The Four Seasons of K-Pop
South Korea has four distinct seasons in a year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Spring comes in around March and ends in May, while summer comes in immediately by June. Fall enters around September, and winter goes on from December to February. It’s a cycle that a lot of industries keep in mind: tourism, education, and even the food industry. Entertainment is no different. Korean dramas air in accordance to what concept and plot would fit a season best, and the songs artists release are ones that would fit the season as well.
My personal favorite time in the K-Pop scene is during fall or winter, since I tend to like the overall atmosphere of the tracks released during that time. Not to mention how amazing it feels to hear those songs while walking around Myeongdong or Hongdae. However, possibly the healthiest and busiest season in the K-Pop calendar is summer. Perfect for the sunny vibe of the season, this is the time when a lot of the most fun songs of the year come out.
What To Expect
Now that summer has hit the K-Pop scene again, here are a few things that you should expect when your favorite K-Pop act is making a comeback.
Bright Colors are Everywhere
While this isn’t relatively new to groups that are known for their overall bright image, summer is usually when a lot of artists throw in bright colors in their stage outfits and music videos. It is extremely important for the public to relate to the song an artist releases for it to do well, which is why they throw in all these bright colors to match what the public sees outside during the summer.
Music Videos are Filmed by the Beach
It is a fact that majority of the music videos that come out during the summer feature a large body of water in their set designs–whether it’s a music video filmed at a beach or at a pool. As funny as it sounds, it’s actually the best way to showcase a song during the summer because it is the time most people hit the beaches and pools. Besides, who would want a black and white video to go along with such bright tracks?
Upbeat Tracks Dominate the Charts
Since it's the summer we're talking about, it's the perfect time for an artist to come out with a fun and catchy song that goes well with the summer sun, which is why most #1’s during this season are the most upbeat ones. SISTAR became known to the public because of their tracks during summer, and they serve as the best example of a group maximizing the season.
Competition is Hard
The main reason why I love the winter season is because this is when the not-so-popular groups take a shot at hitting it big with their best tracks. It is usually a down time in K-Pop, so the competition isn't as stiff, and it is the time where the underdogs can completely change their status to top-list artists. Summer, on the other hand, is one of the hardest seasons to make a comeback in.
Summer is usually the busiest time of the K-Pop calendar because this is arguably the season where the public is most aware of the entertainment industry. A lot of management agencies maximize the opportunity by aiming their artists’ comebacks at this season, so getting a chart-topping song or a music show win is also the hardest.
While there are a lot of A-grade tracks that are perfect for summer listening, I’ve gathered a few tracks that you must definitely put on your playlist for the season!
The Girl Groups
The girl group fanboy inside me is content during summer. It’s usually a time where a lot of girl groups aim to come back because it allows them to stick to a brighter and more feminine concept that’s perfect for a girl group, which I personally dig a lot. That being said, summer isn’t summer without a SISTAR comeback.
Summer in K-pop won’t ever be the same now that the group has disbanded, as they were the go-to girl group when it came to the summer comebacks. With songs like “Loving U,” “Shake It” and “Touch My Body,” they had a discography containing a lot of tracks that were a perfect fit for the season. They even managed to play with colors while staying in the summer mood with tracks like “I Swear” and “I Like That.”
More girl groups like Girl’s Day also caught the public’s attention with their own spin on the summer look and sound through tracks like “Darling” and “Ring Ma Bell”. GFriend’s “Me gustas tu,” Nine Muses’ “Hurt Locker,” and Girls’ Generation’s “PARTY” are also tracks that you must check out if you want your girl group fix for the summer.
The Boy Groups
For the boy group enthusiasts, Block B’s “HER” is definitely the first thing you should listen to. The track is very energetic and is perfect for the energy of the summer. If you’re more into those house genre-based tracks, SHINee’s “View” is the perfect summer anthem for you. SHINee debuted in the summer season of 2008 with “Noona You’re So Pretty (Replay),” so you should also give that a listen if you’re unfamiliar with the group. Rookie group ASTRO also has to be one of the groups you check out. They put out a lot of excellent summer tracks like “Breathless” and their most recent single “Baby.” GOT7’s “A” and “Just right” also make for a good listen with the light and catchy hooks they sing instead of the sleek and edgier music they put out. HIGHLIGHT also released “Beautiful Night,” a catchy and synth-driven track in the summer of 2012. This is still one of the best K-Pop tracks to listen to if you’re under the sun.
The Solo Acts
R&B artist Crush puts out amazing singles that are perfect for each season. One of 2015’s biggest hits, “Oasis,” which features Block B’s ZICO, was his first attempt at making a straightforward summer bop. Playing with the colorful aesthetics, the music video matches perfectly with the mood of the track. If this was up your alley, “Skip,” a single he put out last year with Han Sangwon is another track you would definitely enjoy. It’s catchy and features a sophisticated twist on a bright and sunny track. ZICO’s “Boys and Girls” is another addictive track that’s perfect for the summer, even though it was released in fall of 2015. Nevertheless, it’s also a must-listen!
Taeyeon’s “Why” remains one of the most amazing efforts for a summer comeback. The 2016 hit featured a tropical house arrangement that contained bright synthesizers that accentuated the color of the track. Former SISTAR member Hyorin’s recent collaboration with rapper Kisum is also a great track to jam to during the summer. “Fruity” featured a latin-esque guitar section topped over a bouncy hip-hop beat, which created an fresh and bright vibe. Not to mention how addictive the progressions were.
Summer Isn’t Over Yet!
We still have approximately two months before fall arrives, so there still are a few acts lined up to make their summer comebacks. We’ve got Lee Hyori and Red Velvet coming back in a few days, together with co-ed group K.A.R.D! Jessi is also set to make the summer extra hot with her new mini-album, so you should also look forward to that! I repeat, summer isn’t over!