Welcome to the K-pop monthly highlights for June 2023! I have listed highlights from the previous month: this is my opinion and objective view of the songs. There were many excellent releases, as usual, every month in K-pop. What were your favourite releases this month?
There was little big news, although there is always something happening in K-pop. The K-pop world never sleeps! Not K-pop news, but South Korea now officially uses the international age system instead of the Korean age system. There will still be exceptions where the Korean age is still used.
So, get ready to be amazed by your favourite K-pop idols’ incredible talent and creativity. From stunning vocals to mind-blowing choreography, this month’s releases will leave you inspired.
Let’s dive right into the K-pop monthly highlights!
K-pop Monthly Highlights June 2023: party vibes and awaited comebacks
In June, we had many comebacks from big K-pop groups. It was hard to keep up this month with all the comebacks! I picked an interesting variation and style for this K-pop monthly highlight to keep things interesting musically.
June is party vibes compared to May, which was more serene in the song selection. This month, there are many danceable bops and hits for the dancefloor. You can check out all my favourite songs from this month from my Spotify playlist 😊
Retro fresh sounds: SHINee “The Feeling” (Album, SM Entertainment)
So, the first song on this K-pop monthly highlights list is awaited comeback from the legendary group SHINee, with a full-length album, “HARD”. SHINee is a South Korean group formed in 2008. Their music often features intricate vocal harmonies and detailed dance routines, and they are considered one of the pioneers of K-pop. You can hear the versatility, for example, in the musical genres, also on this new album.
…they are considered one of the pioneers of K-pop.Noora
I picked the pre-release single,” The Feeling“, as my highlight because it was a great track immediately. There’s a beautiful melody, and this is a drum and bass style song, which reminds me of 90’s genres music a lot. As the roots of drum and bass are in the UK, this reminds me of songs of that era. This is a great summer tune, chill but still upbeat, with excellent lyrics. SHINee also released a music video of “HARD“, the title track, a superb hip-hop song!
Dancing the night away: fromis_9 “#me_now” (Album, PLEDIS Entertainment)
Another full-length album on this K-pop monthly highlight is girl group fromis_9’s “Unlock My World”. This album is their first LP, including the title track, “#menow“, which is another great summer song! fromis_9 is an eight-member girl group that debuted in 2018 and was formed through a reality television show “Idol School”.
The song #menow” is an upbeat song with a disco style: the beat, the guitar riff, and the strings give this impression. I find this song similar to IVE’s musical style, for example, their hit “After Like“. So, if you love that song, you will love this one too! fromis_9 vocals are beautiful, and the track has a great positive vibe. So another fantastic danceable and hummable summer track for this month’s highlights.
There are a lot of retro references in the sounds and music production styles on SHINee’s and fromis_9 albums. This is a note as I was listening to the albums. This is the current trend in K-pop to have, for example, 90’s hip-hop sounds.
Dark dancefloor filler: ATEEZ “BOUNCY (K-HOT CHILLI PEPPERS)” (EP, KQ Entertainment)
The eight-member boy group ATEEZ is back with a mini-album, “THE WORLD EP.2: OUTLAW”, which has songs which are in a grand style and very dramatic. This has been the style for the ATEEZ for a while.
I remember enjoying a lot of the more poppy style a few years back, for example, “Eternal Sunshine“, which was one of my favourite songs from the year 2021. But I understand you have to change and that style is only some people’s favourite style of music. The current musical direction of Ateez is very different to that, with a darker sound and heavy beats in the music production compared to the poppier K-pop songs. We will return to this theme later in this blog post (Stray Kids!).
ATEEZ’s title track from the mini-album is “BOUNCY (K-HOT CHILLI PEPPERS)”, which has a hip-hop beat and a darker vibe. The chorus is exceptionally catchy, and this song is a dancefloor hit. A cherry on top is the “limbo”-dance move from the dance choreography. The dance choreography is very energetic, and ATEEZ is excellent at delivering powerful performances. The music video goes well with the song’s vibe and theme: the dark vibe is apparent. And a plus: there is a talking parrot! So, many reasons for this song to be part of the K-pop monthly highlights.
