhubarb pastry my friend made – very delicious and very Finnish. Enjoying the food outdoors.

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