meta-scriptTXT, Seventeen, Loona & More: Here Are All The K-Pop Tours And Events You Can Catch This Summer | GRAMMY.com
TXT, Seventeen, Loona & More: Here Are All The K-Pop Tours And Events You Can Catch This Summer
TXT perform at the release showcase of 'miniside 2: Thursday's Child' in Seoul, South Korea, in May 2022.

Photo: The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

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TXT, Seventeen, Loona & More: Here Are All The K-Pop Tours And Events You Can Catch This Summer

Whether you want to take a trip to Kwangya with aespa, visit the Loonaverse or just put your Head in the Clouds, plan out your summer with these K-pop events and tours in mind.

GRAMMYs/Jun 15, 2022 - 02:52 pm

After two years of K-pop concert drought, it seems like 2022 is the year the genre returns to the stage. K-pop acts like BTS, TWICE, ATEEZ, Monsta X, ONEUS and more have already showered the United States with residencies and tours in the first half, setting the stage — literally — of what else is to come from other labels for the rest of the year.

Now that we're halfway through the year, Korean music and entertainment has continued to successfully confirm its global status by the amount of events already happening in North America. In the United States alone, more than a dozen events are scheduled throughout the summer starting in June. From showcases, to meet-and-greet concerts, conventions, festivals and full-on arena tours, K-pop isn't holding back and only building anticipation for both artists and fans alike. 

To ring in the summer, GRAMMY.com gathered all of the concerts and events happening in North America between mid-June and August so you can plan when to catch some of your favorite K-pop artists.

June

DKB: 2022 DKB MEET & LIVE U.S. TOUR, June 10-19

K-pop concert production company Studio PAV is bringing Brave Entertainment's nine-piece ensemble DKB to the U.S. for the first time with a six-date tour. Opening night kicks off at the Brooklyn Monarch in New York on June 10 followed by five stops that will eventually end at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, on June 19. 

DKB — short for "Dark Brown Eyes" — debuted in February 2020 with members E-Chan, D1, Teo, Lune, Heechan, Junseo, Yuku, and Harry Jun.

AB6IX: "AB_NEW AREA" Fanmeeting Tour, June 20 - July 1

The six-stop Fanmeeting Tour will consist of games and a concert — similar to Korean variety shows, but in real time, featuring members Woong, Donghyun, Woojin, and Daehwi. Starting off on June 20 at New York's Webster Hall, the tour then heads west to conclude at El Rey Theater in Los Angeles on July 1.

Read More: 5 K-Pop Songwriters & Producers Who Defined 2021: SUMIN, Teddy Park, ADORA, RM & SUGA

KTOWN Night Market: Los Angeles, June 17 & 18

Ringing in its sixth year in the heart of Los Angeles' very own Koreatown, KTOWN Night Market offers pieces of the Korean diaspora through the forms of food, culture, fashion and, of course, music. Partnering with K-Pop Play Fest, K-pop star and 2NE1 member MINZY headlines the first night as Korean-American rapper Ted Park closes out on Sunday. You can also find the talents of Hyejin, FYKE and dance crews like LALARY and Team B.U.K. throughout the weekend.

Golden Child: Meet & Live Tour in USA, June 24 - July 11

Ten-member ensemble Golden Child brings their bass-heavy EDM sound and complex choreography to the States for a 10-city meet and greet and live concert tour will let fans get to know Daeyeol, Y, Jangjun, Tag, Seungmin, Jaehyun, Jibeom, Donghyun, Joochan, and Bomin through fan engagement opportunities on top of the fanmeeting concert.The Meet & Live kicks off in San Jose, Calif., on June 24 and concludes in Philadelphia, Penn., on July 11.

BROOKLYN: "I'M GONNA LOVE YOU" TOUR, June 25 - July 16

After sharing the stages with boy bands like A.C.E. and soloist Amber Liu, one of K-pop's modern rock stars, BROOKLYN, is set to make a second round of shows in the U.S. Opening night kicks off at Independence Park in Houston, Tex. on June 25, followed by stops in Orlando, Miami and San Diego.

aespa: aespa Showcase SYNK in LA, June 26 & 27

Following their U.S. performance debut at Coachella in April, Karina, Giselle, Winter and Ningning will hold their first showcase at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif., on June 26 and 27. (Initially scheduled for just June 26, a second day of the showcase was added after the first sold out in minutes.) SM Entertainment's youngest girl group is ready to show off their futuristic pop concepts through their music and a Q&A portion for fans. 

Dreamcatcher: "Apocalypse: Save Us" World Tour, June 28 - July 17

Marking their second tour in the US since late 2019, Dreamcatcher — JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Handong, Yoohyeon, Dami and Gahyeon — return to North America with their Apocalypse: Save Us World Tour. 

Fresh off their European festival debut at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Dreamcatcher is ready to bring in the rock-heavy sounds to the stages in New York, Louisville, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The first night of the tour kicks off on June 28 at the Palladium Theater in the heart of New York's Times Square, and ends at The Wiltern in downtown Los Angeles.

Stray Kids: 2nd World Tour "MANIAC," June 28 - July 14

Just months after debuting at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 with their new EP, Ordinary, Stray Kids will return to the States for their third tour, titled after their recent hit single "Maniac."

Originally kicking off in Seoul back in April, Stray Kids made their way stateside after a two-night show in Tokyo in early June. The 12-stop sold out arena tour kicks off at Newark's Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, and concludes in Anaheim, California on July 20. Following the U.S. leg, the group heads back to Tokyo, Japan for another two-night show in the Japanese capital.

Read More: 5 Rising Korean Artists To Know Now: STAYC, ENHYPEN, ITZY, TOMORROW X TOGETHER & ATEEZ

July

TXT: "ACT: LOVE SICK" World Tour, July 7-24

Leading K-pop's fourth generation, TXT (short for Tomorrow x Together) graces U.S. cities for the whole month of July with their eight-stop ACT: Lovesick Tour. The last time the monster group made its way stateside was in 2019 for their showcase tour. 

Now with three studio albums and five EPs under their belt, TXT — Soobin, Yeonjun, Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Huening Kai — will likely perform hits like "Blue Hour," "Good Boy Gone Bad," and the viral hit "Anti-romantic." ACT: Lovesick starts in Chicago on July 7 and ends in Los Angeles on July 24.

Brave Girls: Brave Girls 1st US Tour, July 9-23

After their 2014 hit "ROLLIN'" resurfaced on the charts and went viral last year — on top of a successful run on reality competition show Queendom 2 — Brave Girls are set to go on their first-ever U.S. tour, starting July 9 in Philadelphia followed by eight more stops across the states.

Summerstage: Korea Gayoje, July 10

Sponsored by CitiBank in association with the Korean Cultural Center New York, Central Park will bring the K-pop party with KOREA GAYOJE on July 10. Celebrating Korean culture through food and entertainment, the day ends with a concert led by Brave Girls, Golden Child and AleXa. 

(G)I-DLE: "JUST ME ()I-DLE" World Tour, July 22 - Aug. 14

Originally set to have a tour in 2020, Cube Entertainment's leading girl group (G)I-DLE are reigniting their tour plans with their Just Me tour. Barging in the year with a wild and edgy image, their recent hit "TOMBOY" and "My Bag" have already set the tone on how much the group has transformed and matured since their last visit to the U.S. In 2019. Breezing through eight cities, — including a venue upgrade in New York — the quintet will also make stops in Mexico and Chile.

Otakon: K-Pop Night, July 29-31

Debuting their K-pop Concert Night with AleXa, Pixy and Rolling Quartz, those who are fans of Asian pop culture are able to get a listen of what the variety of sounds K-pop has to offer. NBC's 'American Song Contest' champion AleXa will bring in the futuristic pop with songs like "Wonderland," "Revolution" and "Xtra." Rising pop stars PIXY will showcase their whimsical performances, and rock band Rolling Quartz will provide some edge.

