Bop Shop: Songs From Doechii, Sunmi, The Beths, And More

    There’s a reason Chung Ha remains one of South Korea’s most successful soloists, and her newly released track “Sparkling” is proof. As the first single off her EP Bare and Rare, Pt. 1, “Sparkling” is a high-energy, hyperpop love song that’s perfect for summer. The track, which details the emotions of an exciting fling, layers ’80s-inspired synths with Chung Ha’s clear and powerful vocals for a bop that feels at once retro and contemporary. Accompanied by a pastel-explosion of a music video that takes place under the sea, Chung Ha truly sparkles in a myriad of bedazzled silhouettes, performing lively choreography designed to go viral. With each comeback, Chung Ha prepares an exciting experience for fans, keeping them consistently in anticipation for what’s to come next. If “Sparkling” represents all that is Part 1, then we are in for a treat with Part 2, due later this year. —Sarina Bhutani

    Alexander 23’s Gentle Musings On The Aftershock Of Love

    By Alex Gonzalez

    In the three years he’s spent collaborating behind the scenes, the artist Alexander 23 has built an impressive resume. As one of the music industry’s go-to songwriters and producers, he’s collaborated with Olivia Rodrigo, Selena Gomez, and Chelsea Cutler, among others, coining a sound that strikes a chord between sharp lyricism and instrumental melodies.

    It all started in Deerfield, Illinois, where Alexander 23, born Alexander Glantz, was raised. He became enamored with music “immediately as I gained consciousness,” he says, which he estimates was in “like, the fifth grade.” Around that time, he played on his elementary school’s basketball team, and he enjoyed listening to albums from rock bands like Kansas and Supertramp from beginning to end during the long drives to games. His father helped cultivate that passion, regularly playing the guitar around the house.

    Glantz briefly attended the University of Pennsylvania to study engineering but withdrew after a year to focus on music. At 19, he moved to New York and joined an indie band called The Heydaze, teaching himself to play bass, piano, drums, and guitar along the way. The group was short-lived and disbanded in 2017. That’s when he moved to Los Angeles with only the earnest goal of writing for other artists — and notably, without a car. He remembers the solo cross-country move as being a strenuous process. “You cannot walk around L.A., which I learned the hard way early on,” Glantz says. “A few expensive Ubers later, I bought a shitty little car.”

    Stefan Kohli

    While he entertained the idea of being a soloist, Glantz initially figured that working behind the scenes would allow for more financial stability. Having become well-versed in production software like Ableton, he landed himself production credits on tracks for pop musicians like AJ Mitchell and Sam Setton. About “five or six months” after moving to California, he decided to take a chance and record songs of his own while continuing to team up with other artists.

    Since then, he’s released two nine-track EPs, including 2019’s I’m Sorry I Love You and Oh No, Not Again! in 2021. His ability to combine live instrumentation with contemporary electronic elements, as well as his knack for describing behaviors for which people often don’t have the words, has made him one of the industry’s most sought-after collaborators. On Aftershock, his proper full-length debut, he details the process of a harrowing breakup, from the first inklings of doubt to finally closing the chapter, over the course of 11 poignant tracks.

    “I like to think of it as a one-year-plus-or-minus radius away from a breakup,” Glantz says. “It’s about the events leading up to it, the breakup, then getting over it; meeting new people, thinking you’re ready to meet new people, and you’re not actually ready. You miss her, but you don’t miss who you were together. It’s definitely a breakup album, which obviously I’m not the first person to do, but I tried to really pull from my specific experience and really get into the nitty gritty and all the nuances that I was feeling.”

    Aftershock opens with “Hate Me if It Helps,” which sees Glantz unfazed in the midst of his ex’s bitterness. On it, he allows his former partner to blame him for the dissolution of their relationship, even if her accounts are false. Co-written by Olivia Rodrigo, for whom he co-produced “Good 4 U,” the track features Glantz questioning the truth of what his ex is telling her friends and family before issuing saccharine apologies on the bridge. “I’m sorry I stayed up with you every night / For making you laugh when you wanted to cry / I’m sorry I paid for your SSRIs,” he sings.

    Many fans have found the line to be playfully tongue-in-cheek, but others have taken to social media to say the lyric further stigmatizes mental health issues. “You know, what’s funny about that line is I never meant for it to be a large mental health conversation starter,” Glantz says. “I have plenty of songs about that, as well, but I wanted a line in there that felt like something you would regrettably say in the heat of feeling a certain way about someone or a certain situation.”

