Summer is over, and good riddance considering how lackluster the past few months have been. Fall enters in the western hemisphere and it brings with it falling leaves, cold weather,  and the return of some popular idols. September is starting off on a high note, with a swath of comebacks already announced. 

With so many artists coming back, there are several that will get lost in the shuffle. At the beginning of the month, we asked the writers: what fall comeback, announced or rumored, are you excited for?

Gaya: I am so ready for more ballads from Chen, he is really good at serenading me to sleep

Rimi: I let out a big “LOL” on reading Gaya’s comment. I’m guilty: Ballads do usually put me to sleep. 

I’ve been a little bummed lately because most of the groups I like are either in mandatory military service, or have disbanded, or are in between promotions. So it’s the rookies I’m keeping an eye out for, and TXT are right on top of my list. Big Hit delayed their comeback from August to September and then again to October as the members, one after another, came down with infectious conjunctivitis — and hopefully they have all recovered by now. I loved the energetic and youthful sound of their March debut, and was particularly impressed by how they turned the cringe-worthy “Cat and Dog” into something endearing. Can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

Additionally, there’s no denying the hype that is Super M. The name of the group may be unfortunate, but with the combined talent, skill and experience of the individual members, I’m expecting something explosive. 

Denise: After the mysterious and sudden departure of ONF’s maknae Laun in the middle of teaser releases, the group’s comeback has been pushed back to this coming fall. I’ve always been a huge fan of the distinct musical style ONF have carved for themselves with their energetic yet futuristic sound. I still consider their comeback at the start of the year with “We Found Love” to be 2019’s coolest K-Pop beat drop. Their music videos have been nothing short of high-budget, slick with beautiful use of colours, and with the teasers released so far, I’m excited to see what they have in store for this comeback.

Block B‘s Zico is also due to make his long-awaited comeback in a few weeks. Though famously independent with his sound, it’ll be his first solo release as a newly established CEO after his departure from KQ Entertainment. He has also teased “an interesting featuring”!

Kaitlin: In the last couple of years in particular, I feel like there’s been a lot of contracts ending, label switching and K-pop stars branching out on their own. This is why I had been on the lookout for the comeback that Jessi had in late September. It was her first release under Psy‘s label P Nation, which since January has been stacking its roster of artists with some of the boldest artists in K-pop, including former Cube stars Hyuna and Edawn. Crush was the first to release a track under P Nation, but I am continuing to pay attention to comebacks like Jessi’s to see how this label supports and promotes its artists. Nothing has been announced, but Hyuna has posted clips dancing and in the studio over the past several months on Instagram, which has fueled rumors about an imminent comeback. When anything concrete is announced, I will be marking my calendar.

As for confirmed comebacks, I too am on the hype train for Super M, though the disappointment that was the SM Younique Unit, which also featured Taemin and Kai, is in the back of my mind. I am hopeful that their single is able to highlight what each member brings to the table through a cohesive, cool track and dynamic choreography. 

Pat: Like most, I am also interested in Super M, if only because SM has such a bad history of handling subunits where members are taken from other groups. Aside from SM Younique, there is also SM The Ballad, last seen in 2014. While there’s no doubt the members of Super M are talented, I’m more interested in how it’ll actually go in terms of success in the fickle US market. 

Akdong Musician is absolutely my most anticipated Fall comeback, especially since it’s with a full album. New AkMu songs to play at night? Sounds like a dream. In addition, AB6IX is also confirmed to return in October, as are Nu’est. I’m excited to see Nu’est’s resurgence post-PD101. It’s what they deserve after staying with Pledis for so long. Lastly, there’s also a chance that by the time this is released, VIXX‘s MV for “Parallel” is still unreleased. It was uploaded, and then deleted, and I am one of the Starlights that haven’t watched it and refuse to listen until I see that MV. 

I do wonder if we’ll get anything from IU, since her last single, “Bbibbi,” was released a year ago.   

Xiao Qing: Fall is the perfect time for artists to explore more sensual and sexual tones in their music- past fall songs include Sunmi’sSiren and BTS RM’s badbye“, albeit sad and dark lyrically. The group I’m looking forward to explore such themes is Oneus, whose past two albums have blown me away. Although they are rookies, the quality of their music has been outstanding thus far, and I’m sure that they’ll release music fitting the emotions that come with fall.

Sensuality aside, fall is also the time to start listening to ballads which will lull you to sleep, or at least, encourage you to reflect on the year thus far. I’m counting on AkMu to hit us with the feels in the upcoming months, allowing us to forget about the disaster which was this year’s summer “bops”.

Gina: I too am excited for Akdong Musician to return with a full album! It’ll be the perfect package of songs to stir up some daydreams on a windy fall morning. Particularly after what happened with YG, it’s time for them to receive their deserved love as artists. I’m also excited for Oneus’ third EP, as they continue to belt out a distinct concept and musical color.

In regards to Zico, I’m aware that people will have diverse opinions about his comeback — which is completely understandable. The conflicts that have involved Zico this past year can have many people approach his upcoming solo negatively. For now, I’m choosing to perceive his comeback as a song from an artist, considering he has maintained a distinct color ever since his Block B days.

Lastly, I also in line to wait for what Super M has to offer as SM’s latest (international) subunit. I hope that despite being seen as a questionable choice, the subunit will stand out and impress with a solid track and concept. The artists involved deserve that much, after all. Walking around Koreatown in LA, I’ve even seen their posters up here and there. Though I’ve no way to be sure of anyone’s reaction, it does seem more concrete — it will indeed happen, and hopefully for the better. 

Oh, and if IU comes back that would be very welcome! Considering Hotel Del Luna has just wrapped up, it’d be exciting to see what kind of thoughts, emotions, and imagination she’d like to portray next through her music.

Qing: Two of my most anticipated artists have already made a comeback. Seventeen‘s “Fear” and An Ode weren’t quite what I had expected after their energetic pre-release, “Hit”, but I came to appreciate the intent behind the comeback that was clearly executed. AkMu’s “How Can I Love the Heartbreak, You’re the One I Love” captures everything that’s charming about them: simple instrumentals, Suhyun‘s clear, bright voice, Chanhyuk‘s full-bodied harmonisations, and delicate emotional delivery. But seriously, who gave the title the green light?

Looking ahead to October, I’m curious about what sound Ateez will go for. Their summer title tracks gave a refreshing spin on worn tropical house trends, and I hope to see more of the excellent vocal arrangements and solid production displayed there. BtoB‘s Hyunsik has been producing music for his group for years, and I’m looking forward to what he’ll offer with his first solo mini-album, Rendez-vous.

With many third-generation female artists disbanding or going on indefinite hiatus, it was with excitement that I learned from Aastha that one of the most established second-generation girl groups, Brown Eyed Girls, is finally making a comeback. As Xiao Qing mentioned, fall is the perfect time for sensual and sexual comebacks, and nobody does it like them. Come save us from our lacklustre K-pop summer and moody mid-tempo title tracks, I’m begging you!

(Images via SM Entertainment, Big Hit Entertainment, P Nation, RBW Entertainment, KQ Entertainment, Mystic Entertainment)