K-Pop Music Roundup: June 2022

Summer has arrived in full force this month! What’s funny is that with music in June, I expect an overload of brightness and high energy. But this month, it felt like we got halfway through the month without many notable releases that fit that description. Then once we passed June 15, we got overwhelmed with the sunshine songs! It did lead to a nicer variety of releases and favorites for the month than I was originally expecting, that’s for sure.

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!

PENOMECO – “Cloudy”
Released June 9

Ever since PENOMECO released his Dry Flower album last year, I’ve been on full alert for new music. This latest single highlights so many of the things I enjoy the most about his music. It’s got these really smooth vocal sections, a commanding rap, groovy instrumentals, and just the right amount of auto-tune for my taste. The first time I heard this song, I looked to see who the featured artist was and then realized…there wasn’t one. It’s all PENOMECO; he has so much talent and a nice variation in his musical style that sometimes I forget he’s just one guy! This song has been one that I kept going back to as the month went along. There’s something about it that calls me back over and over again; it’s an every season kind of song! Mixed in with some of these brighter, more energetic and peppy June releases, it’s like a palette cleanser!

Released June 9

This month, we got a full album from 19-year-old BIG Naughty with a few familiar songs that had been previously released as singles, like “Lovey Dovey” and “Vancouver.” What has drawn me to his songs since he debuted is that he seems to have a style that stands out amongst other rappers. Maybe it’s his youth bringing in some freshness…I’m not sure. But for this album, my most played track has definitely been “Romance Symphony” which features CHANGMO and Jay Park. It starts with a nice piano and sweet vocals as he lists famous composers, offering to write whatever song you want. The highlight for me, though, is when Jay Park comes in and starts quoting his own songs. Fans of “All I Wanna Do,” “JOAH,” and “Ganadara”, listen closely! Overall, this album centers around the theme of romance, so for me, it’s a really fresh hip hop album with lots of nice R&B nods. The other songs I listened to the most this month were “Bridal Chorus (feat. Dbo)” and “Actor (feat. pH-1)”.

WOODZ – “About You”
Released June 10

WOODZ breathes and I sit up and pay attention. This time, not only did he give us a sweet, romantic song, but he brought it in the form of an OST for Yumi’s Cells 2. I don’t always have OST’s in my monthly favorites (because there are a million released each month) but this one is really special. WOODZ’s voice is so perfect for a song that’s rich in messages of love, like this one. He so easily moves between notes and I get wrapped up; this is the kind of song that I find myself putting on repeat and losing track of time altogether. The lyrics paint a really lovely picture of what it is to fall in love, which also pairs so perfectly with the overall feeling of Yumi’s Cells. I hope this is the kind of OST that people remember. I know it’ll eventually be one of my favorite love songs.

BTS – Proof
Released June 10

One of the most talked about releases of this month, of course, came from BTS. This beast of an anthology album re-released many songs for fans including demos and remixes, but we also got a handful of new or previously unreleased tracks to enjoy. While “Yet To Come” is a nice testament to their career and their fans, my favorite song on the album (of the newly released options) has to be “Run BTS.” It just FEELS like BTS, you know? It’s a beautiful combination of their older, original style and some of the new, more modern sounds we’ve heard from them, while also including a nod towards the future. Big fan! It has the energy that first drew me to BTS in the first place. “For Youth” is another really special release from this album, as it opens with a recording from one of their concerts. The song itself is a special love letter to BTS’ fan base – ARMY. There’s so much love and genuine gratitude in the lyrics, which also comes through in their vocal performance. And it’s the last song on the album, which feels intentional and special!

PIXY – “Villain”
Released June 15

Girl group PIXY previously released tracks like “Addicted”, which I included in my October 2021 Round-Up, so when I saw they were having a comeback, I was hopeful for something else that I would enjoy listening to. Both “Addicted” and their newest title track, “Villain”, have this really dark and rich sound to them. They push boundaries, but don’t push so far that I lose interest. “Villain” has a super addictive chorus; I feel like I’m being hypnotized. We hear the full chorus in the opening of the song, then as the song goes on, words get cut out or cut in half which makes each return to the chorus a little different. This became one of my favorite releases of the month because of the way it stands out in the crowd. There’s so much distortion, harmonizing, and unexpected turns; I couldn’t skip it during that first listen because I didn’t want to miss anything interesting! A release like this makes me excited to see what they do next!

