Monthly K-Pop Music Roundup: November

This month, I was surprised by the number of whole albums and full EPs that I enjoyed. On top of the fantastic singles and title tracks that were released, some of our favorite artists also blessed us with b sides to be thankful for. We also got some special singles from artists like VICTON for their anniversary and remixes like Ed Sheeran’s with Jessi and Sunmi. Besides full albums and b sides to love, November also had a nice combination of artists we got releases from not too long ago and some we’ve been waiting to hear from again. 

Let’s dive in and see what our favorites of the month were!

The Boyz – “Hypnotized”
Released November 1

The Boyz continue their high energy, intense-style trend with their latest comeback, “MAVERICK.” But for me, it’s their new b side “Hypnotized” that checks all the boxes. The Boyz can take on any style, from boyish charm to controlled sexy and everything in between. There’s something about “Hypnotized” that feels like a step in a different direction, somehow. The register is lower than their title track, there aren’t group chants, and the tempo is a bit slower. So listening to the EP in track order is like taking a little journey. I love when that happens! This group’s rap line has proven themselves in spades since their debut, but on this track, they take on this really casual, conversational talking style of rap and it adds a whole layer of power to the overall song. The track also has this bass line rolling through the song, which…well…is kind of hypnotizing. Ha! 

Super Junior – D&E “Far away”
Released November 2

I liked their title track “ZERO”, but it was this b side that made me sit up a little straighter and say, “Now hang on a second.” Ha! It’s got this really light instrumental, some casual snaps, and a catchy whistle that is now part of my whistling sound arsenal. This song is all about getting away and taking a little trip with someone you care about; it has me thinking about warmer climates right about now. Eunhyuk’s got a rap section on this track that is A++ l, as well. And as expected, listening to this song made me start throwing Eunhyuk’s solo song “be” from last month on repeat for a while (again). If you’re looking for an easy listening track that’ll warm you up for a few minutes, this is the song to carry you into December. 

ONEUS – BLOOD MOON
Released November 9 

The first full album that I loved this month was from ONEUS. They teased us with their pre-release video for “Intro: Window (feat Choi Ye Lim)”, which got me excited for a comeback concept like they gave us with “LIT.” And the boys absolutely did not disappoint. Their title track “LUNA” combines styles and spans across many years of musical influences. As always when I talk about ONEUS, I have to scream from the rooftops about how underrated Seoho is as a vocalist; I could write about that all day. My favorite section of the entire song, though, is the second verse when we get Ravn’s rap; so much changes in the instrumentals, his voice has a touch of autotune, and it really just throws a nice wrench in the flow of the song. As for the b sides on this album, we get songs that were released in advance, like “Life is Beautiful” and “Shut Up 받고 Crazy Hot.” I also really love “We’re in Love”; it has a different style than the others on the album and shows off the vocal power of this group. The album ends with “Who You Are” which brings an unexpected R&B flavor to sign things off. Overall, a great addition to an already strong discography!

VICTON – “Sweet Travel”
Released November 9 

VIC.TON. *sighs* They dusted off their cutest smiles and wrote this special song as a gift to their fandom, ALICE, on their debut anniversary. It truly does “give me that sugar rush” with the high sweetness content. This release is missing Seungwoo, who enlisted recently, but the remaining 8 members sally forth without him. I’m a sucker for a song that was written specifically for fans; it just always feels really genuine and that warms my heart. This track is really light and upbeat and enjoyable. I especially enjoy watching the music video for this song, because it feels like a great time. The first time I watched it, I legitimately smiled from ear to ear from start to finish. We all need a song or twelve on our playlists that can warm our hearts and make us grin; that’s what this song did for me this month!

B.I – COSMOS
Released November 11

Just 5 months after releasing his album “Waterfall,” Kim Hanbin is back for more! We got 6 new tracks, covering a plethora of styles. All of which are excellent. “Alive” and “Flame” remind me of his song “ONE & ONLY” from 2018 because they’re all kind of in-your-face as he reminds us that he’s here and he’s staying. “NINETEEN” has a bit more of a rock and roll style with an electric guitar moving the song along. The lyrics carry that punk style, too, as he says he just wants to complain, doesn’t want responsibility, and be nineteen forever. “COSMOS”, the title track, continues a bit of that rock flavor, which is nice; this song also brings in B.I’s flair for writing a compelling love song and a dynamite hook. “NERD (feat Colde)” is probably one of my favorites on the album; I like how the melody is quickly paced, but the cadence of the lyrics is a little slower. The song expresses hesitance, uncertainty, and feeling pitiful, all in a relatable way. 

