K-pop is constantly evolving, exploring new subgenres, and becoming more and more innovative every day. It’s clear that a new sound is emerging in K-pop: one that blends different tempos, rhythms, and melodies into a single song. It’s the musical equivalent of whiplash – in the best possible way! If you’re interested in expanding your K-pop horizons, look no further.
1. NMIXX – “OO”
NMIXX may have recently debuted, but that doesn’t mean they’re playing it safe when it comes to their debut track “OO,” which blends hip hop beats and electro-pop melodies to create the effect of three songs in one. The change of pace is totally addictive, as is the addition of the pop-rock guitar. They’re here to shake things up!
2. TXT – “Eternally”
“Eternally” is the perfect blend of what TXT does best and showcases the group’s versatility. It switches from a beautiful, ethereal melody with light vocals effortlessly to a hard alternative style so fast it will definitely give you a whiplash. It fits the bill, though, and the music video’s riveting storyline makes it that much better.
3. aespa – “Next Level”
aespa definitely didn’t pioneer this mixed style of K-pop, but they might be the ones to put it on the map. Its ultra-modern AI concept is a perfect fit for this type of music, as “Next Level” demonstrates. Going from a gritty hip hop sound to a smooth R&B beat and then back again, you’ll never get bored with this track.
4. EXO – “Tempo”
“Tempo” may have been released in 2018, but it still sounds totally modern. The song begins with a short harmonic run before jumping right into the peppy beat most fans associate with this song. Don’t be fooled though – it goes back to that ballad vibe, backed up by some seriously amazing jazz piano, before ending with a cool mix between the two styles.
5. TWICE – “LIKEY”
While it might not be a complete departure from the way some of the other songs on this list are, there’s still something addictive about the way “LIKEY” changes when the beat drops. From a bright, bubblegum sound to a smooth hip hop beat, the rap section stands out in the best way. I wish there were more!
6. NCT U – “Make A Wish”
Released as part of NCT’s second full group album, “Make A Wish” definitely brings out the best of the group’s hip hop-based sound and amazing vocal ballads. This song features a whistle you just won’t be able to get out of your head, as well as a bridge with vocals so beautiful they could give you goosebumps.
7. ITZY – “24HRS”
If there was one song that could really give you whiplash, it might simply be “24HRS”. This song starts with a heavy beat so strong you can feel it, and changes to the sweetest bubblegum sound, so you’ll suddenly wonder if you accidentally skipped to the next track. You may not think it will sound good, but it’s better than good, it’s amazing!
8. BTS – “Interlude: Shadow”
Suga’s solo song as part of BTS’s larger “Map of the Soul” album series, this song is a tour de force in K-pop rap. It starts off with a fairly simple rap line and some smooth vocals, but changes into a chaotic track that seems almost beatless. Suga follows the beat in a way that he feels like he’s doing his own, which makes it even cooler!
What is your favorite song from this list? Tell us in the comments below!
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