    On the excruciatingly self-aware “Crash,” Glantz recounts the painful early stages of the split: changing his ex’s name on his phone, dreading Valentine’s Day chocolates (which he says now “taste like charcoal”), and recalling texts he typed up but never sent. While he still has love and respect for his ex, he understands that the two of them are no longer meant to be together. He sings, “I miss you, but I don’t miss us / ‘Cause apart we’re great, but together we suck.”

    Glantz admits that he’s learned the hard way that two people, even with the best intentions, can bring out the worst in each other. “The sum of the parts is not always greater,” Glantz notes. “That’s something I think people need to learn, especially in more intimate and romantic relationships. It sucks. And I think the fact that it sucks makes you want to fight for it more, which in turn, only makes it worse.”

    Stefan Kohli

    Glantz’s music is undoubtedly relatable. His ability to put universal feelings, like the train of thoughts and the behavioral patterns that follow heartbreak, into words has set him apart as a thoughtful young musician in an era of quick, hook-heavy TikTok grabs. Take the punchy, percussion-filled track called “Cosplay,” wherein he describes the moment of realizing that he and his ex were never good for each other. He surmises that they were simply imitating the mannerisms and aesthetics of “each other’s exes” from previous relationships.

    Perhaps the most powerful track on the collection doesn’t pertain to a breakup at all. On the ballad “The Hardest Part,” driven by gentle piano keys and a melancholy guitar riff, Glantz reflects on the loss of a friend. The song’s chorus — “the hardest part of getting old, is that some people that you don’t love don’t” — evokes a grand feeling of sadness while pointing to the small, intimate moments that make a friendship special. He describes noticing when the “trees turn red” and realizing that he’ll never again see the “three dots” that appear as someone is replying to a text message.

    While Glantz paints a vivid picture of his friend, “The Hardest Part” also speaks to the grief and loss every one of us has faced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “This has been the first time where I’ve had friends start to pass away,” Glantz says. “It’s incredibly strange to reconcile. And even when it’s not someone who you talk to every day, even if it’s losing someone whom you only speak to a few times a year but have a shared childhood and history with, it’s really strange to deal with. It hits you on birthdays or coming home for Thanksgiving. Learning how to deal with that emotionally has been a journey.”

    Over the years, Glantz has opened concerts for several major artists, including Mxmtoon, Omar Apollo, and John Mayer. During a show in Boston, Mayer joined Glantz on stage to perform a cover of Tears for Fears’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Glantz will tour this fall in support of Aftershock, which he says is the “cherry” on top of making music. As a songwriter and producer, he is always satisfied when he can take another artist’s song to the next level, but as he prepares to perform his own body of work, he admits to feeling a perfectionist’s sense of concern. He knows fans will associate these songs with him forever.

    “I remember that, when I’m making music for me, I’m gonna have to live with these songs, both as a representation of me and also my life,” he says. “I’m definitely a bit more particular when making music for myself, which, in turn, makes producing for other people a little bit easier. But making music for others versus myself is just different, more so than easier or harder.”

    Harry Styles Breaks Out The Party Pajamas In ‘Late Night Talking’ Video

    Harry Styles has been doing all this “Late Night Talking,” and he is ready to take you for a ride in his bed — literally.

    The British pop star dropped the new music video for his latest Harry’s House hit on Wednesday (July 13), and it begins with Styles dressed in pink and brown pajamas, waking up in an empty bed. He finds his former bedmate’s clothes lying on top of an amp speaker. Confused, he looks under the covers and cartoonishly falls inside the mattress. He crawls through the covers in a new blue-brown polka dot set and enters another dimension: a red room with numerous people cuddling and kissing on a supersized bed.

    “If you’re feeling down, I just wanna make you happier, baby,” he sings, popping his head out of the scarlet covers. “Wish I was around, I just wanna make you happiеr, baby.” Styles wakes up in another bed inside a gallery, this time wearing a tan blazer over his PJs and with various people scrutinizing him as if he were an artwork himself. The next time the bed teleports, Harry is served a meal of spaghetti and meatballs. “I’ve never been a fan of change,” he sings in the second verse. “But I’d follow you to any place / If it’s Hollywood or Bishopsgate, I’m coming too.”

