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K-pop Weekly: BTS’s RM releases solo, KARA makes 15th anniversary comeback, fourth gen wins big awards

BTS’ RM, JYP Entertainment’s ITZY and SM Entertainment’s Red Velvet all made comebacks this week, but there were a good handful of other noteworthy releases, namely KARA’s 15th anniversary return. This week also saw two big award shows, the Melon Music Awards and the MAMA Music Awards, give out prizes to varying artists, including BTS, IVE and TWICE’s Nayeon.   

Music Releases Nov. 28, Monday

OnlyOneOf member Mill is the latest in the group to release a single. “Beat” is the title track for his single album “undergrOund idOl #5.” 

ITZY smiles like a ‘Cheshire’ for new comeback album

  • JYP Entertainment girl group ITZY released their new mini-album “Cheshire” on Wednesday, led by a title track of the same name.
  • ITZY corresponded with NextShark over email about their new album and their recent FIFA World Cup commercial for McDonald’s.
  • “Cheshire” was co-written by Justin Reinstein, who previously worked on NMIXX’s “Funky Glitter Christmas” and the TWICE album “Between 1&2.”
  • The album includes the B-sides Snowy,” “Freaky” and the previously released English-language single“Boys Like You.”
  • The group debuted “Cheshire” live on stage for the first time on Wednesday during the 2022 MAMA Awards, in which they were nominated for Artist of the Year, Worldwide Fans’ Choice Top 10 and Best Female Group.

K-pop girl group ITZY has dominated this year. 

Last month, they wrapped up their sold-out CHECKMATE world tour. In July, they dropped their fifth mini-album of the same name led by the title track “Sneakers.” The album skyrocketed to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart, marking their first placement in the top 10 and cementing them as only the fourth K-pop girl group to do so. In August, they headlined KCON LA 2022, joining an all-star assembly of K-pop acts. 

K-pop Weekly: Queen BoA returns, NMIXX gets glittery, BTS’s RM reveals album tracklist and featured artists

Happy holidays! This week was a bit lighter on music, but there were still a handful of noteworthy releases, starting with the long-awaited return of K-pop queen BoA and her album “Forgive Me.” KANGDANIEL released a repackage album titled “The Story : RETOLD,” and NMIXX got the Christmas season started early with their first holiday single, “Funky Glitter Christmas.”  

Music Releases Nov. 22, Tuesday BoA, the “Queen of K-pop,” has returned after two years with new album “Forgive Me” and its title track of the same name. The album also includes the B-sides “Zip,” “Sketch,” “After,” Midnight” and “Hope.” Half of the album was co-written and co-composed by BoA. 

K-pop star AleXa dishes on being ‘Back In Vogue,’ her viral pride flag moment

  • K-pop soloist AleXa released her first EP “Girls Gone Vogue” on Nov. 11, a six-song album led by the title track “Back In Vogue.”
  • AleXa spoke with NextShark on Monday to discuss her album, her first U.S. tour and her viral support for the LGBTQIA community.
  • Earlier this year, AleXa won the inaugural season of the Eurovision-inspired competition “American Song Contest,” hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dog.
  • She debuted as a soloist in 2019 with the track “Bomb” and gained popularity after winning Soompi’s “Rising Legends” contest and competing on Mnet’s “Produce 48.”

Korean American K-pop soloist AleXa is closing out her whirlwind of a year with her first EP, “Girls Gone Vogue.”

In May, the “Bomb” singer won the inaugural season of the Eurovision-inspired NBC competition show “American Song Contest,” beating out over 50 other vocalists with her original hit song “Wonderland” and becoming a household name. 

16-year-old member of global girl group XG takes over TikTok with her stunning trilingual rap

  • A trilingual rap from 16-year-old rookie idol Cocona of Japanese girl group XG has gone viral on TikTok.
  • The rap, which features all-original lyrics in English, Korean and Japanese, is part of a newly released music video titled “[XG TAPE #2] GALZ XYPHER” featuring XG’s rap line: members Jurin, Harvey, Maya and Cocona.
  • TikTok user @xg_stan posted the clip of Cocona’s verses and amassed over 6.2 million views and 1 million likes, with many other users posting their reactions to the clip.
  • XG, short for Xtraordinary Girls, is an all-Japanese girl group based in South Korea.
  • They are composed of members Jurin, Chisa, Hinata, Juria, Cocona, Maya and Harvey.

Cocona of rookie Japanese girl group XG has gone viral on TikTok for her trilingual rap from the group’s newly released video “[XG TAPE #2] GALZ XYPHER.”

A TikTok video posted by user @xg_stan on Nov. 17 shows a clip of Cocona’s rap, where she spits fast bars in English, Japanese and Korean. The clip has amassed 6.3 million views and over 1 million likes, surpassing the actual YouTube video itself, which has over 1.7 million views.  


Rats observed bopping to the beat of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ in Japanese study

lady gaga rat
  • Japanese scientists at the University of Tokyo have discovered that rats can move to the beat of catchy songs, an ability previously attributed only to humans
  • The researchers attached movement sensors to rodents and made them listen to four different tempos of Mozart’s “Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K.448,” in addition to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”
  • The rats were observed moving in-sync with the music and appeared to exhibit some predictive processing.
  • The scientists noted that the movements were the most obvious for music in the range of 120-140 beats per minute, the same range people respond to.

Rats move their bodies to the beat of catchy music just like people, Japanese researchers have found.

The research team at the University of Tokyo arrived at the conclusion after observing how the rodents respond to music by Mozart, Queen and Lady Gaga. For the study, the scientists attached small sensors to rats to detect their movements while listening to music.

