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CLC | © Cube Entertainment
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What They’re Listening To In South Korea In January

Picture of Ryan Kristobak
Music Editor
Updated: 6 January 2017
While K-pop is the dominating force in the South Korean music scene, just like any other location, there is a greater diversity than what is immediately shown. Here’s what’s hot in Korean music, inside and outside of the tide, throughout the month of January.


Rock outfit Day6 has two mini-albums (or as many commonly know them, EPs) under their belt, but instead of opting to simply push out their debut album in 2017, the group released an annual calendar of releases right before the turn of the year. Neatly titled “Every Day6,” the calendar shows that the band will be releasing something — a song, a music video, an album; it’s a surprise — on the sixth day of each month (save four dates), along with a number of accompanying concerts. First to make its debut was new track and video “I Wait(아 왜),” setting a high bar for the rest of the year.


One of the six members of the immensely popular boy band VIXX, rapper and producer Ravi is set to make his mini-album debut with R.EAL1ZE on Jan. 9. As the preview video shows, the mini-album’s seven tracks are a mixture of bass-heavy bangers, R&B-influenced slow jams, and radio-ready hip-pop concoctions.

Dream Catcher

Originally established in 2014 under the name Minx, the group re-formed late last year with two new members added to the original five, and is finally making its single debut, Nightmare, on Jan. 13. It’s clear that Dream Catcher is determined to be anything but your typical girl group from the preview video, the intro and second track, “Chase Me,” sporting some deep guitar chugs while still maintaining its pop edge, while the third track, “Emotion,” sounds like it was pulled out of the gilded girl group age of the ‘90s and early 2000s.

National Pigeon Unity

By marketing standards, National Pigeon Unity probably shouldn’t be your first choice of band name — or probably last. However, when you are capable of composing such tight, hammering rock as demonstrated on “Molotov Cocktail,” it’s easy to settle referring to them as NPU. The rest of their new album Hero, navigates many avenues of rock music, and while none of the other tracks cut quite as cleanly as the aforementioned track, there’s so much to love about what this duo is crafting.


While 2NE1 has always leaned heavier on hip hop and EDM than the bubblegum pop of their peers, few girl groups have made as significant of a global impact as them. Unfortunately, after the departure of member Minzy in April of 2016, the remaining three decided to call it quits a few months later. Yet, 2NE1 has decided to give their fans one last song before dissolving and putting their full focus on their solo careers. The aptly titled “Good Bye” arrives on Jan. 21, but for now, let’s revisit their 2011 breakthrough hit.


If you haven’t heard of Rain’s music, there’s a chance you’ve seen him in the cinema, having starred in such films as Ninja Assassin and Speed Racer. While it hasn’t been a four-year gap like his last return to music, Rain’s Jan. 15 comeback is a big one, boasting a collaboration with Psy titled “The Best Present.” Check out one of Rain’s more popular tracks below.


One of the most respected names in Korean underground hip hop (and the new defender of the country’s pride in the game), TakeOne dropped his most recent album, Green Ideology, on the last day of 2016, and it’s his most impressive and personal effort yet.


While CLC (CrystaL Clear) garnered significant praise for their debut mini-album and its leading track, “Pepe.” However, the girl group has failed to replicate their original success with their three follow-up EPs. On their fifth, titled Crystyle, the collective is revamping their style to showcase “a hip-hop feeling and a more charismatic and chic image.” The success of this shift will be determined come Jan. 17.

Eric Nam

Eric Nam is one of the country’s fastest rising stars, and with his imminent release with fellow Korean artist Tablo and 2016 Los Angeles breakout Gallant, his name is poised to break borderlines. Keep your eyes pealed for “Cave Me In” to debut at any time, and get hyped with the track’s preview below.


Pop/rock trio Seoulmoon are pretty new on the scene, but with the release of their stellar second single, “Mystery Girls Club,” it won’t take them long to build up a healthy fanbase. If this were a list of Korean artists to know in 2017, these girls would be right at the top.