If you're a K-pop fan, you can more or less count on your favorite artists at least releasing something throughout the calendar year. When though? That's completely up in the air.
While the calendar is still wide open, we have some news on a few of the year's most anticipated projects, and Fuse has crafted a list of the albums we need to have from the scene this year. From the long-awaited full-lengths to solo debuts along with some comebacks others may deem wishful thinking, here are the 10 albums we'll be wishing and hoping to hear in 2016.
What: The K-pop phenoms' long-awaited Made album
Why: Made was originally scheduled for fall last year, but after releasing, filming music videos and promoting eight singles, BIGBANG understandably needed a rest. While the guys have said the full-length is "coming out very soon," there's no set date for when we'll get Made. We do believe we'll get it soon, though, as the band capitalizes off the record-breaking hype from the previous Made singles and eldest member TOP needing to soon need to enlist in South Korea's mandatory military service (required for all men between ages 18-35) so the group will need to come out with their biggest bang yet before the quick hiatus.
What: The Girls' Generation vocalist's debut solo album
Why: After Taeyeon became the first GG member to go solo (to stunning results), Tiffany has been announced as next in line for her time in the solo spotlight. The 26-year-old has a love for R&B (watch her sweet take on Ariana Grande's "The Way" above) and we have a feeling she'd include a few songs in English too, as a treat to international fans.
What: The second album from the girl group's newly rebooted lineup
Why: Wonder Girls have already confirmed the follow-up to last year's Reboot—a.k.a. the best K-pop album of 2015—and it really can't come fast enough. We loved how the members wrote and played instruments on Reboot, and we hope to see even more involvement for the next chapter.
What: The girl group's long-awaited comeback to the K-pop scene
Why: After School hasn't promoted in Korea in more than two years, which is a shame for one of the best performers in K-pop (um, do you know any pop act that pulls off pole dancing and pop music? See above). While nothing's been announced just yet, we have a feeling we'll see something from the girls this year. And hey, who's to say a nice rest won't create awesome results? Just see what happened with Wonder Girls last year.
What: A potential reunion for the band's 20th anniversary
Why: No doubt H.O.T was one of the most important groups in establishing what K-pop is today. There have been whispers that the group will reunite for their 20th anniversary, a huge landmark, and we think the group is prime for a reunion now that K-pop's international reach is bigger than ever.
What: New music from the group, potentially produced by Skrillex
Why: 4Minute had one of the best singles of 2015 with the swagger-ific "Crazy" from February. While the ladies were planning to release more music at the end of the year, it looks like their next album will be worth the wait. Rumor has it that Skrillex is producing their new single, after the group shared photos with him in the studio. The producer is currently on a roll with recent work with Justin Bieber and Diplo, and we think adding his work to this fierce female act is a musical match made in a pop heaven.
What: New music from AOA's splinter band unit
Why: In the last two years, AOA has evolved from rookie girl group to a trend-setting dance act. While on their way up, the septet created AOA Black, a splinter band quintet where the four members who play instruments came together along with a drummer Youkyung. The group announced plans for both new AOA music and a comeback from AOA Black, who last promoted in 2013. It's always fun when idols show different talents, and we'd love to see more live instruments being performed onstage this year in K-pop.
What: The first music from the singer/fashion designer after her controversial departure from Girls' Generation
Why: Any K-pop fan will tell you that Jessica Jung has a very distinct tone and vocal color, and, honestly, we really miss hearing it! Despite leaving Girls' Generation, the 26-year-old has promised she hasn't abandoned her love of entertainment and will be releasing music soon.
What: The follow-up to the teen singer's debut album First Love
Why: It's been nearly three years since we heard new material from the 19-year-old, but 2016 appears to mark her imminent return. Lee Hi's new album is being overseen by Epik High's recently created HIGHGRND label, which recently brought in producers from Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music to collaborate. Lee Hi songs like "Rose" showed the girl had a maturity beyond her years and we're salivating to hear what a little Yeezy added to mix will sound like.
What: The first release from the Girls' Generation splinter trio of Sooyoung, Hyoyeon and Yuri
Why: Rumors have been growing that the three Girls' Generation members were teaming together for an album last year, and those were further fueled when the trio performed a badass cover of Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" at GG's Seoul concert in November. Most importantly, the girls referred to themselves as "SHY" (which stands for Sooyoung, Hyoyeon and Yuri), which is the nickname fans have given the trio.
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