One year ago, my monthly music round-up series began! Can you believe it’s been a full year?! I absolutely cannot. This time last year, I was jamming out to STAYC’s “Stereotype”, Lee Hi’s 4 ONLY album, and getting ITZY’s “LOCO” stuck in my head. Fun fact – I’m STILL enjoying all of those releases! But now a year later, there are also a ton of other new releases that flood my playlists. This September, we got kind of a mixed bag of new music, which is always a fun time.
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!
ONEUS – MALUS
Released September 5
ONEUS’s latest album has some high spots that I was glad to hear, considering their first 2 title tracks “Valkyrie” and “Twilight” are some of my faves in KPop. The title track “Same Scent” isn’t my favorite in their discography, but it feels like a classic ONEUS melody and it’s nice to listen to. “STUPID LOVE” was that b side that made my ears perk up as I listened to the album all the way through. That rock flavor is *chefs kiss*! “Gravitation” has been another b side that I’ve been really enjoying. The acoustic sound takes me back to some early 2000’s music. This is also the track that I think their vocals really get to shine brightly. Those two tracks are the ones I keep coming back to, but there are others that I think will grow on me even more with time.
ZICO – “New thing (feat HOMIES)”
Released September 6
This new single was released on Street Man Fighter and I have to say…ZICO canNOT be stopped. The Leader Class on the show got together for a special stage to this song and it carries so much energy and swagger that it was a perfect fit. This song has since been all over social media and its dance challenge has been insanely popular with many celebrity sightings. For me, ZICO is an artist I always run to hear new music from and since he was radio silent for a while, completing his military service, this is the kind of song that makes me extra glad he’s back. It’s got a lot of flavor we loved from BTOB that he then carried into his solo albums and has brought back to us, full circle.
Hwang Minhyun – “Again”
Released September 13
I have what is probably an unhealthy obsession with Hwang Minhyun. When he releases solo music, it ends up going on at least 4 of my playlists for various moods. There’s a purity to his voice and a simplicity to the solo songs that he’s released that feels like some kind of palette cleanser. Mixed in with the busy, super-produced, and over-hyped releases, there are songs like this that just slide in and feel like a breath of fresh air. I like to imagine seeing this performed live, with a backdrop like a scene in “Crash Landing on You” – ha! You know the scene; you can see it, too! The lyrics are full of loving sentiments and that final high note near the end tug on my heartstrings every time.
pH-1 – BUT FOR NOW LEAVE ME ALONE
Released September 15
pH-1 is one of those artists who releases music and I just know I’m going to enjoy it. He’s consistently been a rapper that I like because his writing is stylish and his style is really engaging. Because he’s fluent in both Korean and English, he seamlessly floats between the two languages, pulling out phrases that work together, add to his flow, and create interest. For this 13 track album – WOW – some of my favorites include “Zombie”, “TGIF”, and “JULIETTE! (feat UMI).” These 3 stand out to me as the ones that feel the most pH-1. There’s definitely some more autotune on this album as a whole than we’re used to with pH-1, but it’s still tastefully done. It’s not too much to make me lay on that skip button. Ha! Overall, a nice addition to his discography!
SOLE – “Song”
Released September 16
SOLE is one of those artists that I think is painfully underrated. Her vocal style and unique tone is unmatched. If you’re a fan of Lee Hi or BIBI, you’ll like her breathy sound. If you like IU or Solar, then you’ll appreciate her range. On September 8, SOLE released “still beautiful” as a single and I immediately added it to my list of favorites for the month. Then on the 16th, SOLE released the rest of her album, imagine club. From “imagine”, which reminds me of something we’d hear from Imogen Heap, to “ore ore” which kind of wraps itself around my brain, to “still beautiful” which brings the album to a close, I feel myself taken away. Sometimes, that’s exactly what I want from an album; I want to feel transported and I want the songs to feel like something I’ve never heard before. That’s exactly what this album brought to the music scene this month. Big fan!