Lollapalooza: July 29-31

For the first time in Lollapalooza history, this year's festival will feature K-pop artists on its stages. Following the U.S. leg of their tour, TXT will make their music festival debut on Saturday, July 30, at the Solana x Perry's stage at 7:45 pm CT. Fellow HYBE artist and global icon j-hope of BTS closes out the Bud Light Seltzer stage at 9 p.m. CT on July 31.

Read More: BTS Announces Hiatus To Focus On RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimi, V, And Jungkook's Solo Projects, Days After The Release Of 'Proof'

August

LOONA: 2022 LOONA "LOONATHEWORLD" 1st World Tour, Aug. 1-19

Perhaps one of the most-anticipated girl-group concerts of the year, LOONA is set to share a part of their Loonaverse with their fans (better known as Orbit). Since their last appearance at KCON LA in 2019, Hyunjin, Haseul, Yeojin, ViVi, Heejin, Kim Lip, Jinsoul, Choerry, Yves, Go Won, and Olivia Hye will touch down in eight new cities for the first time: San Francisco, Denver, Kansas City, Chicago, Louisville, Reading, Washington DC and New York. 

Unfortunately, due to schedule conflict, member Chuu will not be able to participate in the group's US leg of tour.

SEVENTEEN: "BE THE SUN" World Tour, Aug. 10 - Sept. 6

Considered to be the "HOT"-test concert of this K-pop summer, thirteen-member ensemble SEVENTEEN is about to set the stages ablaze in a 12-stop tour across North American with The Behind the Sun Tour. Carats in the U.S. will be able to catch S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino in the flesh as they perform hits like "Left & Right", "Darl+ing," "Rock With You" and many more.

Head In The Clouds: Pasadena, CA, Aug. 19-21

After 88rising made headlines with an abundant set of Asian talent at this year's Coachella, the music company's own Head in the Clouds festival will return to the Rose Bowl grounds in Pasadena, Calif. Advocating and showcasing Asian talent, it's a no-brainer for Korean musical acts to make this year's festival roster. This year, artists like Chung Ha and Jay Park make their HITC debut while we see the returns of eaJ, R&B songstress BIBI, rap legends Tiger JK and Yoon Mirae.

KCON: Los Angeles, CA, Aug. 19-21

Celebrating its 10th year, the "All Things Hallyu" convention is set to take place on Aug. 19 through Aug. 21 at the Los Angeles Convention Center and Crypto.com Arena. Arguably the mecca of every K-pop and K-drama lover, KCON has provided a variety of ways for fans to see their favorites in person.

From fan signings, high touches and other forms of engagement — as well as a two-night concert in the evenings — KCON has become a must for all walks of life. Though the official lineup hasn't been announced, eager attendees are anticipating a superstar roster as the event commemorates its decade-long run.

MCND: MCND American Tour 2022, Aug. 22-31

Debuting in 2020 under TOP Entertainment with their single "Ice Age," Castle J, Bic, Minjae, Huijun, and Win — better known as MCND — will hold their first tour in North America. Starting off in Mexico City on August 22, the K-pop five-piece will hold four shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. The group will then conclude their North American tour with a stop in Toronto on August 31.

Why Is BTS So Popular? 9 Questions About The K-Pop Phenoms Answered

30 Must-Hear Albums Coming Out In 2024: Green Day, Usher, Tyla & More
(Top row) Joe Talbot of IDLES, Tyla, ITZY (Middle) Kali Uchis, Usher, Green Day (Bottom) Sheryl Crow, Dua Lipa, Jacob Collier

Photos: (Top) Matthew Baker/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; JYP Entertainment (Middle) ANGELA WEISS via AFP/Getty Images; Scott Legato/Getty Images for iHeartRadio; Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Amazon Music (Bottom) Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Araya Doheny/FilmMagic; Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

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30 Must-Hear Albums Coming Out In 2024: Green Day, Usher, Tyla & More

Record releases in 2024 run the gamut, from debut albums to highly-anticipated sophomore efforts and a slew of promising comebacks. Read on for GRAMMY.com's guide to albums coming out in 2024, including releases from (G)I-dle, Kali Uchis and Dua Lipa.

GRAMMYs/Jan 2, 2024 - 05:39 pm

The beginning of a new year is always a hopeful time. We wonder what awaits next, hope for better things to come, and trace goals to improve our lives. And through all these moments, music follows us as the soundtrack to a movie. 

2023 came with plenty of fantastic tunes, and 2024 is shaping up to be just as great. Right from the get-go in January, punk legends Green Day will release Saviors, while Kali Uchis will come forward with her second Spanish album, Orquídeas. Art-rock band The Smile will bring us  Wall of Eyes, and K-pop girl groups (G)I-dle and ITZY are also slated for new releases.

In February, Alabama Shakes’s Brittany Howard and country darling Gabby Barrett will both release their sophomore LPs, What Now and Chapter & Verse, respectively. Later on, Usher will return to the stage with Coming Home, and J.Lo will finally drop This Is Me… Now, the sequel to 2002’s This Is Me… Then.

Starting March, we can expect Bleachers' eponymous new album, the debut LP of South African revelation Tyla, Lenny Kravitz’s Blue Electric Light, and more — maybe even Dua Lipa’s long-awaited third album?

As you gear up for the new year, below is a guide to 30 highly anticipated albums coming out in 2024 that will inspire you even more.

(G)I-dle - TBA

Release date: TBA

Although there’s barely any info out there, (G)I-dle’s label Cube Entertainment confirmed to news outlet Ilgan Sports that the K-pop quintet intends to release their second full album in January.

The new album follows a slate of 2022 releases: EPs I Love and I Feel, and their first studio album, I Never Die. Known for self-produced, challenging concepts, the group had a stellar 2023 with the success of "Queencard," which topped several Korean charts and was one of the year’s most influential K-pop songs.

ITZY - Born To Be

Release date: Jan. 8

K-pop girl group ITZY have been dropping teasers to their third studio album, Born To Be, like breadcrumbs. They first released an eponymous single on Dec. 18, which will then be followed by "Mr. Vampire" on Jan. 2, and finally by the lead track, "Untouchable," on Jan. 8.

With 10 tracks, Born To Be marks the first time ITZY will release solo songs by each member (including Lia, who is currently in a health-related hiatus), and the first time all members participated in writing and composition. To celebrate the release, the group will embark on a world tour, starting in Seoul on Feb. 24.

Kali Uchis - Orquídeas

Release date: Jan. 11

Less than a year after the release of Red Moon in Venus, Colombian American singer Kali Uchis is back — this time with Orquídeas, her second Spanish-language album (fourth in total), set to drop on Jan. 11.

"The orchid is the national flower of Colombia, and we have more species of orchid than anywhere on earth," Uchis said in a statement. "I always felt distinctly intrigued and magnetized by the flower. This album is inspired by the timeless, eerie, mystic, striking, graceful and sensual allure of the orchid. With this vast scope of fresh energy, I wish to redefine the way we look at Latinas in music."

To give a taste of how this redefinition will sound like, the singer has shared three singles so far: "Muñekita" with Dominican rapper El Alfa and JT from City Girls, "Te Mata," and "Labios Mordidos" with Karol G.

Kid Cudi - Insano

Release date: Jan. 12

Kid Cudi's new album has been teased for most of 2023, ending up postponed for January. "I’m sorry for the delay everybody, but I’m a perfectionist. And things gotta be right," the rapper shared on X in September. But as the new year approaches, it looks like Insano will finally see the light of the day.

Carrying a stacked lineup of guest appearances — including Travis Scott, Pharrell Williams and A$AP RockyInsano will have more than 40 songs "between the main album and deluxe(s)," according to the rapper. "I wanted to make something undeniable and change my entire live experience. This album was made for tour next year. Get ready," he added.

Until then, you can listen to singles "Porsche Topless," "At The Party" with Travis Scott and Pharrell and "Ill What I Bleed."

Ana Tijoux - VIDA

Release date: Jan. 18

Chilean-French singer Ana Tijoux is set to release VIDA, her first album in nine years, next month. The record is her sixth studio effort, and follows 2014’s Vengo.

