I had a VERY difficult time narrowing down 10 albums or songs to put on my list for this month. I’m normally ready to post by the first, but nope…not this month. There was so much variety in April; every kind of K-music fan had something to look forward to and eventually enjoy. I love that in a music month!
These were my top 10 new releases of the month! If you don’t have time to read it all, scroll to the end to see what my top 3 recommendations are for April!
BIGBANG – “Still Life”
Released April 4
It’s been a long time coming and BIGBANG finally released new music this month after a few years of musical drought. Clearly fans are happy with this new single, as it just recently received its 9th music show win! What I love about this comeback is that it’s a soft rock, gentle reentry into the industry after their hiatus, as opposed to some high energy kind of release. It’s more vulnerable and acknowledges that much time has passed and a new season of the group members’ lives is ahead. Whatever that looks like, they welcome their fans back in a warm embrace. The lyrics reflect on the past while also looking towards the future. The members sing and rap about memories, the ways the seasons have changed, and “the moment that will come again someday.” There are elements of this song that remind me of The Beatles, bringing a musical sound that’s just so classic and familiar. This single was a nice taste of what we’ve been missing and also a little carrot dangling in front of us, leaving us wanting more!
KWON EUN BI – Color
Released April 4
I know a lot of people looked forward to this release, especially those who were fans of IZ*ONE, but for me, this was a fresh release from an artist I wasn’t terribly familiar with. The production of the title song “Glitch” is beyond; it’s got the sound of a well done remix. I think this song is going to bring us an influx of songs with similar styles, to be honest. It’s versatile and I think it’ll hold up well over time. The vocals are masterful, too. Eun Bi delivers an insane number of vocal runs to the point where it’s like…she’s just showing off. (In a good way. Ha!) As for the b sides, there’s a lot to enjoy. Sometimes I worry with a stellar title track that the b sides will be forgettable. But that’s not the case here! “Magnetic” has a similar energy to “Glitch,” but doesn’t feel repetitive, like “Didn’t I just hear this song?” Then she also gives us softness in “Speed of Love” and “OFF”. Definitely worth a listen!
IVE – “LOVE DIVE”
Released April 5
Rookie girl group IVE wowed with their debut “ELEVEN” just 5 months before this comeback. “LOVE DIVE” continues in a similar vein, showcasing ear-worm melodies and a chorus that’s easy to sing alone with. However, just like with their first single, we only got one b side. I want to hear more from this group! That may be a personal problem. Ha! What I love about “LOVE DIVE” is the way the group again captures a balance between sultry and soft while also bringing power and strength. The instrumentals have a hypnotizing quality to them, which again connects to their first single. Since “LOVE DIVE” was released, I haven’t gotten sick of it yet and that’s saying something! Usually after a month, I move on from some of their new, hyped up releases. But this song just has that something extra that I really enjoy.
ONEW – “DICE”
Released April 11
For me, when members of SHINee release solo songs, I get oddly excited. Ha! It’s like the kings of KPop are gracing us with their music and their voices. They always push the boundaries of the industry, both collectively and individually. I have always had a soft spot for ONEW because I love how unique his voice is; he’s one I can always pick out of a song. The vibe of his new title track “DICE” has a standout groove to it that I am drawn to. It’s bright, but not silly; it’s warm, but not melancholy. I’m also a sucker for some well done ad libs, and at the tail end of this song, ONEW delivers some “Love’s like a rolling dice” ad libs that I love. They’re small details, but to me, they really make a song special. Overall, this was a refreshing springtime release!
Dreamcatcher – [Apocalypse: Save Us]
Released April 12
If you’re unfamiliar with girl group Dreamcatcher, please allow me to introduce you to them as best I can. They are a wholly unique group in the realm of female kpop groups; their style has a strong rock and even sometimes metal influence. In the past, I don’t know that I’ve listened to a ton of their b sides, but I know that style is consistent with their title tracks. Their latest title song, “MAISON” is a call to action, asking citizens of the world to treat the world better. Overall, this was one of my most-played albums of the month; it’s a no-skip album for sure. You don’t have to be a long time fan of the group to find something to enjoy in the vast majority of the album. What’s really cool is that each of the 7 members have solo songs and they’re all very unique. “Cherry (Real Miracle)” feels like a classic, soft and sweet girl group song; “No Dot” feels a little more intense with some hip hop influences; “For” is an English doo-wap style reminiscent of the 1950’s; “Beauty Full” feels like something fresh off an Avril Lavigne album. And that’s just 4 of the solo songs!
