The Playlist: 2023 New Songs for Your Summer Soundtrack
Asia/ Vibe/ Pop Culture

The Playlist: First-Quarter Music Releases for Your Summer Soundtrack

The Playlist First Quarter Music Releases for Your Summer Soundtrack MIRROR Cantopop Band Photo by Facebook/Mirror

You’ve packed your beach necessities and swimwear, and applied your sunscreen. The only thing missing is a playlist of summer songs to set the vibe. Luckily, a mix of established and up-and-coming Asian acts have dropped their sunny anthems since January, resulting in a diverse collection of music that you can play at your pool party, road trip, or island escapade. While K-Pop still (unsurprisingly) dominates the charts, genres such as P-Pop and Cantopop continue to garner solid fanbases across the region. Get your earphones or speakers ready as these tracks are guaranteed to make your next excursion memorable!


‘Moonlight Sunrise’ by TWICE

‘Moonlight Sunrise’ by TWICE
Photo by Spotify

No song encapsulates the joy of hitting the road better than TWICE’s latest single. Seamlessly utilising the tried-and-tested formula of K-Pop music, the nine-piece girl group’s “Moonlight Sunrise” boasts cheeky lyrics that are great for belting out on the highway with the windows rolled down: “Baby, I don’t mean to rush / But Imma really need your touch / If Imma make it through the night / I got the moonlight / Tequila sunrise.”

Country: South Korea

Release date: Jan. 20, 2023

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‘Loving and Letting Go’ by Phum Viphurit

‘Loving and Letting Go’ by Phum Viphurit
Photo by Spotify

Leave it to Phum Viphurit to create an instant classic the second he releases a song: “Nice and gently we collide as one / Feel all my aches subside warm like the sun / With you around, it’s love I found.” The light and airy production of “Loving and Letting Go,” paired with heart-stirring lines, makes it a perfect ambient track for viewing the sunset as you sip cocktails by the beach.

Country: Thailand

Release date: Jan. 31, 2023

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‘What If (Reimagined)’ by Eric Nam

‘What If (Reimagined)’ by Eric Nam
Photo by YouTube/Eric Nam

Reinvented tunes often fall short of expectations, but Eric Nam managed to transform his 2022 single to the next level. Dropped in March, “What If (Reimagined)” has evolved from an electro-pop number to an acoustic track with Ed Sheeran-esque lyrics to get under your skin: “I can’t help but wonder where your head and heart is / Maybe that’s the reason why I’m scared of calling.” No matter if you’re soaking up the morning sun by the pool or relishing a picnic with friends in the countryside, this delicate song – albeit heartbreaking – is worth playing on your Bluetooth speaker.

Country: Singapore

Release date: March 3, 2023

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‘Rumours’ by Mirror

‘Rumours’ by Mirror
Photo by Spotify

The maximalist production of Cantopop music may be the main highlight of Mirror’s “Rumours,” but it’s the lyrics that will take you to the beach in an instant: “Just like waterfall, sweat, sweat, dripping oh / I turn the heat up ‘cause we got it, got it going on / We’ll make it, ooh, we gonna take it high / There ain’t no stopping, we about to kiss the sky.” The 12-member band dropped not only an absolute banger when we needed it, but a danceable summer anthem that tells us to let go of our inhibitions and savour every moment of our lives.

Country: Hong Kong

Release date: March 17, 2023

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‘Menanti’ (Pay Attention) by Yuna

‘Menanti’ (Pay Attention) by Yuna
Photo by Spotify

Soothing and dreamy, Yuna’s “Menanti” sounds like what swimming in the ocean feels like after a long, tiring day: “Bagai unggas menanti senja bulan di langit / Hiasi malammu dengan nyanyianku.” (Like a bird waiting for the twilight of the moon sky / Decorate your night with my song.) In collaboration with Berlin-based artist Kenny J. Macartney, the Malay songstress’ comeback single after a seven-year hiatus will make you want to grab your favourite person for a relaxing pamper day or a quick tropical getaway.

Country: Malaysia

Release date: March 17, 2023

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‘DASH’ by Hori7on

‘DASH’ by Hori7on
Photo by Spotify

Global pop group Hori7on’s “DASH” blends the trancey beats of K-Pop music with the straightforward lyrics of OPM. Produced under ABS-CBN and MLD Entertainment, the septet’s debut record is about embracing fresh starts and going after your life aspirations. If you’re driving to a nearby beach or flying overseas with your clique, your summer playlist won’t be complete without this bombastic track that is sure to get you up and moving.

Country: Philippines

Release date: March 22, 2023

Listen here

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