It’s that time of the year again. The music front has called for a focus on Coachella 2023, where headliners such as Bad Bunny and Frank Ocean saw crowds swarm the barricades in anticipation of their performances. The first weekend of the major music festival also saw other big industry names put up some of their most epic performances to date, riling up the crowd for a good time. Yet when it came down to who doubled down on the theatrics, there’s no doubt that a number of Asian acts contributed the lion’s share—from Jackson Wang to Blackpink. And their performances were made all the more enjoyable for it.
With both acts affiliated to K-pop—the former being a member of GOT7 despite promoting a vastly different solo beat—the tour de force of the industry shone clear as day in each of their swanky stage performances. Where high-energy tunes swiftly follow synchronised choreographies, entire stages transform into high-octane sets and each performer boasts individual charisma through impeccable styling.
Over the years, the stakes for success in the K-pop industry have surely been raised; with newly-minted group NewJeans having drawn much of the attention as of late. But should we strip it all down, there’s a noticeable formula to all of this: the K-pop comeback. A means of promoting each individual group or idol’s new music, K-pop comebacks are accompanied by an intense schedule; including, but not limited to pre-song releases, music videos, recordings at South Korea’s domestic music shows and the exponential rise in fan meetings.
It makes sense then, for it to be an overwhelming source of excitement for anyone who considers themselves a K-pop fan. To the delight of many, it seems this time of the year also begets a number of faithful returns from the scene. Without further ado, the most hotly anticipated K-pop comebacks set to unveil themselves over the next few months—with some a long time in the making.
1 / 9
Despite being an eight-year-old idol group, it seems Seventeen has no plans of slowing down. Hot off the completion of their world tour that ended in late December 2022, the 13-member group swiftly entered 2023 with the promise of not just one, but two comebacks—a shocking piece of information that their leader S.Coups, had spoilt during the group’s fan meeting last month. And it seems the first one is soon to be with us. Titled FML, the group’s 10th mini album is a highly-contested one for its curious concept and bold attempt to release two title tracks at one go.
2 / 9
D-Day is almost here. For fans of Agust D—the alter ego of BTS’s Suga—this marks the third and possibly final album, before the superstar’s initiation into South Korea’s mandatory military service. But not to fret, for the ARMY has much ahead of them where the BTS member is concerned. Apart from the ten-track album release set to drop on 21 April, a documentary titled Suga: Road to D-Day and a world tour spanning across two months have both been confirmed for the star.
3 / 9
2022 had been a stellar return to the music scene for (G)I-DLE, with the release of ‘Tomboy’, a bonafide banger that picked up accolades at the major South Korean awards. But the quintet proves they are hungry for more—with a recent confirmation of their next comeback slated for the middle of May. Titled I feel, this marks the 6th mini album for (G)I-DLE and considering their track record of songwriting and powerful performances, it seems the Neverland (their fandom name) will have their work cut out for them.
4 / 9
At the start of the year, two of the biggest names in the industry joined hands for a high-octane collaboration: ‘Vibe’ by Taeyang and Jimin of BTS. Alongside the release of the joint track, came the promise of new music from the South Korean star and member of veteran idol group Big Bang. A fact which has since been confirmed, with an album release titled Down to Earth set for 25 April. It’s a win for V.I.Ps (Big Bang’s fanbase) all over, who have been patiently waiting in anticipation for the vocalist’s solo return since his last world tour ended in 2017.
5 / 9
Welcome to Aespa’s world. In a trailer that just dropped, Karina, Winter, Giselle and Ningning seem to be cast in a changed environment—one closer to our real, natural world rather than the cyberpunk scape usually associated with the ‘Savage’ four. As for how this will exactly translate into their 3rd mini album My World—slated for release on 8 May—remains to be seen. Whatever it is, we’re sure that the high-energy quartet will deliver a treat for all.
6 / 9
With Taemin’s official discharge from his military duties earlier this April, it seems Shawols (SHINee’s fans) will not have to wait much longer for a full-fledged comeback as four. After all, during their 14th Debut Anniversary Youtube Live last year, the group spoilt their own comeback with the slogan ‘2023 SHINee is back’. And should their original debut date be any indicator, we might be looking at a comeback in late May or June.
7 / 9
The cool girls of the new generation are here and they’re looking as snazzy as ever. Le Sserafim—yet another group that made their debut only in 2022—will be marking their one-year anniversary with their first studio album titled Unforgiven. Combining their hit tracks from last year such as ‘Antifragile’ and ‘Fearless’, the quintet will be presenting a bold 13-track strong songlist to their fans, the Fearnot. And from the movie-like trailer to the since-released teaser images, it seems the fans will have much to look forward to come 1 May.
8 / 9
The EXO-Ls (fans of EXO) have been in a notable drought of sorts—what with the members sifting in and out of their mandatory military service duties. But earlier in February, Baekhyun, the group’s main vocalist was finally discharged from his military duties, making the group whole once again. Despite member departures in the past few years, the group is determined to make their return with a full-fledged comeback. Earlier this month, the group held their fan meeting concert and indirectly confirmed that a comeback would be imminent in the next few months.
9 / 9
If there’s a group who’s managed to set the expectations of their music at an all time high, it would be NewJeans. After the massive success of ‘Attention’ and ‘Hype Boy’ upon their debut last July, came the mesmerising hits of ‘OMG’ and ‘Ditto’ in early January. With almost all of their songs turning into chart-toppers, the five-member group—comprising of Minji, Haerin, Hanni, Danielle and Hyein—have penned in their return for the middle of the year. Here’s to some feel-good summer tracks in time to come.