    He can be later seen briefly dining with a man, posing for selfies together. The scene changes to Styles sitting on an intricate baroque bed with a different woman, also taking photos and using binoculars to watch a road engulfed in chaotic traffic. As cars beep, the singer rides on a different bed across the street, enjoying a pillow fight with his friends. Different snippets and photos of him and his friends cuddling and snoozing together appear. “We’ve been doin’ all this late-night talkin’,” he sings in the chorus. “’Bout anything you want until thе morning / Now you’re in my life / I can’t get you off my mind.”

    In the countryside, Styles hosts a book club with two women on a vine-encompassing bed, but a thunderstorm envelopes the sky. As it begins pouring, Styles suddenly disappears, leaving the women perplexed. He and his bed fall from a great height in panic initially but then, to conclude the video and song, Styles relaxes and lies on his back unbothered.

    “Late Night Talking” is the second single from Harry Styles’ latest album Harry’s House and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Meanwhile, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and several other charts in multiple countries. Lead single “As It Was” still sits atop the Hot 100, and two songs from the album have debuted in the chart’s Top 10: “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” (No. 8) and “Matilda” (No. 9). Styles is also set to star in two upcoming films later this year: My Policeman, which will be set for a limited release in theaters on October 21 and available to stream on Prime Video on November 4, and Don’t Worry Darling in cinemas September 23.

    BTS Will Tell ‘A Story Of Our Music’ In Disney+ Docuseries and Concert Special

    The boys of BTS are giving you “Permission to Dance” on stage with them on their upcoming new Disney+ specials.

    The sensational pop group will star in exclusive shows on the streaming platform following a collaboration agreement between their studio Hybe Corporation and the Walt Disney Company. The negotiation “to showcase creative excellence from South Korea’s music and entertainment industry” will include five specials, though so far, only three titles have been revealed.

    “This will be the start of a long-term collaboration, where we present worldwide audiences a wide range of Hybe content for fans who love our music and artists,” Park Ji-won, CEO of Hybe, said in a statement. “The Walt Disney Company has a long history of franchise building and promoting musical artists, with its unparalleled brands and platforms.”

    One of the specials includes a cinematic 4K concert film named BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage – LA. It will feature BTS’s November 2021 live performances of the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles “Butter” and “Permission to Dance” at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. No release date has been set, but according to an interview on Disney+ Singapore, it will be coming out soon.

    Another project that is reportedly releasing shortly is a travel reality show titled In the Soup: Friendcation. In addition to V of BTS, it will feature an ensemble cast including Itaewon Class’s Seo-jun Park, Parasite’s Woo-shik Choi, actor and boy band ZE:A’s Hyung-sik Park, and rapper Peakboy. The show will follow the five performers taking a surprise trip and participating in various fun activities, from walking on the beach and exploring new places. A release date is set to July 22 and a teaser trailer can be found below.

    A docu-series titled BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star on the band’s career and rise to international stardom is also set to be released in 2023. It will also give the Army glimpses of “a more up close and personal side” of the members and, according to the group, “take you on a journey of how we have grown in the past years” and is “a story of our music.”

    “With unprecedented access to a vast library of music and footage over the past nine years, the series will feature the daily lives, thoughts and plans of BTS members, as they prepare for their second chapter,” Disney said in a statement to Hollywood Reporter.

    Following the release of their anthology album Proof in June, BTS announced that they would be “going on a hiatus,” although a spokesperson clarified to Rolling Stone that they are not parting ways, but rather breaking to “take time to explore some solo projects at this time and remain active in various different formats.” Jungkook reassured the Army they “will return someday even more mature than we are now.”

    How’d Tampa Rapper Doechii Go From TikTok To Top Dawg? She’s ‘Persuasive’

    After going viral on TikTok in 2021 with the nostalgic track “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake,” which details her origin story, Doechii has been breaking in the industry. The self-proclaimed Swamp Princess and rapper, whose given name is Jaylah Hickman, performed her enticing single “Persuasive” at the 2022 BET Awards, delivering an impressive open season freestyle for XXL Freshman that landed her on their Freshman list the same year. She was featured with David Guetta, Missy Elliott, Afrojack, and Bia in the catchy club-ready collab “Trampoline.”

    And now, always pressing herself to improve, Doechii is the MTV Push Artist for July 2022. “I’m tedious about it as a craft, and I wanna get better,” she said. “And so, I’m constantly trying to push myself to make bridges and make them better and find new pockets, new ways and harmonies and incorporate a lot of skill into my art.”

    Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Doechii was influenced by local underground artists like Tom. G, Trina, and Trick Daddy. She wrote her first rap verse titled “Cookie Cream Pie” for her talent show in sixth grade. “It [had] some corny lyrics,” she recalled. “I genuinely love it, but I’m embarrassed to sing it.” She realized her passion for performing when she and a friend staged a dance to Justin Bieber’s “Baby” at their school’s talent show. “It was an overwhelming adrenaline of nerves and anxiousness, but I still kinda really liked it.”

    MTV

    At first, Doechii did not have the resources to mix and produce audio, so she wrote her songs acapella. “Which I didn’t know was a skill ’til now,” she said. “But now, I feel like I’m spoiled and I prefer to hear [the] beat first and then I’ll write music after.” When she finally was able to mix audio in her music, her first song “Girls,” a scorned five-minute track about unreliable people,was posted on SoundCloud in 2016 under the username “Iamdoechii.” The track was rereleased five years later in her 2021 EP Bra-Less.

    Doechii self-published two more EPs, Coven Music Session, Vol. 1 in 2019 and Oh the Places You’ll Go in 2020. The former was described by Rolling Stone as “an autobiographical melange of pop, dance, and hip-hop.” The latter featured her viral hit “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake,” catapulting her into the limelight. The project’s collaboration with Isaiah Rashad and Kal Banx, the R&B-hip-hop track “Wat U Sed,” has garnered over 22.23 million Spotify streams. In 2022, Doechii made her break signing with the legendary Tap Dawg Entertainment and Capitol Records, working closely with producer Kal Banks in polishing her pensive ode to marijuana, “Persuasive.”

    “We were drinking, we were dancing, we were having a good time,” Doechii said of the recording process. She describes the track, which she performs below, as both “slumber party music” and “rooftop music.” While it was originally intended to bring people together, the song also became a way for the rapper to express her queerness, which she will continue to do on her forthcoming four-song EP She/Her, Black Bitch. She said, “I wanted something that sonically represented the feeling that I feel when I’m around my friends and people that understand me and accept me as a gay woman.”

    Bop Shop: Songs From Muna, J-Hope, King Princess, And More

    If you’ve dealt with an ex or even a toxic “friend” who has repeatedly tried breaking your boundaries, this cathartic song is for you. The ladies of Little Mix refuse to be played around with anymore, and they will not be treated like doormats. “I say, ‘No, no, no’ / I said ‘yes’ too many times / You should know, know, know,” they sing. “Told you, ‘I’m no longer under your control’ / See, I’m not the kind of girl I was before / Can’t walk over me no more.” Simply put, this is a powerful “fuck you” anthem. —Athena Serrano

    Natalie Imbruglia Passes The ‘Torn’ Torch To Olivia Rodrigo In Surprise Duet

    Olivia Rodrigo has been pulling out a lot of surprises for her North American-European Sour tour, and on Wednesday (July 6), she invited Natalie Imbruglia to have a duet performance on the Australian singer’s 1997 hit “Torn” at the Eventim Apollo venue in London.

    A fan recorded a video of the two singers taking turns singing different parts of the song, with Imbruglia kicking off the first verse before joining in harmony for the chorus. The audience also vocalized along with them.

    Upon concluding the duet, Rodrigo bowed at Imbruglia’s feet and embraced her. Imbruglia later took to social media thanking the “Good 4 U” singer for inviting her to the stage. She wrote, “Love you! Thank you,” and signed it with a purple heart emoji at the end.

    Earlier this week, Rodrigo tested out the cover during a surprise performance of “Torn” at a dive bar in Manchester called Bunny Jackson’s.

    “Torn” was initially recorded in 1993 by Danish singer Lis Sørensen, then by the alt-rock band Ednaswap in 1994, and later by American-Norwegian singer Trine Rein in 1996. The song’s lyrics touch upon heartbreak and feelings of shame after being deceived by an ex-lover. Imbruglia’s cover became the most popular, peaking at No. 1 on singles charts in several countries and on three U.S. Billboard charts.

    Rodrigo has collaborated with multiple special guests during her Sour Tour. In April, Avril Lavigne joined her on stage in Toronto for a guitar-struck rendition of the Canadian star’s quintessential hit “Complicated.” The next month, she performed Alanis Morisette’s scorned anthem “You Oughta Know” in Los Angeles. Recently, the “Drivers License” singer did a duet with Lily Allen at the Glastonbury Festival in singing a “F*ck You” to the U.S. Supreme Court for their decision in overturning Roe v. Wade.

