Curated Playlist: Enjoying Summer with K-Pop; BEST SUMMER SONG


Edited by Yoon
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Credit: SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, Pledis Entertainment

Certain songs go well with particular seasons: sweet love songs go well with spring, cool dance-pop suits summer, warm ballads match the autumn vibe, and carols perfectly fit for winter. But especially in summer, a lot of tropical, modern rock, and synth-sound songs are released to help us avoid the sweltering heat. And in the K-pop scene, very few teams haven’t tried to release the summer song. Among all the K-pop groups’ summer songs, I carefully recommend the 5 best tracks.


Red Velvet – Red Flavor

“Red Flavor,” the title track of their 2017 album The Red Summer, is Red Velvet’s best song and an indispensable song in the recent K-pop summer scene. On top of the synthesizer and rhythmic melody, members’ vocals echo in perfect harmony with the lyrics that compare love to fruit. From the introduction to the chorus and the catchy rap part, the song builds up its tension. After a short break to catch a breath in the bridge, Wendy belts out, “So tell me.” And that moment, the highlight of the song blossoms, completing a solid structure. Melody is very clear, and the members show off excellent control over their voice, satisfying all the essential factors in popular dance-pop. Their effort to go beyond making good songs and successfully develop the “red” concept by experimenting with the two-sided concept that the group has maintained is also remarkable.


f(x) – Hot Summer

When releasing a summer song, groups often scrub their original concepts. That’s mostly because they make an exception when they release such seasonal songs. However, f(x) added their seasonal song into their discography. “Hot Summer,” released in 2011, introduces members’ unique way of overcoming summer. Their suggestions to have fun in the “blue East sea” and “waterpark” shows how f(x) tried to meet the standards of other summer songs. However, lyrics like “If it’s too hot, wear something black and long” and “Let’s show the sweating foreigners the way” are a little confusing. Still, we accept it because the singer is no one other than f(x).

The unique thing about “Hot Summer” is that it was released as a summer song. But in fact, it doesn’t feel like a summer song if you closely listen to the lyrics. And yes, the song doesn’t give off a refreshing vibe, and the members don’t wear denim or white-and-blue outfits. But seeing them wearing a red outfit makes me feel like they’re fighting off the heat with heat.



SEVENTEEN unfolded summer in their unique way. Released in 2018, “Oh My!” avoids the “clichéd lyrics,” which is considered the biggest letdown of season songs. And there is no repeat of words like summer, sea, and waves. The refreshing sound and the repeating melody of “What do I do?” in the chorus are addictive. Yet, the variations such as “How about you?” and “Is it hard for you” make the song more interesting. Also, a 3-minute song must have been short for 13 members to sing. But their strategy of using rappers for the lower-pitched part of the chorus was smart. It may lack a significant impact, but it gives off the vibe of a cool breeze staying with us rather than freezing the heat of the summer. That makes the song more unique, and you won’t get tired of listening to this for a long time.



It’s the title track of the album of the same name released in 2016. You can sense the touch of producer LDN Noise throughout the song. The song was quite new then for trying the tropical genre before it became a trend in the K-pop scene. Breaking away from the summer song that simply praises summer, it contains the storytelling of “chilling,” the sentiment of these days. These lyrics are a great example: “The world isn’t all about trying to catch up,” “Even if I walk all day, the same landscape will never be seen.” Taking advantage of being a member of a K-pop group, Taeyeon also showed off her dance skills.

On top of everything, Taeyeon flawlessly pulls off killer high notes in the chorus. Plus, she pleasantly expresses the “cool exhilaration outside of everyday life.” Enjoying the laid-back charm of a professional idol is a bonus.



“LOVE ME LOVE ME” and “ISLAND” from the single album OUR TWENTY FOR released in 2017 are light dance-pop songs that are quite similar to their previous song “Really Really.” Wind instruments or the synth sound fill up the song, but the members who sing along to the melody are free and relaxed. The voices and characteristics of the four members are clear and natural, so it feels like they’re having a blast on stage. And that was a great element in creating a tropical vibe of summer. The finger heart dance in “LOVE ME LOVE ME” is childish, but I can’t think of any other dance that’ll express the song’s loveliness.

Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.

Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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