Elena Moon Park is sharing Asian culture through children’s music the whole family can enjoy

Elena Moon Park, a musician, educator and producer based in Brooklyn, New York City, is connecting the Asian diaspora through all-ages music and global cultural exchange.

Having released “Rabbit Days and Dumplings” (2012) and “Unhurried Journey” (2020) – two full albums of original songs and reimagined folk and children’s songs from East Asia –  Elena performs with fellow musicians as Elena Moon Park and Friends for families across the U.S. During quarantine, she even put on virtual “Stay at Home” concerts for schools from her Brooklyn apartment.

Discover Spill tab: the LA-based French Korean indie-pop sensation here to make music and eat cheese

L.A. based French Korean artist Spill tab put on an electrifying performance to kick off Day 2 of the Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival, thrilling longtime fans and enticing festival stragglers hypnotized by the sound of her blissful bedroom pop.

Spill tab’s EPs “Oatmilk” (2020) and “Bonnie” (2021) made their way into my playlist as I joined her over 750,000 monthly Spotify listeners in the weeks leading up to ACL. Having just completed her “Big Juicy” tour the day before, Spill tab — who was born Claire Chicha — was scheduled to perform early that Saturday, gracing the Miller Lite Stage just an hour after the festival had opened. I made my way over about half an hour early and found a small crowd of Spill tab fans already there, willingly bearing the sweltering heat of a high-noon Texas sun to be on the rail and watch her conduct sound checks.

Korean American rapper Jessi slams European tour organizer for leaving her stranded overnight in Paris

  • Korean American rapper Jessi revealed on social media that she and her mother were left stranded overnight in Paris without a hotel room due to mismanagement by her European tour organizer.
  • She also alleges she had to arrange and pay for her own transportation from her London show to Paris.
  • Jessi addressed her fans at her Paris show, calling out the tour organizer and calling him “a f*cking coward.”
  • At her London show, she also revealed she has been going through mental health issues after having recently lost a close friend and aims to seek help after the tour is finished.

South Korean rapper Jessi called out her European tour organizer for poor management after being stranded in Paris overnight. 

The soloist is currently on her five-city “Beyond Your Imagination” tour, which started in Berlin on Oct. 8. Following her concert in London on Oct. 10, Jessi shared to her Instagram story that was stuck in the city and paying her own way to get to her next show in Paris. When she arrived in Paris, she posted another Instagram story revealing she was stranded in the city without a hotel reservation. 

All DAY6 members renew their contracts with JYP Entertainment

  • All four members of the South Korean boy group DAY6 have renewed their contracts with JYP Entertainment.
  • Since DAY6 debuted under JYP Entertainment in September 2015, the recent news breaks the notorious “7-year curse” that several K-pop groups have faced.
  • Members Wonpil, Dowoon and Young K are currently completing their mandatory military service.
  • Leader Sungjin recently made his first public appearance since his military discharge, celebrating DAY6’s seventh anniversary with fans.
  • Wonpil, Dowoon and Young K, who make up the subunit DAY6 (Even Of Day), released “Darling of the Beach” in August, which was filmed and recorded prior to their military enlistment.

All four members of the South Korean boy group DAY6 have renewed their contracts with longtime label JYP Entertainment. 

JYP Entertainment told outlets on Monday that members Young K, Wonpil, Sungjin and Dowoon are sticking with them for the foreseeable future.

BLACKPINK make history with first-ever No. 1 album debut on Billboard 200

  • K-pop girl group BLACKPINK landed their first ever No. 1 album debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart with “Born Pink.”
  • The new album reached 102,000 album units sold in the U.S. last week, making BLACKPINK the first girl group to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 since Danity Kane with “Welcome to the Dollhouse” in 2008.
  • BLACKPINK are also the first girl group to debut at the top of both the Billboard 200 and official U.K. charts simultaneously since Destiny’s Child 21 years ago.
  • The YG Entertainment quartet are set to embark on their world tour spanning seven months in over 25 cities, starting in Seoul in October.

BLACKPINK have “Shut Down” the Billboard 200 albums chart with their first album to debut at No. 1, “Born Pink.”

To achieve the Billboard milestone, BLACKPINK’s second studio album reached 102,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. last week. This makes BLACKPINK the first girl group to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in any country since 2008’s Danity Kane with “Welcome to the Dollhouse.”

EXO’s Lay Zhang, Amber Liu of f(x), ØZI, Tia Ray, Sury Su and more to perform at inaugural MetaMoon Music Festival

  • The inaugural MetaMoon Music Festival will bring the likes of EXO’s Lay Zhang, Amber Liu of f(x) and other Asian artists from all over the United States and Asia together at the Barclays Center in New York City on Nov. 26.
  • Leading up to the festival will be the MetaMoon Food Crawl starting on Nov. 1, where food lovers can explore local Asian-owned restaurants, all of which will donate to Heart of Dinner, a nonprofit organization combating food insecurity and isolation within New York City’s elderly Asian community.
  • On the day of the festival will be the MetaMoon Market, featuring a slew of Asian-owned businesses and brands.
  • Founded by Graceful Media in collaboration with LiveNation, the MetaMoon Music Festival mission aims to “bridge the gap between Asia and the US and showcase the fact that pop culture and music are universal languages that can foster a stronger understanding.”

The first-ever MetaMoon Music Festival at Barclays Center in New York City on Nov. 26 will be headlined by Lay Zhang of EXO. 

Newly announced talents Amber Liu of f(x), Chinese R&B singer-songwriter Tia Ray and Hong Kong-based indie artist Tyson Yoshi will join previously announced artists Sury Su, 9m88, Karencici and ØZI. The event will be hosted by MC Jin.