With the announcement, the hip-hop musician also shared reggaeton fusion single "Niñx," which was "born as a manifesto to the child we all have inside of us," she explained in a press release. "That living being that is capable of dreaming and building infinite castles of humanity and love."

In October came second single "Tania," which pays homage to her late sister. Both songs were produced by longtime collaborator Andrés Celis. Recently, Tijoux announced that she will go on her first U.S. tour since 2018, as well as a string of dates across Europe and a performance at Lollapalooza Chile.

Green Day - Saviors

Release date: Jan 19

According to a statement, "Saviors is an invitation into Green Day’s brain, their collective spirit as a band, and an understanding of friendship, culture and legacy of the last 30 plus years." The album is their 14th studio release, and follows 2020’s Father Of All Motherf—ers.

As of its contents, the pop-punk trio promises to approach "power pop, punk, rock, indie triumph" and varied themes like "disease, war, inequality, influencers, yoga retreats, alt right, dating apps, masks," and more. "It's raw and emotional. Funny and disturbing. It’s a laugh at the pain, weep in the happiness kind of record," they shared further.

Set to embark on a stadium tour starting May 2024, Green Day dropped three singles off the album to amp up the excitement: "The American Dream Is Killing Me," "Look Ma, No Brains!" and "Dilemma."

Neck Deep - Neck Deep

Release date: Jan. 19

"We’re so stoked to announce our new self-made, self-titled record," Neck Deep vocalist Ben Barlow shared in a statement. "With a return to roots approach, we made this record ourselves at our warehouse in North Wales, with Seb [Barlow, bass] at the helm, and the rest of us over his shoulder, like it was at the start."

This is the Welsh pop-punks’ fifth album, and sees the quintet "knowing ourselves and knowing our ability," explains Barlow. "It’s unapologetically us. We’re professional songwriters now and we’ve really honed in on what we’re good at — but it’s also about having fun and enjoying writing these tracks. And there are those little sonic signatures in the mix that even I can’t really put my finger on that just make it Neck Deep."

Out of 10 tracks, the band shared "Heartbreak of the Century," "Take Me With You," "It Won't Be Like This Forever," and "We Need More Bricks" as singles. One week after the album release, they will kick off a U.S. tour that runs throughout February.

Sleater-Kinney - Little Rope

Release date: Jan. 19

How do you navigate grief? This is a question that rock duo Sleater-Kinney (formed by Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) attempts to explore in Little Rope, their 11th studio album.

In August 2022, Brownstein lost both her mother and stepfather in a car accident while they were vacationing in Italy. In the following months, she turned to her guitar to process the pain. "I don’t think I’ve played guitar that much since my teens or early twenties," she said in a press release. "Literally moving my fingers across the fretboard for hours on end to remind myself I was still capable of basic motor skills, of movement, of existing."

And so Little Rope slowly took shape — a record that "careens headfirst into flaw, into brokenness, a meditation on what living in a world of perpetual crisis has done to us, and what we do to the world in return."

Philip Glass - Philip Glass Solo

Release date: Jan 26

Legendary pianist and composer Philip Glass will release a new piano album in January, called Philip Glass Solo. The collection is described in a statement as "an intimate portrait" of the 84-year-old musician, where he "takes a new look at some of his most enduring and beloved piano works."

Recorded during 2020-2021 in New York, when he spent days at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Glass adds in the same statement that this album is "a document on my current thinking about the music" and that "the listener may hear the quiet hum of New York in the background or feel the influence of time and memory that this space affords."

The album features seven of his best, most renowned oeuvres, like the "Metamorphosis" series, the 1978 organ piece for the Dalai Lama "Mad Rush," and a reworked version of "Truman Sleeps" from the 1998 film The Truman Show.

The Smile - Wall of Eyes

Release date: Jan. 26

Comprising Radiohead members Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke with drummer Tom Skinner, The Smile received critical acclaim with their 2022 debut LP, A Light For Attracting Attention. On Jan. 26, they'll release sophomore album Wall of Eyes.

Wall of Eyes was recorded in Oxford and at the Abbey Road Studios, and produced and mixed by Sam Petts-Davies. A first single,  "Bending Hectic," was released in June featuring strings by the London Contemporary Orchestra, followed by the album’s title track in November. The trio will kick off an European tour in March 2024.

Brittany Howard - What Now

Release date: Feb 2

It’s been four years since the release of her soulful solo debut, Jaime, and Brittany Howard is finally ready to welcome us into her life’s new chapter. What Now is a 12-track collection recorded at the Sound Emporium and RCA Studio B in her hometown of Nashville.

The Alabama Shakes singer/songwriter also shared an eponymous lead single, which she described as "the truest and bluest of all the songs" in a statement. "It’s never my design to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I needed to say what was on my mind without editing myself. I like how it’s a song that makes you want to dance, but at the same time the lyrics are brutal."

In support of the album, Howard will embark on a U.S. tour with L'Rain and Becca Mancari starting February. She also shared second single "Red Flags" in November.

Gabby Barrett - Chapter & Verse

Release date: Feb 2

Chapter & Verse is the upcoming sophomore album by country star Gabby Barrett, due out Feb. 2. Written by Barrett and co-produced by Ross Copperman, the LP's 13 tracks document her journey as a singer, wife, and mother of (almost) three.

Barrett shared singles "Glory Days," "Cowboy Back," and most recently the ballad "Growin’ Up Raising You." On Instagram, she explained that the latter is "a very sensitive song for me," as it was written based on the experience of raising her firstborn, Baylah. "I’m only 23. I don’t have all the answers to everything. I have not got everything figured out. I am doing the best that I can while trying to raise other people to be the best people that they can be."

Zara Larsson - Venus

Release date: Feb. 9

According to a press release, Zara Larsson’s upcoming Venus is "a pop album fit for a goddess." It is said to find the Swedish singer "setting her own agenda – in part, by looking back on where she’s come from."

This is Larsson’s fourth studio album in total, and her third international one. In an interview with Billboard, she shared that Venus isn’t constricted to one single genre, and that "the real thread throughout the album is just my voice and me telling a story depending on what I’m feeling right now."

The album’s release is spearheaded by singles "Can't Tame Her," "End of Time" and "On My Love" with David Guetta. Larsson will also embark on a UK and European tour in February and March 2024.

Declan McKenna - What Happened to the Beach?

Release date: Feb 9

In his irreverent style, English singer Declan McKenna took it to Instagram to announce his upcoming work. "My third album What Happened To The Beach? is out 9th February," he wrote. My favorite third album yet. In my top three albums I’ve ever made of all time."

Following 2020’s Zeros, What Happened To The Beach? was primarily inspired by Unknown Mortal Orchestra and St. Vincent, and McKenna aimed to "distance himself from the soapboxing of his previous material," according to a press release. "Any time I tried to be too serious, the songs would get too heavy and the thing I was trying to get at, this idea of a release, was weighed down," McKenna said. "The songs sound a lot like the music I listen to."

To get a taste of his new style, McKenna shared singles "Sympathy" and "Nothing Works." In March 2024, he is set to tour the UK and Ireland.

Usher - Coming Home

Release date: Feb 11

Coinciding with his Super Bowl LVIII halftime show performance on Feb. 11, R&B star Usher will release his ninth studio album, Coming Home. This is his first solo effort since 2016’s Hard II Love, and marks his much-awaited return to the stages.

"We’ve put a lot of thought and creativity into this new album to tell a story that is open to interpretation and that will connect with people in different ways," Usher said in a statement. "I know this has been a long time coming for my fans and what I’ll say is that all good things come to those who wait. I hope you enjoy it once you hear it." 

The project is set to feature 20 tracks, including single "Good Good" with 21 Savage and Summer Walker.

Blackberry Smoke - Be Right Here

Release date: Feb. 16

With Be Right Here, southern rock band Blackberry Smoke wants us to enjoy the present. The album was produced by GRAMMY winner Dave Cobb, and recorded at the historic RCA Studio A and at Cobb’s Georgia Mae studio in Savannah, Georgia.

