SINGAPORE - The last month in both K- and J-pop has been an exciting one with highly anticipated outings from power K-pop couple Hyuna and Dawn and J-rock icon Miyavi. Check them out on streaming platforms such as YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.
The trailblazing, high-profile K-pop couple is now officially a duo in music as well, with the release of their first EP together.
The most heavily promoted track on the album is Ping Pong. The track has them bouncing their rap and vocal portions off each other with plenty of energy and chemistry. It is as if they took their over-the-top visual aesthetic - think piercings, dyed hair and exaggerated make-up - and drenched the track in it.
K-pop group Shinee member Key's album is a true gem. The opening title track shows how suited he is to retro, synth-heavy dance numbers. It is groovy and dramatic in its chorus, with space-age and science-fiction references in its music video.
Helium is another standout. The English song progresses in a captivating way, oscillating between Key's falsetto vocals and a distorted whisper.
Coldplay and BTS
One of the biggest releases in the past month is the collaboration between K-pop boy band BTS and British rock band Coldplay. While this may seem like a surprising combination, the two groups actually blend together really well.
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin's baritone complements the light timbre of Jungkook's voice as well as V's deep, soulful register, the latter two from BTS. The Korean lyrics and rap make for a good contrast against the euphoric English chorus.
Japanese musician Miyavi's new album departs from more traditional rock by mixing it with synthesizer pop.
Opening track New Gravity pairs his signature guitar-playing with his desperate, soaring vocals. This would be perfect as a video game theme - an idea that the music video plays on.
K-pop fans who are unfamiliar with Miyavi might want to check out his collaboration track Hush Hush with South Korean soloist Kang Daniel.
The Japanese city pop classic Plastic Love (1984) by Mariya Takeuchi gets a new spin courtesy of Japanese singer-songwriter eill. While the original felt more like a woman singing about the adventure and heartbreak of a night out on the town, eill's contemporary R&B version is more contemplative.