    Olivia Rodrigo will wrap up her Sour Tour on Thursday (July 7) with a second show at the Eventim Apollo.

    The Summery Sounds Of VIVIZ, K-pop’s Resilient Trio

    By Nadia Trudel

    It’s difficult not to be charmed by the “rookie veteran” girl group VIVIZ.

    From notoriously grueling trainee days to the struggle for recognition, unbridled success, and later rebirth, theirs is a unique path. You can’t help but root for Eunha, 25; SinB, 24; and Umji, 23. The three originally debuted in 2015, making up half of the girl group GFRIEND. Originally considered underdogs in the industry, GFRIEND went viral for performing breakout hit “Me Gustas Tu” at an outdoor concert in the rain where, despite multiple brutal falls, the girls kept getting up and dancing. The incident is a shining symbol of their resilience and work ethic.

    After the abrupt disbandment of the beloved group in May 2021, the girls could’ve gone their separate ways. Instead, Eunha, SinB, and Umji came together to form VIVIZ. A clever abbreviation of the phrase “vivid dayz,” the group lives up to their sunny name with their bouncy debut track “BOP BOP!” and the refreshing passion of “LOVEADE,” off their new mini-album Summer Vibe. While the musicians tackled innocent, sophisticated, magical, and emotional concepts during their time as GFRIEND, their turn to retro pop makes VIVIZ especially exciting to watch.

    VIVIZ has had a busy year between their debut in February and subsequent promotions for “BOP BOP!,” competing against groups like LOONA, WJSN, and Kep1er on the reality competition show Queendom 2, festival appearances, and their summer comeback. Despite their schedule, the artists join a midday Zoom call to chat about the many colors of Summer Vibe they’re bringing to fans. They happen to arrive in order of their age.

    There’s main vocalist Eunha, whose bubbly voice makes her instantly recognizable despite keeping her camera turned off. Next is main dancer SinB. On Queendom 2 she attracted attention for her playfully blunt personality, particularly when she was shown getting out of a car looking serious while holding up a sign on her phone that read, “I’m in a good mood.” She presents the most mature image in the trio, with long dark hair and a small smirk rather than a toothy smile. Finally, there’s the maknae, or youngest member, Umji. Her once-flaming orange hair has faded to a soft sunset, and she appears up close and approachable. During the interview, she opts to answer a few questions in English without help from the interpreter.

    MTV News: All three of you have been in the music industry for over seven years now. How has the K-pop industry changed since your original debut in 2015 and your debut this year?

    Umji: Firstly, I think the genre of music has become very diverse during the past years, and it seems as though the characteristics of content have changed a lot. In the past, there were only platforms that were for television. But now, there are so many good platforms, such as YouTube, and we’re participating in many of them. I think there have been a lot of changes in that sense.

    MTV News: After working together for so long, how did reforming as a trio change your relationships with each other or your group dynamic?

    Eunha: Although we always had a good relationship before, I think we became even more reliant on each other and love each other more since becoming VIVIZ.

    MTV News: The title of your new mini-album is Summer Vibe, what kind of mood were you trying to set?

    SinB: You’ll be able to feel the freshness and excitement about summer through the title track and the B-side tracks of the album.

    MTV News: Which song on the mini-album is your favorite?

    Umji: I really love all the songs, but I think my favorite song excluding the title track is “Love Love Love.”

    MTV News: Is there any reason?

    Umji: I love the track, especially the chorus and the bass sound. It makes me excited.

    Eunha: My favorite song is “SIESTA.” You’ll be able to feel a kind of lethargic and breezy feeling that’s suitable for summer.

    SinB: I like the song called “Choom” [Korean for dance]. The title makes it seem like it would be an exciting song to dance to, but it actually has a very calm and somewhat mature feeling. I like how it’s a song you can comfortably listen to.

    MTV News: What type of performance can fans expect for your comeback?

    Umji: Considering that it’s a song for summer, I think they would be able to witness amazing energy from our members, and rather than us trying so hard, I think it’d be nice if they look forward to seeing VIVIZ enjoy the song.

    MTV News: Competition can be stressful, but it can also be very energizing. What was it like participating in Queendom, your first survival show?

    Eunha: I was worrying a lot before we went into shooting. I didn’t have any previous experience with competing, so I worried that it would be very stressful. But preparing for the stages was more enjoyable than I had predicted, and I was happy to receive the attention.

    REELS Corporation Inc.

    MTV News: Which Queendom performance are you most proud of?