"We always track live together, but this time we had all our amps and drums and everything in the same room," said frontman Charlie Starr in a statement. "It’s just as natural and as real as possible. The last album was very raw too, but with this one I remember different times I would say, ‘I think we should redo that,’ and Dave [Cobb] was like, ‘No, leave it that way. That way it’s magical.’"

Following 2021’s You Hear Georgia, Be Right Here is the band’s eighth studio album. In support of the release, they announced a lengthy 2024 tour across the US, U.K. and Europe.

serpentwithfeet - GRIP

Release date: Feb. 16

R&B musician Josiah Wise — best known as serpentwithfeet — is unafraid to experiment in music. For his upcoming third album, GRIP, he extends that investigation to the Black gay clubs he grew up in and the intimacies of physical touch. 

According to a press release, "from the project’s start to its end, moments of sweat, indulgence, and tension can be felt through upbeat high-energy records as well as songs that find their home in the steamy bedroom moments."

Out Feb. 16, GRIP follows up on 2021’s Deacon and will feature 10 tracks, led by single "Damn Gloves" with Yanga YaYa and Ty Dolla $ign. The album also soundtracks Heart of Brick, serpent’s debut theater production which ran across the U.S. in the past months.

Idles - TANGK

Release date: Feb 16

British rock band Idles said in a press release that the meaning behind TANGK — their upcoming studio album — is an onomatopoeia for the "lashing way" they imagined their guitars sounding. Described as their most "ambitious and striking" work yet, the band’s fifth album is set to drop on Feb.16.

"TANGK. I needed love. So I made it. I gave love out to the world and it feels like magic. This is our album of gratitude and power. All love songs. All is love," said frontman Joe Talbot, reinforcing that TANGK is, first and foremost, an album focused on that feeling. The first taste of this project can be heard on the single "Dancer," which features LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Nancy Whang.

Jennifer Lopez - This Is Me… Now

Release date: Feb. 16

Twenty years after the release of her iconic This Is Me… Then album — which featured hits like "Jenny from the Block" — J.Lo is back in the spotlight again. After rekindling with actor Ben Affleck in 2021, she announced the sequel to her 2002 release, This Is Me… Now, and stated in an interview with Vogue that the album represents a "culmination" of who she is.

A press release also describes This Is Me… Now as an "emotional, spiritual and psychological journey" across all that Lopez has been through in the past decades. Fans can also expect more details on the new-and-improved Bennifer, as many of the titles among its 13 tracks suggest, especially "Dear Ben Pt. II."

After months of teasing, the singer finally revealed the release date to be Feb. 16 — with first single "Can’t Get Enough" coming out Jan. 10.

Les Amazones d'Afrique - Musow Dance

Release date: Feb. 16

Formed in 2014 in Bamako, Mali, by three renowned music stars and social change activists (Mamani Keïta, Oumou Sangaré and Mariam Doumbia), the all-female supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique has since expanded to include several artists across Africa and the diaspora.

Blending a myriad of music styles with a pledge for gender equality and ending ancestral violence, they received critical acclaim with 2017’s République Amazone and 2020’s Amazones Power, and aim even bigger for their upcoming third record, Musow Dance.

For that, a press release states that the group worked with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, Modest Mouse, Taylor Swift) to "embrace a powerful pop sound led by 808s and glitchy synths and drawing from contemporary hip-hop and trap influences," expanding their already rich sonic tapestry into something extraordinary.

Chromeo - Adult Contemporary

Release date: Feb. 16

2024 marks 20 years since Chromeo arrived in the music scene with the flashy, funky She’s in Control. To celebrate this milestone and to prove that they still have more to give, the Montreal duo will release their sixth studio album, Adult Contemporary, on February 16.

Compared to the works of Steely Dan in a press release, the album is said to explore "what it means to be funky in your 30s and 40s," and features 14 songs written and produced by the duo. "Adult Contemporary is a meditation on modern, mature relationships, which means: If we gotta sing about curling irons, so be it," said vocalist Dave 1.

Chromeo released four singles off the project so far: "Personal Effects," "(I Don't Need a) New Girl," "Replacements" with La Roux and "Words with You."

MGMT - Loss of Life

Release date: Feb. 23

MGMT have announced their first album in six years since 2018’s Little Dark Age. Loss of Life features 10 tracks, including their first-ever album feature with French singer Christine and the Queens.

In a statement, the Connecticut duo said that they are "very proud of this album and the fact that it was a relatively painless birth after a lengthy gestation period." Over on Instagram, they added that Loss of Life is "an album that brandishes the power of love in the face of inevitable human death and decay, and hopes to encourage collective comfort in remembering the universe’s inextinguishable yet often brutal desire to find balance and harmony. Or something." Singles "Mother Nature" and "Bubblegum Dog" are out now.

Allie X - Girl With No Face

Release date: Feb. 23

"It’s very hard to sum up a body of work you’ve spent thousands of hours on, but here’s an attempt," pop visionary Allie X said about her upcoming album, Girl With No Face, in a statement. "There is a death in this music, as well as the beginning of a rebirth. I needed to make something that came completely from me." 

Entirely self-produced, Girl With No Face is preceded by "Black Eye" and an eponymous single, and is slated to release on Feb.23. According to the Canadian singer/songwriter, its 11 tracks are "angry, stubborn, honest, dry, melodramatic, fast, and indulgent." 

Jacob Collier - Djesse Vol. 4

Release date: Feb. 29

Virtuoso Jacob Collier is also set to conclude his Djesse series in 2024 with the release of Djesse Vol. 4.The album follows 2021’s GRAMMY-nominated Djesse Vol. 3, and symbolizes the end of an era for the English artist.

"Five years ago, in the wake of a musical journey that had begun in solitude, I set out on an epic adventure with a big dream — a collaborative quadruple album," Collier said in a statement. "In many ways, Djesse Vol. 4 is an album that’s taken me 30 years to make. It is, to me, a celebration of humankind — the way that I see it and hear it, built with musicians from every corner of the world. To be culminating this collaborative experiment with a 100,000 voice audience-choir, a sound that permeates the heart of this album, feels like I’ve found the heart of it."

Even before release, Djesse Vol. 4 is already notable: 2022 standalone single "Never Gonna Be Alone," featuring Lizzy McAlpine and John Mayer, was nominated for a GRAMMY award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals, and later revealed to be included in the tracklist. Other singles comprise "Wellll," "Little Blue" with Brandi Carlile, "Wherever I Go" with Lawrence and Michael McDonald and "Witness Me" with Shawn Mendes, Stormzy, and Kirk Franklin.

Bleachers - Bleachers

Release date: March 8

Jack Antonoff is one of the most important hands shaping the sound of current pop. His songwriting and producing skills crafted hits for a slew of artists, from Taylor Swift to Lana del Rey, and earned him eight GRAMMYs so far (he is also nominated for the 2024 GRAMMYs in the Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical category alongside D'Mile, Metro Boomin, Hit-Boy and Daniel Nigro). In addition to that, Antonoff also fronts rock band Bleachers, and is gearing up to release its eponymous fourth studio album.

Lead track "Modern Girl" and second offering "Alma Mater," featuring Lana del Rey, exemplify the press release description of the album as bittersweet "music for driving on the highway to, for crying to and for dancing to at weddings." Bleachers offers a "reassuringly touchable and concrete" sentiment, the release continued, to "exist in crazy times but remember what counts." Bleachers will tour the U.K. in March before heading to the U.S. with band Samia in May and June.

Tyla - Tyla

Release date: March 1

2023’s revelation Tyla is ready to dazzle the world even more with her eponymous debut LP. Coming out March 1, it will feature the viral hit and lead single "Water" — which is nominated for Best African Music Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs alongside "Amapiano" by ASAKE & Olamide, Burna Boy's "City Boys," "UNAVAILABLE" from Davido feat. Musa Keys, and Arya Starr's "Rush" — as well as other tracks like "Truth or Dare," "Butterflies" and "On and On."

