Skip to main content

Itzy, Stray Kids, Yena, and more: New K-pop you need to hear

Are you looking for some new K-pop music to listen to, or are are you interested in building a playlist of songs released recently? Here are six new K-pop songs we’ve had on repeat over the past couple of weeks, featuring both individual artists and groups. When you’re done with these, don’t forget Ive’s After Like is coming on August 22, and we’ve got everything you need to know about it here.

Smartphone — Yena

YENA (최예나) - SMARTPHONE MV

If there was an award for “maddest music video” this month, it would go to Yena for Smartphone, which looks like it takes place inside a bag of Skittles, after the Skittles had been spiked with LSD. Yena really knows how to capture hearts with her cute expressions, and is right at home performing both the crazy “story” (for want of a better word) elements and the high-energy dance routines in the video. One listen won’t be enough for this pop-driven, punky ode to the smartphone.

Hurt — NewJeans

NewJeans (뉴진스) 'Hurt' Official MV

K-pop’s more visually exciting, hardcore dance songs often get most of the attention, particularly internationally, so to find this slower, vocal-driven song on NewJeans’ debut album is welcome — and it’s the reason I’ve included it here. Yes, this is NewJeans’ debut, but you wouldn’t really know it after listening to this polished, sophisticated song, or any of the other tracks from the surprisingly understated EP, which takes the group’s name.

Raise your Glass — Huh Yunjin (Le Sserafim)

HUH YUNJIN of LE SSERAFIM - ‘Raise y_our glass’

In the same way Hurt differs from many commonly heard K-pop songs, not all K-pop songs are sung in Korean either. This solo, self-produced release from Yunjin, one of the five-member group Le Sserafim, is in English (complete with a few choice expletives). Much like our next track, Domino, the song’s lyrics have particular meaning to Yunjin and her fans, who know she has been working toward becoming an idol for some time. But even those who aren’t aware of Yunjin’s background will enjoy this highly unusual, mature, and thought-provoking song.

Domino — Itzy

ITZY "DOMINO" VIDEO | SPECIAL PRESENT FOR MIDZY

Taken from Itzy’s recent Checkmate album, this song is specifically written for fans of the group — also known as Midzy — but I included it here because it’s a great demonstration of Itzy’s range, as well as having a non-choreographed music video that’s perfect for fans of the group.

Since their debut in 2019, Itzy is better known for their powerful EDM, and while you can still hear an element of that in Domino, it combines it with an uplifting chorus and some really sweet lyrics. It’s excellent. If you want Itzy being more, well, Itzy, then our recommendation is to listen to Racer on the same album, preferably through Apple Music, where it sounds superb in Dolby Atmos and Lossless.

Time Out — Stray Kids

Stray Kids "Time Out" M/V

Summer idol songs are something to look forward to each year, and Time Out is an example of exactly how they should be produced. Tons of energy, a really catchy chorus, and most importantly, a music video with all the members enjoying themselves on the beach, plus outtakes at the end. If you’re new to Stray Kids, it’s a great introduction to the various vocal styles and singing voices that make up this eight-member boy band. It’s shockingly good fun.

Maybe — Jo Yuri

조유리 (JO YURI) - '모를 수도 있지만 (Maybe)' Official Music Video PREVIEW

It’s just a teaser to the whole song above, and to see the entire music video, you’ll have to download and use the Universe fandom app, then visit Yuri’s page, where the video is available to watch for free. This gentle, classic pop song suits the former Iz*One singer’s voice, and the melody’s springtime vibes are carried across in the cute video. Once you’ve listened, go and try Love Shhh! to hear Yuri sing a much more upbeat song.

Editors' Recommendations