Eight K-pop songs from July 2021 you need to hear, from BTS to Taeyeon

Also including singles by LOONA, 2PM, EXO’s D.O. and more

Veteran boyband 2PM and their first single in five years, ‘Make It’, lead the list of K-pop songs you need to hear from a busy July 2021. There’s also BTS’ chart-topping summer anthem ‘Permission To Dance’, as well as releases from legends-in-the-making NCT Dream and (G)I-DLE’s Jeon Soyeon.

Fresh offerings from Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, sibling duo AKMU, EXO’s D.O. and more are also featured on this month’s list. Let’s jump right into the eight K-pop songs from July 2021 you need to hear.

2PM’s ‘Make It’

The veteran K-pop boyband recently returned from a five-year hiatus with their seventh studio album ‘Must’, which included the sultry title track ‘Make It’.


What NME said: “30 seconds in and the song’s saucy pre-chorus reels you in and never lets go, with a sultry drawl on the chorus that will no doubt get stuck in heads. It’s the kind of flirty charm that 2PM has successfully mastered over the years and are able to pull off with a touch of class.” – Sofiana Ramli


Lee Chan-hyuk and Lee Su-hyun of AKMU have teamed up with none other than IU on ‘NAKKA’, off their newly released collaborative EP ‘Next Episode’.

What NME said: “The song is very much the musical version of a trust fall, with Chan-hyuk and Su-hyun singing reassuringly, ‘I told you I’d never leave you / When such a day comes’, and IU joining in the vocal gymnastics of the chorus: ‘Trust me, close your eyes and fall / One, two, three, hold your breath and fall’.– Ruby C

BTS’ ‘Permission To Dance’

BTS are back again with yet another feel-good summer anthem called ‘Permission To Dance’, but this time they’ve gotten some help from a little someone named Ed Sheeran.


What NME said: “It’s easy to dismiss feel-good, summery pop songs as lightweight or throwaway. But they’re an important contribution to our musical spectrum – without the light, bright, happy moments, we’d be in a relentless slog of mining our trauma and nobody needs that.” – Rhian Daly

D.O.’s ‘Rose’

In his first venture as a solo artist, EXO’s main vocalist D.O. has set the bar high with the intimate acoustic pop title track ‘Rose’, from the mini-album ‘공감 (Empathy)’.

What NME said: “‘Rose’ [is] a chirpy self-penned romantic ditty that’s equal parts whimsical and nostalgic. It’s a surprisingly ​saccharine tune, especially from a man who for the most parts of his career has used his big voice on grand ballads.” – Sofiana Ramli

Jeon Soyeon ‘Beam Beam’

(G)I-DLE’s charismatic leader Jeon Soyeon takes a short break from the girl group to release her debut mini-album ‘Windy’, which features the infectious title track ‘BEAM BEAM’.

What NME said: “‘BEAM BEAM’ cleverly uses punk-rock elements to evoke the flippant, happy-go-lucky attitude that drives the track forward. It’s an eccentric fusion that plays to Soyeon’s strengths as a rapper, but more notably as a vocalist, toeing the line between catchy hip-hop verses and vocal-heavy choruses.” – Angela Patricia Suacillo

LOONA’s ‘Paint The Town (PTT)’

After a couple months away, LOONA have returned with ‘Paint The Town (PTT)’, off their new mini-album ‘[&]’, which they’ve described as their “most intense and explosive” release yet.

What NME said: “This brainchild of producers Hitmanic and Ryan S. Jhun brings together elements of Bollywood sounds with dubstep and 808 bass. Its unique fusion melody certainly gives LOONA the chance to ‘paint the world with their own colours’.” – Ruby C

NCT Dream’s ‘Hello Future’

NCT Dream cap the promotional cycle for their debut studio album ‘Hot Sauce’ with a repackaged version called ‘Hello Future’, which features a glistening pop gem of the same name.

What NME said: “[The song] is a gleaming juggernaut of a song that encapsulates all sides of the seven-member group and then sends them soaring off into the stratosphere. More obviously, it packs a big pop punch and harnesses, as its title suggests, that sleek sense of futurism that often crops up across the SM roster.” – Rhian Daly

Taeyeon’s ‘Weekend’

Girls’ Generation leader Taeyeon embraces disco and city pop on ‘Weekend’, her first solo release of 2021, following last year’s ‘What Do I Call You’.

What NME said: “The lyrics of ‘Weekend’, together with the song’s disco and city pop elements, accurately captures the lighthearted and carefree feel its namesake brings. It’s a refreshing genre switch-up compared to the vocalist’s most recent releases, such as the R&B-infused 2020 single ‘What Do I Call You’ and ‘Happy’, a modern-day interpretation of doo-wop.” – Ruby C