"I cannot wait for the world to experience an African Popstar," the singer shared on Instagram. "Everything that’s happening has surpassed anything I could have dreamt of. African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture." 

Tyla will be touring Europe and the U.S. in spring.

Lenny Kravitz - Blue Electric Light

Release date: March 15

In October, Lenny Kravitz kicked off his return to music with the Star Wars-inspired "TK421" and its NSFW music video — in which the singer appears naked from behind in several scenes. The single spearheads his twelfth studio album and first double LP, Blue Electric Light, set to release on March 15.

Blue Electric Light is Kravitz’s first effort since 2018’s Raise Vibration. He recorded the album’s 12 tracks entirely in the Bahamas, and played most of the instruments himself, in collaboration with Craig Ross. Kravitz has recently announced a European tour in support of the album, starting in June.

Sheryl Crow - Evolution

Release date: March 29

After saying she wouldn’t make another album following 2018’s Threads, Sheryl Crow changed her mind — on March 29, her twelfth studio LP, Evolution, will be out. "I said I’d never make another record, though there was no point to it," she said in a statement. "But this music comes from my soul. And I hope whoever hears this record can feel that."

Talking about the creative process of the album, the nine-time GRAMMY winner shared: "I started off sending one song to [producer] Mike [Elizondo], which turned into four, and it was going to be an EP. But the songs just kept flowing out of me, four songs turned into nine and it was pretty obvious this was an album." With the announcement, Crow also shared lead single "Alarm Clock."

Bring Me the Horizon - Post Human: Nex Gen

Release date: TBA

Post Human: Nex Gen was first announced in June 2023, leaving Bring Me the Horizon fans excited for the follow-up to the band’s 2020 EP, Post Human: Survival Horror. However, in August, frontman Oliver Sykes shared on Instagram that due to "unforeseen circumstances," the band was "unable to complete the record to the standard we’d be happy with," postponing its original Sept. 15 release.

A new release date hasn’t been confirmed, but Sykes affirms that it is "close." The album is preceded by singles "LosT," "AmEN!" featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert and Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw, and "DArkSide." On Dec. 22, the band also announced that they have split ways with keyboardist Jordan Fish, but that their upcoming UK and Ireland tour in January will continue as expected.

Dua Lipa - TBA

Release date: TBA

The stunning Future Nostalgia brightened early pandemic days of 2020, and since then the world can’t get enough of Dua Lipa. In 2023, the superstar reached new heights with Barbie movie soundtrack "Dance The Night," earning two GRAMMY nominations. In the Song Of The Year category, the track is up against Lana del Rey's "A&W," Swift's "Anti-Hero," "Butterfly" by Jon Batiste, Miley Cyrus' "Flowers," SZA's "Kill Bill," Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" and "Vampire" by Olivia Rodrigo. In the Best Song Written for Visual Media category, competitors are "Barbie World," "I'm Just Ken" and "What Was I Made For?" from Barbie The Album, and "Lift Me Up" from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

But she has even more in store for 2024. With the release of "Houdini" in November, the English-Albanian singer ushered in a new chapter — her third album, title and due date yet to be announced, is well on its way.

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Pop Music

15 K-Pop Songs That Took 2023 By Storm: From Seventeen’s “Super (손오공)” to NewJeans' "Super Shy"
NewJeans perform on stage during Lollapalooza in Chicago in 2023.

Photo: Josh Brasted/ FilmMagic / Getty Images

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15 K-Pop Songs That Took 2023 By Storm: From Seventeen’s “Super (손오공)” to NewJeans' "Super Shy"

From global tours to viral TikTok hits, explore how acts like Seventeen, Fifty Fifty, and newcomers like NCT DOJAEJUNG shaped the evolution of K-pop with new song releases in 2023.

GRAMMYs/Dec 21, 2023 - 02:16 pm

2023 was a busy year for K-pop. As the South Korean industry moves at lightning speed, new albums were released almost every day, and dozens of artists made their debuts. K-pop tours crossed the globe, and acts like TWICE and BLACKPINK filled out stadiums. Songs like Jung Kook’s "Seven" featuring Latto, or Fifty Fifty’s "Cupid," were playing everywhere, from TikTok to Target stores.

Amidst so much content, what singles best defined this year? There’s mighty chart-toppers, such as NewJeans’s "Super Shy" and AKMU’s "Love Lee," and sales monsters like Seventeen’s "Super" and Jisoo’s "Flower." Of equal importance, there are also songs that entered our collective unconscious — whether for their flawless melodies, such as NCT DOJAEJUNG’s "Perfume", or for their sassy irreverence, like (G)I-dle’s "Queencard".

In terms of musical trends, retro sounds dominated the scene, taking inspiration from synth-pop, to disco, to Jersey club. There’s a few blustering tracks, too, proving K-pop’s versatility and reinvention powers in a style that has been often overused.

Years from now, when we look back to the sounds that shaped 2023, the 15 songs below — listed by order of release — will definitely be remembered:

Fifty Fifty - "Cupid"

Rookie girl group Fifty Fifty turned heads with their sublime debut EP, The Fifty, at the end of 2022. This year, they made their first comeback in February with the sweet "Cupid" and reached even further. The single went massively viral on TikTok, peaked at number 17 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and reached no. 8 on the UK Singles Chart.

Fifty Fifty were poised to be 2023’s big breakouts — an impressive feat for a group coming from a small company like ATTRAKT. However, at the end of June, the quartet found themselves embroiled in a complex legal battle against the label. In October, ATTRAKT terminated the contracts of members Aran, Sio, and Saena, leaving Keena as the only active member of the group. For all those reasons, "Cupid" is a bittersweet listen. Its sugary synths and bubbly harmonies are still delightful, but its background story and the feeling of lost potential tinge every chord with sadness.

Jimin - "Like Crazy"

BTS’s Jimin had long proved his prowess as a soloist (seen in "Lie," his 2016 solo released under the group), but it wasn’t until this year that he put forward a proper solo debut album. Out in March, Face presented Jimin at his truest: he co-wrote five out of six songs, and helped conceptualize the record and the music video for title track "Like Crazy."

Inspired by the 2011 movie of the same name, "Like Crazy" is a dark synth-pop journey through desperation. In the lyrics, Jimin tries to hold together whatever is left of a crumbling relationship. "I'd rather be / Lost in the lights, lost in the lights / I'm outta my mind / Can you help me numb the pain?" he pleads. Delivered with stirring mastery, the song resonated with audiences across the globe, leading Jimin to become the first South Korean to top Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Jisoo - "Flower"

After Jennie’s "Solo," Rosé’s R and Lisa’s Lalisa, BLACKPINK fans couldn’t be more eager for the quartet’s final member, Jisoo, to make her solo debut. Luckily, her single album Me came out in March, featuring lead single "Flower" and b-side "All Eyes on Me." At the time of release, Jisoo became the first K-pop female solo artist to become a million-seller, with Me exceeding 1.31 million pre-orders.

"Flower" is elegant and delicate, with pop synths that swirl around trap beats and lots of space. Traditional Korean music elements enhance its royal feel, while Jisoo’s husky vocals lament the loss of a relationship. Here, Jisoo proves her potential as a soloist, and opens the doors for BLACKPINK to begin a new era.

IVE - "I Am"

Another promising girl group to emerge in 2022, IVE are hitmakers with an empowering edge. From the meaning of their name ("I have") to their self-penned lyrics, the sextet aims to give the public as much confidence as they display on stage.

"I Am" spearheaded their first full album release in April, I’ve IVE, and quickly topped music charts in South Korea. With a disco flair reminiscent of ABBA, the single is a momentous celebration that reminds us to live life to the fullest. As they sing in the chorus: "That's my life, it’s a beautiful galaxy / Be a writer, the genre is fantasy / A big, big stage will open for me tomorrow / So that is who I am."

NCT DOJAEJUNG - "Perfume"

SM Entertainment’s decision to unite three of the smoothest vocalists under NCT into a subunit was one of 2023’s best decisions. Formed by Doyoung, Jaehyun and Jungwoo — or DOJAEJUNG — the trio released the unexpected but impeccable EP Perfume in April.