    SinB: Actually, we’re proud of all of our performances since we put so much effort while preparing for them. That being said, our final stage, the song itself was a song that we had been waiting so long for to be released to the world, so we’re very pleased and proud that we were able to pull off the performance well.

    MTV News: In your final stage you performed “Red Sun!,” which was a song from your previous group that was never released. How did it feel to finally perform it?

    Umji: Frankly speaking, although it is a song that we received during our time as GFRIEND, the original plan of the song was to make an album or do a performance during a concert as a unit group with the three of us. So, for a long time, “Red Sun!” was a song that the three of us were planning to perform, and we felt a sense of fulfillment to have finally come through with the plan that didn’t happen back then. In addition, since the song wasn’t in our hands, we missed and longed for it. We went into preparing for the performance with the thought that the song had finally found its rightful owners.

    MTV News: You recently performed with some of your label mates like Soyou, Lee Mujin, and Mighty Mouth. Is there an artist with whom you’d like to collaborate?

    SinB: Actually, we didn’t have fellow company artists until coming to Big Planet Made, and since there are so many artists here, including Soyou, I think it would be wonderful to collaborate with each one of them as the opportunities arise.

    MTV News: All three of you have written and composed songs in the past. Are you working on anything right now?

    Eunha: We didn’t participate in any songs for this album. However, all of us are still very interested in writing and composing, and we think it would be great if we could participate in making a good song someday.

    REELS Corporation Inc.

    MTV News: How do you stay energized and creative?

    SinB: At this moment, noticing how we are developing and improving makes us want to work harder. Also, because we have a strong desire to show our diverse sides to our fans, we’re putting in the extra effort and trying to learn more about ourselves.

    MTV News: Starting a new chapter as a new group, what goals do you have?

    Umji: Although there may be times when I get tired while doing what we do, I wish to try to enjoy the hardships to a certain degree and to always remain grateful and happy even during those times.

    Eunha: Since we are planning our United States debut, we hope to make the name VIVIZ widely known in the U.S., as well!

    Blackpink Are Making A Comeback With New Music — And Their Largest Tour Yet

    Blackpink is back in your area. The record label YG Entertainment announced on Wednesday (July 6) that the girl group will make a comeback with new music in August and that they are in the “final stages of recording a new album.”

    According to the label’s press release, the band is working on “a continuous large-scale project which will extend through the second half of the year.” Additionally, “Blackpink will also go on the largest world tour in the history of a K-pop girl group by the end of the year to expand their rapport with fans worldwide.”

    This will be their second world tour since their In Your Area World Tour, which took place between 2018 and 2020. No exact dates for music releases and their next tour have been announced, nor the number of stops they will make, but Blinks have taken to social media to rejoice with excitement.

    In March, Jennie appeared on episode eight of Korean YouTube channel “The Game Caterers” with several artists from YG Entertainment, including TK and TK, and she teased Blackpink’s return.

    “Blackpink is also making a comeback soon. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but since I’m the only [Blackpink member] here, I’ll just say it,” she said with a smile. “Please look forward to it. Thank you very much.”

    Just last week, the K-pop girl group became the first musical act to reach 75 million subscribers on YouTube, where they share their music videos, choreography practices, and behind-the-scenes clips. Back in September 2021, Blackpink became the most-subscribed artist on the platform, surpassing the 65.5 million mark and outdoing Justin Bieber. Currently, his over 69.3 million subscriber count is in close competition with BTS’s 68.7 million numbers.

    Blackpink released their first studio album The Album in October 2020, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart. Three of their songs from The Album have landed on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Ice Cream” with Selena Gomez at No. 13, “How You Like That” at No. 33, and “Lovesick Girls” at No. 59.

    Bop Shop: Songs From Lava La Rue, Raye, Kizz Daniel, And More

    “After years and fears and smiling through my tears, all I ask of you is open your ears,” Raye croons at the top of “Hard Out Here,” the first single off her upcoming debut album. Her first release since becoming independent, Raye uses this opportunity as a declaration of agency, a way to reclaim control over her own narrative, both sonically and lyrically. Deviating away from the hyperpop and EDM melodies with which she’s most often associated, Raye goes for an edgier R&B sound, giving herself enough space to tell her story. Accompanied by an art house-esque visual displaying a strong and powerful Raye in full form, “Hard Out Here” marks the start of a renaissance, an exciting and liberating new chapter for the artist now in control. —Sarina Bhutani