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K-pop Monthly Highlights, July 2023

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Welcome to July’s K-pop highlights blog post, where I review the most exciting releases every month! This month there were a lot of highly expected comebacks, and I was overwhelmed with all the releases. So here are a few of them.

This month was also a summer vacation month in my home country, Finland. I headed to the Mediterranean, which is my favourite place alongside South Korea, of course. We flew to Venice, my dream place, and then we took the train to Trieste, Italy’s beautiful and cultural city. From there, we took a bus to Croatia, Pula, an ancient Roman city, and then back to unique Venice. I will make a travel blog and vlog about this trip when I have time because the trip was amazing! Here are some photos in this blog post to enjoy.

I had a summer holiday in July and visited Venice and Trieste in Italy. On the left on a gondola ride in Venice; on the right Trieste's beautiful sunset in the centre of the city.
I had a summer holiday in July and visited Venice and Trieste in Italy. On the left on a gondola ride in Venice; on the right is Trieste’s beautiful sunset in the city’s centre.

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted new K-pop releases on my Youtube channel. I realised that I had too many things going on, and I must focus on the essential thing, which is my music. So, I’m putting my energy into that, and I dropped making the videos daily, although it was a lot of fun. Of course, I also have my day job, hobbies, friends, and family, so a lot is happening all the time.

But enough about my summer, and let’s hop into July’s K-pop highlights!

K-pop Monthly Highlights July 2023: Month of Girl Groups and Positive Vibes

Your Summer Soundtrack: NewJeans “Get Up” (Album, ADOR)

NewJeans, a five-member girl group, released their awaited 2nd EP, “Get Up”, in July, and I picked the whole EP here as a highlight. It was hard to pick just one song from the EP, as the songs are a cohesive collection. Some songs are very similar, but it is okay because they are great. I reviewed NewJeans’s “Ditto” last December, which was a massive hit.

NewJeans are bringing their “new” style into mainstream K-pop and stretching the boundaries of the stereotypical K-pop song structures and sounds.

Noora

NewJeans are a five-piece girl group that came to the K-pop world by storm last year with retro but still hip-in-style hit songs such as “Hype Boy” and “Attention“. So, the expectations are high when they release new songs.

The EP starts with the song “New Jeans“, a minimalistic song with a UK club-style beat. The vocals are soft and melodic. The same style with a drum and bass style beat continues in “Super Shy“. This has a very catchy melody and a cute dance choreography. Next is the track “ETA“, also a commercial for Apple’s iPhone. This is the most upbeat dance track with a very addictive beat and melody for the listener. As you have noticed, all the songs have a music video!

Next, we have “Cool With You“, which has the same vibe as the previous songs, and this has a UK garage beat. The whole song is very chill and has ethereal vocals. This has a fantastic melody. The same music video has the next song from the EP “Get Up”, a slow R&B song. Finally, we get to the last song, “ASAP“, which has a minimalistic production and interestingly relies on the vocals. This song sounds like a lullaby.

The experience of listening to the EP is pleasant and captivating. NewJeans are bringing their “new” style into mainstream K-pop and stretching the boundaries of the stereotypical K-pop song structures and sounds. The album is stylistically cohesive and great to listen to the whole way through! K-pop constantly evolves, mixing many genres to make great pop music. NewJeans performed at the Lollapalooza in Chicago in July: you can check out the official concert from the Youtube!

Easy-Peasy, “Get Things Done” Playlist Song: ITZY “CAKE” (Album, JYP Entertainment)

ITZY is back also this month! They released a new album, “KILL MY DOUBT”; the title track is a more traditional K-pop song “CAKE“. This month, I picked this song as a highlight because it is very catchy with its chorus and has great energy!

ITZY is a five-piece girl group that debuted in 2019. They have unforgettable hits, such as “Not Shy” (a fantastic track!), “Wannabe” and “Dalla Dalla“, to mention a few. 

CAKE” is a cheerful K-pop song with a catchy melody and a beat, and this has some cool melodic hooks like that saxophone sound and the vocals. It is a great song from the first listen. I like the contrast between the rhythmic parts and the more melodic parts. The music video is colourful and references, for example, the hit Netflix series “Squid Game”. Check out also the excellent dance choreography! This track is a K-pop highlight for July 2023!

Song for the “Every Day of the Week” Playlist: Jung Kook (featuring Latto) “Seven” (Single, BIGHIT Music)

Jung Kook from BTS released a single, “Seven“, in July, featuring Latto, who is rapping on the track. Jung Kook’s vocals are always top-notch and beautiful, so it was great to hear him releasing a solo track. Right from the bat, the song is a catchy melodic track with a UK garage beat. I love this style of beat. It brings a laid-back feeling to the song and fits the theme well. 

The song “Seven” came in two versions, with the explicit lyrics and the clean version. The music video for the song is very humorous and cinematic, so it is amusing to watch. For example, you can hear Jung Kook’s unique voice in these two excellent tracks, BTS’s “Euphoria” and the FIFA World Cup song from 2022, “Dreamers“. “Seven” is an absolute bop, so it is one of the highlights this month.

“I Wanna Feel Fluffy and Happy” Playlist Song: SWAN “Twenty” (Single, RBW Inc.)

Swan from the girl group PURPLE KISS made her solo debut in July. I picked her single called “Twenty” as a highlight for July. This song is a beautiful melodic pop song with a groovy chorus. The track is highlighted by the beautiful voice of Swan, which immediately caught my attention when listening to this track for the first time.

The music video is fantastic, with an artistic style and all the details. The song and the music video make a great combination here. The song brings an optimistic and joyful feel. So it is a perfect summertime tune. 

Classy K-pop for Your Playlist: ILY:1 “MY COLOR” (EP, FC Entertainment)

The six-piece girl group ILY:1 released their second EP this year, “New Chapter”. The highlight of this month is their title track from the mini-album “My Color“. This K-pop track has beautiful melodies and transitions to different song parts. 

There are strings and a grand sound, significantly boosting the beautiful vocals. With the groovy beat, the song is delightful to listen to. Because of the great melodies and harmonies, it is captivating at the same time. ILY:1 is a relatively new girl group, as they debuted last year with their single “Love in Bloom“.

“Mix K-pop with Europop” song: FIFTY FIFTY “Barbie Dreams” (feat. Kaliii) (Album OST, Atlantic)

The Barbie movie was one of the moments this summer in the movie world, and I also went to see the film a week ago. Loved the movie from start to finish! The movie’s soundtrack has girl group FIFTY FIFTY’s song “Barbie Dreams” featuring Kaliii. This is on the verge of if this is K-pop, but I added this here as FIFTY FIFTY is a Korean group. The song perfectly mixes outstanding vocals, Europop and sing-along melodies! This is an ideal Barbie-style track with the vocal production, beat, sounds and effects. 

This song wasn’t in the movie, by the way, if you go and see it. FIFTY FIFTY had enormous success this year with the hit song “Cupid“, a cute pop song. 

Summing Up July’s K-pop Highlights

This month’s K-pop highlights included many girl groups, as there were many great comebacks. If you want to check out more of my favourites from July, I have a Spotify playlist with all the highlights and more songs in different genres. What were your favourites for this month? August, there will be some great comebacks and many songs I am listening to on repeat from August, so it is an excellent month for K-pop songs already!

I hope you have an amazing day, and thank you for being here! Until next time, be healthy, happy and inspired ❤️

Visiting Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy. The views are beautiful to the sea; Pula in Croatia has a Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century AD. It is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheater.
Visiting Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy. The views are beautiful to the sea; Pula in Croatia has a Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century AD. It is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatre.