We ‘Talk That Talk’ About these Summer K-pop Releases


Courtesy of Steven Anthony Hammock on Wikimedia Commons

Korean pop girl group TWICE performs “Scientist” at the Dickies Arena in Texas during the TWICE Fourth World Tour “III” in February. Over the past few years, K-pop has become an international sensation. TWICE is the first K-pop girl group to headline and sell out a U.S. stadium.

What do “Red Flavor,” “Alcohol-Free” and “Ko Ko Bop” have in common? For avid Korean pop fans, the answer is clear: all were iconic summer K-pop songs. With the intense heat that we are facing recently, the upbeat energy of new K-pop songs are able to refresh us like no other.

In the following review, we will evaluate some of the most popular K-pop releases of the summer. 

“Talk That Talk” by TWICE

Bubbly synth-pop track “Talk That Talk” by K-pop girl group TWICE is a lighthearted song about wanting more from a romantic partner. However, the track sounds very similar to many of their other songs such as “The Feels” and “Feel Special,” with the use of a heavy synthesizer and bassline along with a bit of syncopation. While the song is very upbeat and catchy, it is exactly what we expected out of a TWICE song, and we hoped that the group would have experimented more with different genres such as R&B and alternative. 

“After LIKE” by IVE

Simple. Beautiful. Elegant. DISCO. IVE does it again with its new hit. “After LIKE” emphasizes the feeling of intense euphoria of falling in love — just like how we fell for this song. Traditional elements of a 70s disco song like a guitar bassline and repetitive vocals — with an electronic twist — give the song a modern house vibe. This unique and tasty blend of music brings the song its upbeat and mysterious energy, and we can’t help but sing along. It also pays homage to Gloria Gaynor’s popular disco hit “I Will Survive” by sampling the famous instrumentals in the post-chorus. 

“Pink Venom” by BLACKPINK

Let’s face it: “Pink Venom” sucks. It is the musical equivalent of eating overcooked cookies – all the excitement just fades away when you realize how dry and brittle the song truly is. From the repetitive and nonsensical chorus to the year-long wait for this release, this song is a disappointment. Although Lisa and Jennie’s 90s-inspired rapping and traditional Korean instruments bring a bit of spark to the song, underwhelming lyrics such as “Woah, woah, woah” and “Taste that Pink Venom” completely drown the flame. The soft, melodic vocal verses completely work against the traditional hip hop rhythm, leading to the overall sluggish and messy vibe of the song. 

“Gasoline” by KEY

The lead dancer of iconic K-pop boy group SHINee is back with his newest dance anthem “Gasoline,” and it does not let us down. Similar to modern hip-hop songs like “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow and “Hot” by Young Thug and Gunna, the strong trumpets and short percussive rhythm at the start of the song immediately captivated our attention. After the second chorus, KEY sings with a lighter falsetto, building anticipation where we can’t help but sit on the edge of our seats. With lyrics such as “These threats fuel my evolution, tiptoe to the very edge and light up the flame,” KEY exudes confidence, and we are here for it.