The eponymous title track encapsulates their vocal talents in a sultry R&B jam, overflowing with ‘90s nostalgia and heavenly harmonies. "I'll fill your day with heavenly scents / To remind you of my name at every step," they sing. Like the best perfumes, its notes spread and linger, creating a mesmerizing effect. Few songs flow so effortlessly.

Seventeen - "Super (손오공)"

Since their debut in 2015, one of K-pop’s most beloved acts, Seventeen, shows no signs of slowing down. The 13-member group continues to grow their fanbase and break records every year — 2023’s proof being their tenth EP released in April, FML. According to their agency, Pledis Entertainment, the EP sold 6.2 million copies — the highest sales ever in K-pop — and recently won Album of the Year at the 2023 MAMA Awards.

FML came with two lead singles, "F*ck My Life" and "Super," but it’s the latter’s grandiosity that stood out the most. Inspired by Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King of classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, the boisterous track blends Jersey club and bass drums into a larger-than-life celebration. "I love my team, I love my crew / We already made it this far," they sing, acknowledging what brought them to where they are.

Le Sserafim - "Unforgiven"

When the legendary Nile Rodgers chooses your song to be his first foray into K-pop, you must be doing something right. That is the case of Le Sserafim, the fearless girl group under Source Music (a sub-label of HYBE), and their May single "Unforgiven."

Off their debut studio album, also named Unforgiven, the track samples Ennio Morricone’s theme song from the 1966 film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, with Rodgers’ funky chords adding even more flair to a pop-country, hip-hop feast. "Never asked for forgiveness or anything / Gonna target taboos, watch me now," the quintet professes. Above all, "Unforgiven" is about freedom, and extends that concept to music creation as well.

aespa - "Spicy"

"Tell me what you see / When you look at me / ‘Cause I am a 10 out of 10, honestly," raps Giselle in the ultra-confident "Spicy." Off aespa’s third EP released in May, MY World, this gripping single provides the best of cheeky ‘90s pop mixed with rubbery synths and a revving pulse.

The SM Entertainment quartet gained attention upon their 2020 debut for incorporating avatars of themselves (æ-aespa) and an AI-inspired lore in their music. As their discography has grown, their concept and sound evolved to encompass new styles that reflect a bulletproof self-esteem. With "Spicy," aespa have proven to be more than just a hyper-tech fad, and entered main character territory.

(G)I-dle - "Queencard"

During a press conference for the release of their sixth EP in May, I Feel, the leader and producer of (G)I-dle, Soyeon, said that "the core message of 'Queencard' is that you can be a beautiful person if you adore yourself."   

If you aren’t there yet, "Queencard" might just be the antidote. Here, (G)I-dle employ their megawatt charisma to deliver an irreverent, unabashedly pop track with hints of rock and roll. Part satire, part girl power anthem, "Queencard, I’m hot / My boob and booty is hot," is one of the most iconic lines of 2023, and if that doesn’t boost your self-esteem just a little, you might be taking yourself too seriously.

ATEEZ - "Bouncy (K-Hot Chilli Peppers)"

ATEEZ are one of the most commanding boy groups in K-pop. Since debuting in 2018, they captivate the stage: their facial expressions, knife-sharp choreographies, and hard-hitting sounds make it impossible to do otherwise.

Cut to 2023, when they made everyone "slow it down" and "make it bouncy," as goes the chorus of their June single "Bouncy (K-Hot Chilli Peppers)." Aside from the name reference, this has nothing to do with the Red Hot Chili Peppers — ATEEZ just wanted to show the world "A different kind of spicy, Cheongyang chili pepper vibe." It works. "Bouncy" is a tour de force in their discography, making a wild spectacle out of distorted, dystopian chaos.

NewJeans - "Super Shy"

2023’s definite hit of the summer came by the hands of NewJeans — the trailblazing girl group from HYBE’s sub-label ADOR. Their 2022 debut EP, New Jeans, took K-pop by storm, but this year proved they’re global stars to watch: the quintet was nominated Time's Next Generation Leaders, landed high fashion ambassadorships with brands like Gucci and YSL, performed at Lollapalooza in August, and released their sophomore EP in July, Get Up.

"Super Shy" is the album’s effervescent first single. "I'm super shy, super shy / But wait a minute while I / Make you mine, make you mine," they sing in flirtatious lilts, underpinned by UK garage and Jersey club beats. The result is a shot of pure pop serotonin.

NCT Dream - "ISTJ"

July’s "ISTJ" brings soaring harmonies and a propulsive melody to shape one of this year’s most enthusiastic hits. Off NCT Dream’s third studio album of the same name, it was inspired by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, which is widely popular in South Korea. Individuals with the ISTJ personality type are said to be quiet and practical — nothing to do with the high-energy hip hop that NCT Dream portray in their song.

However, that’s because "ISTJ" is written from the point of view of their opposite type: ENFPs, who are usually the life of the party. Such a creative concept reinforces why NCT Dream keep on rising — from the teen sub-group made up of the youngest members from the collective NCT, they have now matured into charismatic leaders of their own.

AKMU - "Love Lee"

The first release in two years from sibling duo AKMU — formed by Lee Su-hyun and Lee Chan-hyuk — "Love Lee" is as lovely as it sounds. Out in August along b-side "Fry’s Dream," the track swept Korean charts since day one, and stayed atop the Circle Digital Chart (one of the biggest music charts in the country) for six non-consecutive weeks.

Initially unassuming, this jaunty ballad reveals its charms slowly, like honey dripping from a spoon. Su-hyun’s crystalline voice would be enough to steal the show, but here it is paired with sweet production quirks from Chan-hyuk, making the track a simple, yet memorable highlight of 2023.

RIIZE - "Get a Guitar"

For the past seven years, all male trainees under SM Entertainment eventually debuted in NCT — a larger group which holds several units like NCT 127 and NCT Dream. 2023 marked a change in that dynamic: in September, fresh-faced RIIZE launched their first single album, Get a Guitar.

The groovy title track is anchored by guitar plucks and retro synths, providing a feel-good introduction to their charms and a bright, light vibe to follow. Preceded by the wistful "Memories," Get a Guitar was a commercial success, receiving over 1 million pre-order sales — a new record for debut albums under SM. In 2024, these young men are sure to rise even higher, starting with an upcoming comeback on January 5.

Jung Kook - "Standing Next to You"

BTS’s youngest member Jung Kook took his time to officially launch a solo career. Since the band announced a break in group activities last year, he carefully directed his efforts to the Western market, releasing a series of collaborative singles like "Left and Right" with Charlie Puth, 2022 FIFA World Cup’s "Dreamers,"  "Seven" with rapper Latto and "3D" featuring Jack Harlow.

While all these songs are hits on their own, it turns out Jung Kook was saving the best for last. In November, he finally dropped his debut solo album, Golden, and title track "Standing Next to You." Inspired by the best of Michael Jackson, he moves through the song with conviction and poise, delivering a timeless hit for years to come.

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined K-Pop

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined K-Pop
(from left) NewJeans, Jung Kook, xikers, Jimin, VCHA

Photos: ADOR; Jason Mendez/Getty Images; Santiago Felipe/Getty Images; The Chosunilbo/JNSImazins via Getty Images; JYP Entertainment

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2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined K-Pop

K-pop aims to appease the biggest crowds possible, but it’s also unafraid of trying new ways of making music and building fan communities. Read on for five trends in K-pop that marked the industry in 2023, from globally-based acts to new sounds.

GRAMMYs/Dec 15, 2023 - 04:00 pm

K-pop is a living, breathing organism. It’s way beyond just pop music from South Korea — more like a whole microcosm that includes culture, tech, fashion, other music genres, and even other countries. Its boundaries are increasingly blurry: there are K-pop groups releasing albums entirely in English and American groups being created under the K-pop business model. Where does it end, and where does it begin?