TWICE – Formula of Love: O+T=<3
Released November 12

This has been one of my most-played albums of the entire month. Every single song is good and that’s just a fact. Their title track, “Scientist”, is a fun listen, especially when we think about how just a few years ago, TWICE was asking, “What is love?” They wanted to know! Now they’ve got the formula all figured out. Ha! “Moonlight” is an English track that shows us some really rich tones from the ladies and “ICON” continues the English trend with lines like “Damn, I got it. I’m icon-ic.” *bows down* “LAST WALTZ” is fire. I don’t know how else to describe it. Then we get to “ESPRESSO,” which is an unexpected treat and on my list of top b sides for the year. Every time I see the word, my brain spells it out to the beat of the song. This album also gifts us 3 unit tracks, which all tackle different styles. You can expect a full album review in the future!

Monsta X –  NO LIMIT
Released November 19

My favorite Monsta X songs are from the first half of their discography. I can’t really explain why, but that’s just the style that I prefer from them. Their latest title track, “Rush Hour,” takes me right back to when I first heard this group and it’s shot up to the top of my favorite comebacks of 2021. Jooheon and I.M immediately remind us all why they’re one of the best rap lines in the game, that’s for sure. The CHORUS!! Their rap swagger mixed with the other members’ increasingly stellar vocals is what really makes this comeback stand out. This group really does have it all and on “Rush Hour,” they show off a little bit. Ha! This album also has some great b sides, but my favorite might be “Ride with U.” The vocal range and control that every single member shows stopped me in my track the first time I heard it. Literally from the very start with I.M opening the song. I hope when Shownu finishes his military service, they re-divide the song back out and give him some lines. He would really add something extra to this song! I’ve said this about other songs from this month, but this is ALSO one of my new favorites of the year. One more thing that has to be said about this album is the way they carry the driving down the highway theme through every song. Ten points to whichever Ravenclaw devised that plan.

SF9 – RUMINATION
Released November 22

Another full EP that I enjoyed every second of was the latest release from SF9. I’m slightly biased because SF9 is one of my favorite groups and has been for a few years now. But all of that aside, this 8 track album is excellent. From their title track “Trauma,” to their letter to the fans in “For Fantasy,” we cover multiple genres and styles. I’m still figuring out which songs are my favorite, but the ones I keep coming back to the most are probably “Memory” and “Dreams.” They’re so different, so it’s an odd top 2. Ha! But “Memory” really highlights the vocal power of this group and “Dreams” just stands out to me amongst their entire discography. This EP adds some depth to that discography, showcasing some versatility and range. In fact, I enjoyed this album so much that I wrote a full review/reaction blog, which is coming your way soon! So check back here at binahearts.com, if you’re interested in that!

Hwasa – “I’m a B”
Released November 24

It’s been more than a year since Hwasa released her first solo album “Maria” and I, for one, am so glad to hear new music from this powerhouse vocal queen. Not only does this new title track pack a ton of vocal prowess into less than 3 minutes, but there’s also an insane amount of attitude and swagger. The pre-chorus is addicting and gets buried into my head, whether I like it or not. Then the chorus itself is so easy to sing along with and the play on words from the title is genius. “Life is so incredible, even if I’m going a little crazy. My sins are beautiful, baby.” Hwasa never shies away from pushing the line and stirring things up, that’s for sure. And frankly, we love her for it! Something that’s definitely worth pointing out is that there’s an extra section in the music video with a dance break that you won’t hear on Spotify or Apple Music. Hwasa brings in some more classical music styles, so it’s worth checking out!

Ed Sheeran – “Shivers (feat Jessi & SUNMI)”
Released November 24

We love an east x west collaboration and this new release from sensations Ed Sheeran, Jessi, and SUNMI does not disappoint. The first verse is all SUNMI’s and she brings in a nice combination of Korean and English. The tone of her voice melds beautifully with the acoustic guitar on this song; we need more acoustic tracks from SUNMI! Ed Sheeran takes the chorus, carrying over from his original track. The second verse focuses on Jessi, who brings in her signature swagger and English rap style. The rest of the second verse is from the original version of the song, as well. I really appreciate how Ed Sheeran and his team gave Jessi and SUNMI so many bars to recreate on this new release. Sometimes with collabs and remixes, the artists who are added to the song get a really short section to be creative with. SUNMI even gets to come back in a second time in the bridge, as well as in the final chorus. This is how remixes and collabs should be handled so that everyone gets to shine!

What were your favorite releases this month? We’d love to know; share in the comments!

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