JESSI – “ZOOM”
Released April 13
These days, Jessi breathes and I’m like “WHAT’D SHE DO? WHAT’D SHE SAY?” Ha! If you’ve never listened to Jessi before, let me just say…she never disappoints. Jessi is Jessi; she’s never pretended to be anyone else. “ZOOM” brings her signature attitude and style, but it’s also kicked up a notch, which we love to see. It’s a confidence album; “I see you looking at my P-I-C…zoom in, zoom out.” In the pre-chorus, she sings about how we as a society love taking pictures and posing for special moments. This song tells us to embrace it and go with it because people are going to keep looking and gawking at those posts. It’s so 2022, but not a cringey kind of trend song. In the second verse, she brings in some sick raps and then flawlessly transitions into beautiful vocals. This is something that helps keep her music fresh and makes it stand out among other female soloists. “ZOOM” is a song that I won’t get sick of for a LONG time!
SEVENTEEN – “Darl+ing”
Released April 14
Multiple songs this month felt like warm hugs and SEVENTEEN’s newest English single is no exception. Even more, it’s a perfect example of a song that fits that description. The melody is gentle yet still kind of groovy, which is nice. It lives in the middle of the land between up-tempo energetic numbers and slow ballads. It’s got a comfortable blend of instrumentals and tempo. I’m always impressed by SEVENTEEN’s music; it ages with them so beautifully. This single was released ahead of their next album, which drops May 27; I hope it’s a nice indication of what we can expect from the rest of the album! It’s hard to believe that this is their first English track, but here we are. I love that it truly feels like an original English song, as opposed to a song that was written in Korean and then roughly translated. It’s definitely worth a listen, if you haven’t heard it yet!
Monsta X – “LOVE”
Released April 26
Monsta X is one of the first KPop groups I ever heard and loved, so I get excited every time they release something new. To be honest, “LOVE” is the exact type of style that I was hoping to get from the group with this new album. Their last few Korean releases have been darker and somewhat more intense, but “LOVE” lightens things up ever so slightly. It also has an old school hip hop feel that the group matches really well and members like Jooheon and I.M elevate that sound even further with their own signature flavors. The transitions in this song are cool; at the end of the chorus, there’s this airy melody and smooth (jazz??) saxophone that carries us to the next verse. Then when we hit the bridge, we get a catchy RNB shift and playful vocals from I.M. I personally feel Shownu’s absence, who’s currently fulfilling his mandatory military service, but I imagine he’s also really digging the style of this new song.
MIYEON – MY
Released April 27
To be totally honest, I think Miyeon is the member of (G)I-DLE that I know the least about; the other members tend to steal all of my attention when the group performs. So I was curious about Miyeon’s solo debut and had very few expectations as to what it might sound like. But I have to say, I have really enjoyed the entire album! The title track “Drive” is really light, but showcases Miyeon’s strong vocal power. It’s got a sweetness to it that I think stands out this month among these other releases. “TE AMO” has some really nice subtle vocal moments; “Rain” has writing credits from both Miyeon and fellow (G)I-DLE member, Yuqi; “Charging” features JUNNY, whose vocal style blends beautifully with Miyeon’s. I think this was a really nice debut EP for Miyeon! She got to show off what she can do, which is something I think has been overshadowed in the past by her group members.
DKB – REBEL
Released April 28
Last year, boy group DKB released a single called “Rollercoaster” that I included in my October Round-Up. DKB seems to be a sorely underrated group; they always deliver smooth vocals and fantastic raps. I’m not sure why they aren’t more popular! This month, they released an EP with 2 new songs, a remix of one of them, and then they re-released “Rollercoaster.” The title track with this EP is “Sober,” and it’s got this really cool energy to it that reminds me of literally zero other songs I’ve ever heard. Now, I don’t always care about remixes, but the remix for “Sober” is…almost better than the original? There are sections of it that remind me of some older KPop songs, especially at the ends of verses and in the pre-chorus. As for the other song on this EP, “Get Away,” I’m a big fan. I’m not as obsessed as I was with their song “Work Hard,” but it’s got an addictive melody to it that I can’t ignore.
Let’s wrap this up with what I want to make sure you didn’t miss this month! KWON EUN BI has gotten a good deal of attention from “Glitch,” but I would say that’s one I want to be sure and again emphasize. My second top pick of the month is Dreamcatcher’s whole album – big fan! I finally want more people to check DKB out, so I have to highlight their b side “Get Away”.
What were your favorite releases of the month? Share with us in the comments and we hope you’ll return next month to see what our favorites were for May!