Retro coolness: EXO “Hear Me Out” (Single, SM Entertainment)
In this K-pop monthly highlight, we must remember a big comeback from the legendary nine-member boy group EXO. EXO debuted in 2012 and has made numerous albums and hits.
For this month’s highlight, I picked the single “Hear Me Out“, which has a fun and groovy summer vibe. This song has retro sounds and is a hip-hop/pop song. This single is also a pre-release for the upcoming album, “EXIST”, which is dropping on the 10th of July. So very soon!
“Hear Me Out” has a retro feeling again and sounds from the 90s with its laid-back hip-hop style. I love this melodic song and presenting EXO’s members’ vocals. EXO has impressive vocals! The music video is also relaxed and about having good times with your friends. So, it’s a summer track and K-pop monthly highlight.
A song to listen to at the beach: BTS “Take Two” (Single, BIGHIT Music)
The seven-member boy group BTS also released a new single for the anniversary of their 10-year career, which is impressive and congratulations! The track “Take Two” has a beautiful melody and is an optimistic-sounding pop song. This song has soft and cosy summer vibes, and I love BTS, so it is one of the monthly highlights in this K-pop blog post.
There were big beautiful fireworks show on the Han River in Seoul in June for the celebrations. And if you wish to go to a concert, AGUST D has extra concerts in Seoul in August. Jungkook also has a solo single, “SEVEN”, coming out in July, so watch out for that. So, a lot happens every month, which is awesome for all the BTS fans.
Stars Are Shining: Stray Kids “S-Class” (Album, JYP Entertainment)
The eight-member boy group Stray Kids also had a comeback this month with an album, “5-STAR”. When I first heard about the album’s name, I thought it was so funny, and they must have a great sense of humour and irony to call the album this name. So that already got my attention. Stray Kids debuted in 2017, and their new album is their fourth full-length album.
Stray Kids’ songs on this album are stylistically a mixture of hip-hop beats and EDM. More of a traditional style, a lighter pop song on the new album, is “FNF“, which also has elements of poppy house music; also, the rockier songs “Youtiful” and “Mixtape: Time Out” stand out stylistically.
So, I chose the title track, “S-Class“, for this month’s K-pop monthly highlight. As I previously mentioned in the context of Ateez’s title track, stylistically, this has darker sounds and dramatic style. Still, maybe more subtly, there is minimalism in the sound compared to Ateez’s title track this month. We also have melodic parts in the song, and the track mixes different genres, which is interesting. The dance choreography is excellent and very energetic too.
B-side of the month: KANGDANIEL “Wasteland” (EP, KONNECT Entertainment)
Last but not least, in this monthly K-pop highlights post, I picked a b-side song, “Wasteland” by Kang Daniel, with a beautiful melody and fantastic to listen to. The song is from his new mini-album, “REALIEZ”. Kang Daniel is a former member of the boy group Wanna One, and he has established companies, for example, his record label KONNECT Entertainment.
“Wasteland” is an excellent mixture of classical harmonies, rock sounds and hip-hop beats. The song has great lyrics, and the vocals have been arranged amazingly. This song was one of the most melodic and exciting in this month’s highlights! The mini-album has excellent songs, and the title track, “SOS“, has a music video set in a Mad Max -style to a desert. Kang Daniel is performing next week in Poland at a K-pop festival, K-pop Stars Festival, so check that out if you are in Europe.
Summing Up May June K-pop Monthly Highlights
These were my K-pop monthly highlights for June 2023! I hope you enjoyed this list of songs, and you can find more recommended K-pop songs on my Youtube channel, where I have a playlist of New K-pop releases:
I hope you are having a fantastic July and listening to new amazing K-pop! Many new comebacks are coming this month, so I’m excited to check out new songs daily.
Thank you for reading my blog post. It means the world to me that you are here. Please follow my socials for more updates on my daily life, art, travelling, K-pop and music making.
Stay healthy and be inspired! 😊