No one knows exactly. What we do know, though, is that the industry and all its adjacent productions remain one of the most experimental and innovative. K-pop aims to appease the biggest crowds possible, but it’s also unafraid to leap into new ways of making music and building fan communities.

These are some of the traits that make it so exciting — whether it’s a 24-member, NFT-based group like tripleS or a song about baggy jeans, you never know what awaits around the corner. As K-pop continues to expand and surprise, here are five trends that marked the industry in 2023.

Boy Groups To The Front

If 2022 was the year of girl groups in K-pop, 2023 saw a wave of boy groups rising up to the challenge. While female acts continue to thrive — with exciting names like Loossemble, Kiss of Life and tripleS joining the industry — it was this year’s male debuts that attested the beginning of a new era.

Monster rookies ZEROBASEONE broke all-time records by selling over 1 million copies of their first EP, July’s Youth In The Shade, on the first day of release. The nine-member group was formed through survival TV show "Boys Planet," and was marketed as the initiator of K-pop’s fifth generation. That statement is not as simple as it looks (many factors contribute to a change of generations in K-pop, not just debuts), but it pointed to a definite handing of the torch.

There were also fresh teams coming from some of the most well-established K-pop agencies this year. Xikers, the younger peers of ATEEZ at KQ Entertainment, debuted in March. In May, BoyNextDoor came forth from KOZ Entertainment, a subsidiary of HYBE (BTS, TXT, and more) founded by the singer, producer and leader of Block B. In September, RIIZE met the world as SM Entertainment’s first non-NCT-related boy group since 2016.

Other promising newcomers include Xodiac, 8Turn, Evnne, TOZ, and Ampers&One — many of whom are former contestants of "Boys Planet" — and it becomes clear that 2023 set the bar for a new generation of boy bands to come.

Living In The Age Of TikTok

"The ideal recipe for a great K-pop song would be a catchy hook/chorus — which is usually in English so more people can sing it — and a danceable song that can bring on a choreography that is infectious enough so people want to learn them and make TikToks," manager and A&R consultant Marion Van der wees told GRAMMY.com earlier this year. 

Van der wees’ statement rings true. While TikTok and Instagram Reels have been popular in K-pop for a few years, they became the norm in 2023. From rookies like Lun8 to industry veterans like Red Velvet, every release now comes with an obligatory video "challenge" for those platforms, intended to be replicated ad infinitum by the artist, their peers, and their fans.

As K-pop becomes increasingly fandom-focused, these challenges also serve as one of the main forms of interaction between artists of different labels, styles, and levels of experience who wouldn’t normally engage with each other. It’s less a question of going viral, and more of cross-promoting, exposing themselves to new audiences, and gifting fans with unique content.

Besides all that, newer groups like RIIZE are tapping into Gen Z’s online habits and reveling in their spontaneity: they gained buzz for replying to fans’ comments and for posting relatable (if a little unhinged) videos, just like any teenager would.

AI Dreams (Or Nightmares?)

While AI music and virtual artists have been on exponential rise since the COVID-19 pandemic, 2023 was the year where K-pop truly embraced them. Virtual girl group MAVE: amassed over 26 million views on their debut single, January’s "Pandora," and virtual boy group PLAVE, who also debuted this year, became the first of their kind to perform at KCON LA in August.

In May, entertainment giant HYBE launched Midnatt, the alter ego of singer-songwriter Lee Hyun. Although Hyun is a real person, his first single "Masquerade" was released in six languages (English, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese) through the utilization of Supertone, an AI audio company that HYBE acquired in January. Supertone modulated Hyun’s tone, pronunciation, delivery, and even shifted his voice from male to female.

AI is also shaping how fans interact with artists — you can even talk to the digital twin of GOT7 member Mark Tuan now. Created by New Zealand company Soul Machines, Digital Mark Tuan is available 24/7 via OpenAI’s GPT3, and aims to "connect with fans, share stories about the real Mark Tuan, and cement his presence in the metaverse," according to Soul Machine's website.

These projects have growing audiences, but there’s still plenty of discussion on whether K-pop and AI’s mix has yielded positive results. As best summarized by songwriter/producer Wonderkid on Grammy.com’s roundtable, K-pop’s relationship with AI "looks good on the surface, but we recognize what is missing in half a second. I think of it as falling in love with a robot: it may someday be possible, but it would take a very, very long time."

Softer Sounds And Chill Vibes Proliferate 

K-pop has always been known for shaping different musical genres into something of its own. This diversity — spanning from reggae to classic orchestra, sometimes all in one song — is part of K-pop’s DNA. Superstars like Stray Kids and NCT 127 often have their styles described as "noise music," and girl groups like BLACKPINK and ITZY rose to the top with hard-hitting beats, spawning a trend that is still followed by several rookies.

This bold, in-your-face style of K-pop will likely always exist, but a new trend has begun to emerge. Songs from rookie groups like NewJeans, IVE, and even Fifty Fifty (see their viral "Cupid") are softer and have the calming effect of putting on earphones in a busy office.

NewJeans’ December 2022 single "Ditto" was inspired by Baltimore club but also manages a more chill vibe. The year-round hit achieved the coveted PAK — Perfect All-Kill, meaning it  charted at No. 1 on real-time, daily and weekly charts on all major South Korean music streaming platforms. IVE’s disco-infused "I Am" was another PAK winner, and so was the duo AKMU’s bouncy ballad "Love Lee."

The trend toward more mellow sounds is also present in three of BTS’ solo projects this year: Jimin came forward with the synth-pop of "Like Crazy," V approached soul and jazz on his "Slow Dancing," and Jung Kook channeled Michael Jackson with the funky "Standing Next to You." Even the debuting boy groups of this year have chosen more laid back sounds. Zerobaseone sampled A-ha’s "Take on Me" for "In Bloom," and RIIZE’s synth-laden "Get a Guitar" is filled with nostalgia. As industry trendsetters veer towards pleasing melodies and chill vibes with retro inspirations, these sounds are certain to become even more widespread in the following years.

K-Pop Beyond The K

"For K-pop to truly become mainstream worldwide, the ‘K’ in K-pop needs to be removed, and it should just be ‘pop’ in itself," HYBE chairman Bang Si-hyuk said in a press release about the label’s latest endeavor: a trainee survival show called "The Debut: Dream Academy," which premiered on Sept. 1. In partnership with Geffen Records, HYBE embarked on "a worldwide search for the next global girl group," receiving over 120,000 applications from Argentina to Japan. The resulting six-member group, KATSEYE, will likely debut next year, followed by a Netflix docuseries.

A few months prior, JYP Entertainment (home to groups like TWICE and Stray Kids) also announced the reality competition show "A2K (America2Korea)", in partnership with Republic Records. Their goal was to create a U.S.-based girl group with members of diverse backgrounds, but who would be trained under the K-pop system. The resulting sextet, VCHA, released their first single album, "SeVit (New Light)," in September.

Add to that SM Entertainment, who helms groups like EXO and NCT, teaming up with UK production company Moon&Back in order to launch a boy band in early 2024, and you have nearly all of K-pop’s biggest players placing bets on Western-based projects. As K-pop has always been an export-driven industry, these moves are no surprise — but 2023 marked a year where companies were finally successful in applying the K-pop model to form artists in markets outside of Asia.

Whether VCHA, KATSEYE, and other groups will be successful remains a mystery, but their existence points to a shift. As THEBLACKLABEL singer and producer Vince mentioned in Grammy.com’s roundtable, "we don’t call pop music from America ‘American pop’, we just call it ‘pop.’" K-pop might be headed in the same direction.

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Hip-Hop

New Holiday Songs For 2023: Listen To Festive Releases From Aespa, Brandy, Sabrina Carpenter & More
Jimmy Fallon & Meghan Trainor perform their song "Wrap Me Up" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in November 2023.

Photo: Randy Holmes/DISNEY via Getty Images

New Holiday Songs For 2023: Listen To Festive Releases From Aespa, Brandy, Sabrina Carpenter & More

With the Christmas season in full swing, it’s time to deck the halls and load up those holiday playlists. Check out 14 new songs and projects to add to your 2023 festivities.

