Music Scene: 10 new releases in J- and K-pop, including from Arashi and Red Velvet

(From top) Japanese idol group Arashi and South Korean girl group Red Velvet released new music in the past month.
(From top) Japanese idol group Arashi and South Korean girl group Red Velvet released new music in the past month.PHOTOS: ARASHI/FACEBOOK, RED VELVET/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Winter melancholy and end-of-decade gratitude and reflection permeate numerous releases this month. The Straits Times highlights 10 new J-and K-pop releases in the past month.

DANCE POP

THE REVE FESTIVAL FINALE

Red Velvet

SM Entertainment

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

The five-piece girl group Red Velvet closed their trilogy of The Reve Festival EPs with The Reve Festival Finale. The lead single Psycho is a sultry dance track about a romantic infatuation.

Though their promotions for this track have been disrupted by member Wendy's injury - the 25-year-old sustained injuries to her face and fractured her pelvis and wrist after falling during a rehearsal - the track still debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's World Digital Song Sales chart.

SEASONAL

SWEATER

Ailee

Rocket3 Entertainment

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

K-pop diva Ailee, known for her powerful vocals, released a seasonal song for Christmas last month. The ballad Sweater - about missing a loved one - showcases the singer's range as she hits the high notes effortlessly. The song is available in English and Korean.

POP

FIRST COLLECTION

SF9

FNC Entertainment

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

K-pop boyband SF9's first full-length studio album in Korean leads with the dance-heavy track Good Guy, a suave and confident track blending synth beats with the use of the piano in its verses.

POP

365

Loona

Blockberry Creative

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

The 12-member girl group Loona released a track dedicated to their fans last month. The song, 365, promises that the group will "shine" on them.

The pop ballad is an easy listen, with a harmonious blend of vocals and soothing instrumental.

POP/R&B

WINTER BUTTERFLY

Hyuk (Vixx)

Jellyfish Entertainment

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

Boyband Vixx's vocalist Hyuk has branched out on his own for a solo EP. The title track Winter Butterfly is a warm and comforting ballad, featuring Hyuk's haunting vocals and lyrics he penned himself.

The EP is a five-track that showcases his ability not just to sing, but to also compose - the melodic duet If Only, performed with female singer An Daeun, is a standout.

POP

WHITE WINTER

Woojoo Jjokkomi

SM Entertainment

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

The newly formed Woojoo Jjokkomi is a collaboration between Super Junior's Heechul and comedian Lee Soo-geun, who joined forces for the simple ballad White Winter as part of SM Entertainment's digital music channel's project for the season.

The music video is a highlight as it features the JYP Entertainment girl group Itzy, of which Heechul has said he is a fan.

POP

MIXTAPE: GONE DAYS

Stray Kids

JYP Entertainment

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

Mixtape: Gone Days is a glib and rebellious takedown of the older generation stuck in the past, one that often starts sentences with the phrase "back in the day" unironically.

The eight-member Stray Kids proclaim in this track - which deftly uses autotune to distort members' voices for a playful, modern sound - that they are the new generation which will take responsibility for the future.

POP/HIP-HOP

UNSTABLE MINDSET

Younha

C9 Entertainment

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-WEeTsh-ls

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

The soloist Younha returns with a mini album - a five-track EP ranging in genres, with the track 26 having a punk element and One Day Of Twenty featuring a sweet mid-tempo sound.

The track with the most hype is Winter Flower, which features RM, the leader of BTS. He comes in mid-track with one of his signature raps, tackling the thorny issue of mental health.

ELECTROPOP

ARASHI: REBORN

Arashi

J Storm

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

The Japanese idol group Arashi have released a new version of their debut song A.Ra.Shi (1999). The new version is a remix with autotune and new lyrics clearly dedicated to long-time fans of the group, thanking them for being by the group's side.

A highlight is the music video that was created in a special collaboration with the hit anime series One Piece, featuring animated versions of the five members.

POP ROCK

WE DO

Ikimonogakari

Epic Records Japan

Hear it on: Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

We Do is three-piece pop-rock band Ikimonogakari's first full studio album in five years. It leads with the title track We Do, an uplifting number to get listeners' hearts pumping.

But it is the track Sayonara Seishun (Goodbye Youth) that tugs at the heartstrings. The ballad is a touching tribute to the band's days of adolescence and musical beginnings since their formation in 1999.