BLACKPINK – BORN PINK
Released September 16
Last month, we got a taste of this comeback with their pre-release single “Pink Venom.” Honestly, that track made me equal parts nervous and curious about what the rest of the album would sound like. Fans seem a bit split, and I have to say that I prefer “Shut Down”; that violin puts a spell on me every time! This album might have my favorite combination of b sides for a Blackpink album, too, and as a b side girl – I’m SO excited. Of those 6 new b sides, Rose’s unexpected solo, “Hard to Love” has been my go-to track. It sounds like something that would’ve worked really well on her solo album! “Typa Girl” has some signature Blackpink flavor, “Yeah Yeah Yeah” sounds like something that iKON could’ve released with their last album, and “Ready for Love” feels like a nice followup to “Lovesick Girls”. This has definitely been a no skip album for me, which means it’s got some longevity in my Spotify album list.
The Rose – “Childhood”
Released September 16
It wasn’t until I listened to this new single from The Rose that I realized how much I’d missed those vocals and their overall band sound on the KPop scene. On October 10, their first full album HEAL will be released. If “Childhood” is any indication of what we can expect, then you and I will meet back here in one month to talk about The Rose once again. The message of this song feels like the boys of The Rose are telling us that no matter what happens in our lives, we have to remember who we are deep down inside. That inner child is what keeps us moving towards our goals and dreams. Considering what the group has gone through in the last few years, it’s a really personal and powerful message. And since their album is named HEAL, I’m expecting that story of growth and well, healing, to continue being their focus.
JAY B – “Fountain of Youth”
Released September 21
I really wanted to like JAY B’s newest album, Be Yourself, from start to finish. But for me personally, it was just kind of a swing and a miss…except for this one b side, “Fountain of Youth.” It’s the song on the album that felt most like it had a story that I could connect to. I also genuinely enjoyed how light and airy it is. The song is entirely in English and lyrics like “love you guys no matter what they say” and “we’re all I need and more and yeah that’s the truth” just hit me right in my eternally Ahgase heart. It’s such a different style than what we’ve heard from JAY B since his solo journey began, but it makes me feel really nostalgic and all fuzzy inside. It was unexpected and so needed!
Crush – “Rush Hour (feat j-hope)”
Released September 22
Crush never disappoints and his decision to bring j-hope in on this track was genius. Their smooth vocal styles blend together so beautifully; they could be a new duo and make BANK, bringing catchy music to the masses, especially if they keep that nostalgic hip hop style coming. What makes this release even more exciting is that it’s the first we’ve heard from Crush since he finished his military service. He came back with a bang, for sure. The lyrics are fun to work through, as it’s full of images of traffic jams caused by photographers and fans and plays on words, like Crush hour. It’s a new season in Crush’s career and I’m happy to be along for the ride! They both brought fun and energy to the stage, without a doubt.
BE’O – FIVE SENSES
Released September 29
This was the album that snuck up on me at the tail end of the month and I ain’t mad about it! We got 7 tracks on this album from BE’O and 5 feature stellar artists. ZICO gets a second mention on this month’s favorite list, but as a featured artist this time on BE’O’s song “Complex.” As expected, he brings the perfect balance to BE’O’s vocal style and the way he plays with the tempo adds a lot of interest to the song in general. Another go-to for me on this album is “BBI YONG (feat Loco and GRAY). The chorus picks up in a way that I wasn’t expecting, but thoroughly enjoy every time. Finally, I’m always happy to hear ASH ISLAND’s voice, so the final track, “LOVE me Remix” had me fit to be tied. BE’O had released “LOVE me” earlier this year, but to hear it again with a featured artist was a nice surprise.
Let’s wrap this up with what I want to make sure you didn’t miss this month! The 3 that come to mind are BE’O’s “BBI YONG”, The Rose’s “Childhood”, and pH-1’s “JULIETTE! (feat UMI).”
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!