Kpop Summer Jams!
KARA, Promotional Activities for Go Go Summer in Japan

Guess what? It’s summer! You know what that means? It’s time for THAT song, the song you’ll play over and over again because it’s like having sunshine on your iPod. It’s your summer jam!

But what is a summer jam? Urban Dictionary defines a summer jam as “a song that represents the spirit of summer, and all of the heat and activities that happen during the summer. A song that makes you sit up and say, ‘Man-that is my JAM!'”  It doesn’t even have to be released during the summer to have that summer vibe. So, here are a few of my favorite summer jams!

JJ Project, Bounce

I am sure if people knew what made a song instantaneously likeable, they would bottle it. This song dares you not to like it. Released on May 19, 2012, Bounce reintroduced us to ridiculously supercute JB and Jr., who most recently starred in the Kdrama Dream High 2.

The song, like the video, is upbeat and fun. I may or may not have blasted it while driving my car completely within the speed limit down the highway. It has a good mix of pop, hip hop and rock that just says “good times” and summer. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so. To date, it has garnered over 3 million views on YouTube.

MBLAQ, I Don’t Know

When I think of MBLAQ, I think of their sultry ballads like Cry.  Ashley recognizes its use of “emotional distraught dancing in the rain.”   Or, I think of ninja choreography for songs like Run, which some netizens, according to Emily Wu, see as “dangerous”: “Even though netizens found the performance to be amazing, which saw the boys clad in black and had a dance break of Lee Joon dancing with two katanas, they still thought the ninja concept was a bit overboard.” But neither of these prepares you for the ultra-peppy I Don’t Know.

From the Mona Lisa album, I Don’t Know has that summer vibe, not to mention the silly factor injected by the boys of MBLAQ, especially with the wacky styling choices, goofy stage presence and short exchange between Mir and Cheondung at the end.

SNSD, Utja (Be Happy)

It’s not just the guys who bring the summer. SNSD, known for their upbeat songs, do not disappoint with this release.  In some ways, this is not a surprise.  From the 2010 album Oh!, it reinforces their happy-happy image.

Not only is the song’s message positive, the use of the girls’ high voices and electronic background makes this a great dance song.

Wheesung, Love is Delicious

As I said, songs do not have to be released during the summer. They don’t even have to be relentlessly uptempo to be a summer jam.  A friend of mine made me a Kpop CD and this song was on it. Like many good summer jams, it instantly screams beach, rainbows and unicorns (ok, maybe not unicorns).

What I really like about the video for the song, from the 2010 release Eternal Essence of Music, is that it appeals to both guys and gals.  Not super sweet, the strategic use of strings along with a light beat makes the song very summer.

Of course there are tons more….but what are you some of your favorite Kpop summer jams?


“Summerjam,” Urban Dictionary.

Ashley, “Anatomy of an MV: MBLAQ’s ‘CRY,'” seoulbeats

Emily Wu, “MBLAQ Gets Criticized For The Ninja Choreography of ‘Run,'” Ningin

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