GRAMMYs/Dec 4, 2023 - 06:39 pm

It's the most wonderful time of year! With every holiday season comes a new outpouring of festive music, and this year is no different.

From pop and R&B to K-pop and country, artists from all genres revel in the season as they pen new, original Christmas songs and reinterpret well-loved classics. This year, GRAMMY winners like Brandy and Samara Joy deliver full-length albums, while rising stars like Sabrina Carpenter, Mimi Webb and Coco Jones add their own contributions like shiny new baubles on a sparkling Christmas tree. 

Below, GRAMMY.com rounded up 14 new holiday releases worth checking out, from Alanis Morissette's first Christmas EP to new projects by Aly & AJ and Gavin DeGraw, and even a posthumous duet between Elvis Presley and Kane Brown

aespa, "Jingle Bell Rock"

Need some K-pop for your holiday playlist? Look no further than aespa's take on "Jingle Bell Rock." The girl group takes Bobby Helms' 1957 hit to the metaverse by giving it a slinky edge punctuated by handclaps, toy piano and glitchy undertones. Members GISELLE and NINGNING even add their own laid-back rap verse to the proceedings, casually tossing off lyrics like, "Ring, ring, ring, jingle bell rock/ Play like a spell/ I won't tell, jingle bell talk" partway through the track.

Aly & AJ, Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove isn't Aly & AJ's first Christmas project — that would be their excellent 2006 LP Acoustic Hearts of Winter — but the siblings have come a long way from the Disney days of their last holiday record. Just look at "Greatest Time of Year," which they've plucked from the Acoustic Hearts track list and transformed from into a delicate slowburner perfect to be sung by the fireside. Then there's the pitch-perfect cover of "Sisters," which proves the only way to improve upon Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen's eternally iconic number from 1954's White Christmas is for it to be recorded by, you know, actual sisters.

Brandy, Christmas With Brandy

Considering she's been called the "Vocal Bible" since she rose to stardom in the '90s, a Christmas album makes all the sense in the world for Brandy. On Christmas with Brandy, the R&B sensation — and star of Netflix's new holiday flick Best. Christmas. Ever. — eschews the scriptural in favor of the romantic ("Christmas Party For Two"), the hopeful ("Someday at Christmas") and the celebratory ("Christmas Gift" with daughter Sy'Rai) — all with her trademark gossamer runs and riffs in full, glistening effect.

Kane Brown and Elvis Presley, "Blue Christmas"

Fresh off his performance in NBC's "Christmas at Graceland" special, Kane Brown turns his live version of "Blue Christmas" into a full-blown duet with Elvis Presley himself. The King famously released his iconic version of the holiday classic in 1957 — as well as a live version more than a decade later — and Brown wisely sticks to Presley's tried-and-true formula on their duet by trading verses, while letting Elvis' iconic voice shine.

Sabrina Carpenter, Fruitcake

Sabrina Carpenter created a recipe for a holiday hit last year thanks to "A Nonsense Christmas," a cheeky seasonal remake of her top 10 pop hit "Nonsense." This year, she doubles the recipe on Fruitcake, a delectable slice of Christmas goodness that's equal parts sweet and sour.

On the winking "Buy Me Presents," the pop chanteuse demands the undivided attention of her lover while "Cindy Lou Who" turns the sweetest character in Dr. Seuss' oeuvre into a man-stealing Jolene of Christmas nightmares. "Is It New Year's Yet" revels in an irresistible spirit of pessimism that'll have all of Carpenter's fans saying "Bah humbug!" with glee.

Gavin DeGraw, A Classic Christmas

Eighteen months since Gavin DeGraw's last album, 2022's understated Face the River, the crooner turns up the yuletide cheer — with all the trimming and trappings — for his first holiday record. Each song on the six-track EP stays true to the title, as strings, sleigh bells and tradition combine with DeGraw's soulful timbre on standards like "The Most Wonderful Time of Year," "Silent Night" and "White Christmas."

Kirk Franklin, "Joy To The World"

Kirk Franklin cooked up an extra-special gift for his Spotify Singles Holiday rendition of "Joy to the World." Enlisting a buoyant backing choir, the 19-time GRAMMY winner adds a thoughtful spoken word element over the music, telling listeners everywhere, "This year I offer you the gift of unity. The gift of harmony. Bring us together like never before this holiday season. Find room in your heart. Listen. Can you hear it?"

Coco Jones, "A Timeless Christmas"

Determined to make 2023 a year to remember, Coco Jones follows her five 2024 GRAMMY nominations — including one for Best New Artist — with "A Timeless Christmas." On the original song, the R&B breakout aims to unwrap a holiday filled with family, joy and love as she intones, "Cherish the moment with the people that surround you/ Live in the moment today/ Let's have a timeless Christmas/ Let's just come together in harmony as one forever."

Samara Joy, A Joyful Holiday

Just months after releasing Linger Awhile Longer — the deluxe edition of her 2022 studio album — Samara Joy returns with A Joyful Holiday, a festive EP filled with jazzy originals and standards alike. The 2023 Best New Artist GRAMMY winner taps jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner on "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me" and turns on the feels on opener "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." But perhaps the most special moment of the record happens when three generations of her family join her for a gospel-fueled take on "O Holy Night," filled with stunning harmonies.

Ingrid Michaelson, "This Christmas"

Ingrid Michaelson has supplied plenty of cozy and nostalgic Christmas tunes ever since releasing her 2018 album Songs of the Season, but she doubles down on the warm fireside sounds with her new single "This Christmas." Though it shares a title with the beloved Donny Hathaway track, Michaelson's original song finds beauty in the stillness and small details of the season — from the wonder in a child's eyes as snow falls swirls to the ground to family gathered around the piano.

Alanis Morissette, Last Christmas

After gifting fans a string of holiday singles over the past few years, Alanis Morissette has finally compiled the songs into a full Christmas-themed project. The four-track EP Last Christmas contains three of the alt pioneer’s past releases: 2020’s rousing and poignant “Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and pandemic-era take on “What Child Is This” as well as last year’s “Little Drummer Boy.” However, she saved a shiny new toy for last in the form of a surprisingly peppy cover of Wham!’s modern classic “Last Christmas.”

Jon Pardi, Merry Christmas From Jon Pardi

It's a full-blown Christmas Pardi, ahem, party on Jon Pardi's fifth album, the aptly-titled Merry Christmas From Jon Pardi. The recent Grand Ole Opry inductee appoints Rudolph a designated driver on "Beer For Santa," is unfazed by a ferocious blizzard thanks to "400 Horsepower Sleigh" and sheds his ugly Christmas sweater to celebrates the holiday on the beach with "Merry Christmas From The Keys." But he's also unafraid to put a country spin on the likes of Mariah Carey's timeless smash "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and holiday classics like "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" and "Please Come Home For Christmas."

Meghan Trainor, "Jingle Bells"

Meghan Trainor has delivered Christmas goodies in the past (2020's A Very Trainor Christmas, last year's "Kid on Christmas" with Pentatonix), but this year she teamed up with Amazon Music for an exclusive rendition of "Jingle Bells." There's only a 30-second preview available without Amazon Music, but in the event you're not a subscriber, check out Trainor's other holiday offering of the season: her duet with Jimmy Fallon titled "Wrap Me Up."

Mimi Webb, "Back Home For Christmas"

In the wake of her debut studio album, Amelia, Mimi Webb tackles her first original holiday track in the form of "Back Home For Christmas." The lovelorn single is filled with church bells and yearning galore as the rising pop starlet wails, "Just like that, first of December/ Counting down 'til we're together/ Only one thing on my wishlist/ Bring my love back home for Christmas/ Mistletoe making me lonely/ Santa Claus just can't console me/ Only one thing that I'm missin'/ Bring my love back home for Christmas." 

Clearly, the Christmas season can make you feel all sorts of ways, from nostalgic and cozy to lonely, filled with hope and back again.

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