Released June 15

This rookie boy group helped us pump the energy up for the second half of the summer month. I wouldn’t say it’s a lyrically moving song or a groundbreaking release, but it did make me smile and move my body, which makes for a memorable song in my book. The energy of this song reminds me of some older, youthful Seventeen or ASTRO releases. The world always needs more tracks out there like that; the melody in the chorus is really fun and inviting. It makes me want to find a group of friends and go play soccer or something, which is really saying something for me. Ha! It reminds me of some of my favorite memories from my teenage years; that nostalgia makes this a memorable track and I hope it stands the test of time.

LOONA – Summer Special [Flip That]
Released June 20

Coming off their run on Queendom 2, the ladies of LOONA brought us the sweet, flowery summertime energy we were missing. Their new title track “Flip That” opens with a melody that makes me feel like I’m being transported somewhere summery and beachy, and that island energy carries us all the way to the chorus. Then when we get to the chorus, it feels like a soft club track; I don’t know what else to call it. Ha! I kind of like that it was so unexpected! What we got in the chorus was that line that stays in your brain for a while after a new song is released. I’ve been singing it for a couple of weeks now! The rest of the EP has a lot of variety, which I’m always glad to hear. They released “POSE”, which was their final song in Queendom 2 on this album, which is a contrast to the concept of “Flip That.” I also really enjoyed “Pale Blue Dot” because of the vocal focus and “Playback” for the way it melds classic styles with a newer twist. Even if you aren’t a LOONA stan, I think this is a great album!

Released June 20

June 20 was a big release day for girl group fans! Kep1er also made their first post-Queendom comeback and brought us even more summertime vibes. This EP brought us 5 new songs from this project group, including the title track “Up!”. While this is definitely a fun new song, I think that the true treasure of this album lies in the b sides! “LE VOYA9E” and “Rewind” have a really dreamy quality in some sections and for me, this is where the vocals really start to shine on the EP. Members have really short lines that they have to do something interesting with and I enjoyed how they approached these lyrics. “Attention” then takes the ear candy thing a little further; my favorite section of this song is the second verse rap section. There’s so much attitude! Then we go to “Good Night”, which might be my favorite song on the album. It gives me images of spending a star-filled evening with people you care about. 

KARD – “Ring the Alarm”
Released June 22

This comeback from KARD has been highly anticipated since it’s their first full group promotion since member J.Seph did his mandatory military enlistment. KARD has always brought us music that doesn’t quite fit into any single category and not only did they continue that with this new release, but they did something that made it feel even more significant. There’s some new spark that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I’m here for it. Somehow this group is able to master the tricky balance of having both male and female members. Their music doesn’t lean in either direction more than the other. Whether you tend to lean towards boy groups or girls, it doesn’t matter with KARD. The ladies bring softness and spunk while the guys bring fire and swagger. My favorite section of this song is J.Seph’s rap in the second verse; the whole melody gets flipped on its head, then we’re seamlessly transitioned back to the pre-chorus. *chef’s kiss*

Released June 24

TWICE’s Nayeon burst onto the solo artists scene this month with “POP” and her collection of fun b sides. Her solo debut brought back energy and style that reminds me of some older releases in this genre. Nayeon has always been a standout member of TWICE, but with this solo release, she gets to really showcase her myriad of talents and establish herself as an artist in her own right. Not only is “POP” addicting and crazy fun, but her album has some other great songs to enjoy. “NO PROBLEM”, a full English track, features labelmate Felix of Stray Kids and reminds me of something we might hear from TWICE. “LOVE COUNTDOWN”, which features Wonstein, might be my favorite b side of the album. The combination of these two voices and styles was something we didn’t even know we were needing. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU” and “SUNSET” both have really different styles, but still fit Nayeon’s voice really beautifully. Something for everyone with this album!

Let’s wrap this up with what I want to make sure you didn’t miss this month! Be sure to check out PENOMECO’s latest single, “Cloudy”; listen to WOODZ’s OST “About You”; and give KARD’s “Ring the Alarm” a few streams!

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 next batch of favorites are! 

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