Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Unsung Artists, where we take a look back at the more underrated releases of the past month. Here are some great songs from July that I almost missed, in playlist form — did they nearly pass you by as well? Be sure to share your own unrated gems from last month in the comments as well!

Holland, “I’m So Afraid”

This is, hands down, the best song Holland has put out thus far. From the same producers who brought us KARD‘s latest mini, like Nassun, “I’m So Afraid” gives Holland an airier voice to work with the trendy house he pursued with “I’m Not Afraid.” The combination works beautifully, though I feel slightly bad about the fact that the secret to its success is how it is underplayed, the hook outsourced to a modulator.

The MV continues on from the ending of “I’m Not Afraid,” as Holland awakes in the woods among debris from his party. Questioning the resistance to being his true self, Holland finds that the source is none other than… Holland. This inner struggle is represented by dancer Song Song-hee as she moves erratically through the city streets at night before we return to Holland back in his safe space.

The empty streets show the dilemma Holland faces: he wants to be his true self in society, but also seeks to protect himself from adverse, even dangerous, reactions from other people. This leaves him in empty streets: he may have access to the spaces created by society, but society isn’t buildings and parks: it’s people. By hiding himself from people, he is essentially hiding — and protecting — himself. While not the most finely-crafted piece of art, Holland’s intentions shine in his most honest and accomplished work to date.

Soya,”Y-shirt (Deep Inside),” ft. B.I.G’s Heedo

On the other hand, if you are looking for more reggaeton reminiscent of KARD, soloist and The Unit alumna Soya’s new single may be right up your alley. Following “Show” and “Oasis,” “Y-shirt” is the third volume of the singer’s Color Project. Unlike the usual beaches and bars we may associate with this kind of summer tune, Soya instead leads model Hoik Jung on a hunt through Turkey.

While the two come together during the choruses, as suggested by the writing on the wall (and Jung’s hand), there is a disconnect between the lovers. Despite their mutual feelings, Soya is preparing to end the relationship; she revisits her relationship one last time before moving on. The blue of their love fades to white

As Soya looks to stake a place for herself in the Korean music industry out from the shadow of her uncle Kim Jong-kook, she has gained a fan in this writer.

Miryo, “Yellow”

What came first, the movie or the yellow dress? Brown Eyed Girls rapper Miryo claims the former, but it is hard to deny the shared romanticism encountered in both the film La La Land and “Yellow.” Another shared trait is the show business setting, but while the star-crossed lovers of La La Land part because of their careers, Miryo sees her lover as a saviour and protector from the “evil” cluttering the industry. Miryo also masters the autotune to take on the chorus herself, making “Yellow” that much more personal and sincere.

Between the coyly revealing nature of the song, the VCR effect combined with the MV’s neon graphics, and the hook playing in my head on loop every time I see an image of [REDACTED] Minho, this may be my favourite piece of work from Miryo yet.

Yoon Mirae, “You & Me,” ft. Junoflo

From the Blasian Korean music legend comes this chill summer tune, off her latest album Gemini 2. “You & Me” sees Yoon Mirae delight in the ambiguity of her relationship with someone who is not simply a friend, jiving with some very talented dancers and her fellow Feel Ghood Music labelmates — we even get a mini MFBTY reunion. While Yoon Mirae is coy, Junoflo cuts right to the chase by making his attraction clear. A sequel to 2002’s Gemini, this new album also features an English version of “You & Me” that kicks things up a notch. Our not-quite-friends are now in relationships with other people, so Yoon Mi-rae now coolly acknowledges the mutual attraction while also downplaying it for the sake of harmony.

And if you’re a silly billy like me: after some momentary and misplaced panic about Yoon Mirae and Tiger JK‘s beautiful marriage, you can soothe your overactive imagination with the remix of “JamCome On Baby” that closes out Gemini II. While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of the album as well, including singles “KawiBawiBo” and “No Gravity,” which landed Yoon Mirae on Lorenza‘s list of top mid-year comebacks for 2018.

MaseWonder, “Love Me” ft. Choi LB

Rapper MaseWonder takes summer music into quirky territory with rubber chicken masks and wobbly synths with a bounce in their step. MaseWonder wants to be with his love interest, but just can’t seem to make it official. He likens the process to a job interview, with the absurdity of it all highlighted by the ill-fitting suit jackets and every “hate” box being ticked even as he sings about he likes his girl. The man is hopeless frustration personified, as he side-eyes pop-up ads and crushes (animated) eggs underfoot.

If MaseWonder is a hopeful candidate, then featured rapper Choi LB is gunning for a raise. We switch to CCTV mode as he claims he has all the evidence that he and the girl are in a relationship, and calls anyone who says otherwise “fake.” The whole thing comes together with a chase and a dance in the woods, a perfect balance between humour and whimsy.

Both song and MV are a delight, including the endearingly normal way in which the black models, Rianna and Iyanu, are portrayed. They aren’t hypersexualised, or used to try and validate any minstrelsy. Any model could have played those roles — it just so happens that in this case, said models have textured hair and dark skin. I am very much looking forward to the day a paragraph like this won’t need to be written at all.

(YouTube. Image via MaseWonder Official)