Weekly K-Pop Faves April 3-9: Chen & Heize, Mamamoo, NCT U, & LABOUM

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As we’ve been doing for the past three weeks, instead of our normal Playlist Sunday we’re listing our weekly K-pop faves from this week. With so many releases and comebacks, it was hard to choose. But hey, someone’s gotta make these hard decisions.

“3 Strikes Out” by LABOUM (album released on April 6)

Starting their third year as a group, LABOUM continue with the colourful and cute style they are used to. Since debuting, they have failed to hit the heights of their first two singles, but have been consistently solid. Their latest mini album “Fresh Adventure” does little to change this but has one nice B-side that can be singled out. “3 Strikes Out” is busier than lead single “Journey to Atlantis” with pianos, synths, and all manner of percussion sounds. Each element twinkles with just the right amount of sweetness, never straying into sickly territory. The vocal range is also superior to the single, with similar chants but more variations and some rapping which works well. It also has the best stupid spoken English intro I’ve heard in awhile, “Oh let me introduce my boyfriend, he’s a jerk”.

— Joe

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“The 7th Sense” by NCT U (released April 8)

Seemingly out of nowhere, SM Entertainment slayed the internet with its newest group NCT U and their single “The 7th Sense.” As a group, they’re a mix of SHINee’s look and tight choreographies, with EXO’s buttery R&B vocals and interactive moves, and iKON’s hip hop sound. Even if the members are kids, there’s just something incredibly sensual about “The 7th Sense” that makes it irresistible. It’s like a The Weeknd-meets-EXO song with better rappers (yes, I went there). Oh, because that’s a new development: SM has good rappers now, yay! Mark and Taeyong are just… *fire emoji x 100* Plus, I don’t know if they’re writing their own lyrics, but I think it’s public consensus that “And that’s a long ass ride” is probably the best English line in a K-pop song ever. Why SM decided to make this a subunit of their of their massive group project thing (does anyone even understand what they really want to do with that though?), and not have these kids promote and be a legit group is beyond me. I am, however, very happy this exists and will take what SM gives me.

— Alexis

“Lil’ Something” by Chen (EXO) & Heize (released on April 7)

The latest weekly release from SM Entertainment, “Lil’ Something” is a delightful track with an adorable music video. Featuring Chen as a lovestruck backstage crew member and Heize as a fashion show designer, the music video showed their developing romance and was successful thanks to the great acting of the two singers. At some moments Chen even gave me Baek Seung Chan vibes (Kim Soo Hyun’s character in “The Producers”). The instrumentals of this song were as rich as Chen’s vocals and Heize’s raps suited the upbeat tempo relatively well. While her raps could have been more prominent in the song, it was a good collaboration and I’m definitely looking forward to the next release.

— Anna

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“Woohoo” by Mamamoo (released April 4)

Although it’s only a promotional song for LG, “Woohoo” is set to be one of Mamamoo’s most memorable tracks of 2016. The melodious upbeat style of the song suits Mamamoo’s vocal line perfectly while the bright concept matches the spring weather Seoul is experiencing. The funk and synth-pop elements fit in smoothly into the rest of Mamamoo’s repertoire, which has grown immensely in the last few months thanks to this and their latest album. Moonbyul’s rap comes across as anachronistic from the song upon first listen and downright jarring, to be honest. But she doesn’t disappoint even though it’s a bit out of place amidst the overall sunny song the swag-filled rap portion ends up falling in line with the rest of the parts of “Woohoo.” Spring-time songs do well in South Korea (I’m looking at you, “Cherry Blossom Ending”), and the all around musical sound and visual concept of “Woohoo” makes this something I’d love to see doing well.

— Tamar

What’s your favorite K-pop release from this week? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.