By Tássia Assis
The summer solstice on June 21 ushered in the sentimental Cancer season. Over the next few weeks, Cancer's sensitivity and nurturing nature will become more present, setting a warm welcome for the rising temperatures outside.
As a Water sign, Cancer shares traits with dreamy Pisces and mysterious Scorpios. Emotion is the key word for all three, but Cancer is particularly known for their mood-swings, hypersensibility, and clinging to comforts. Like its representative animal — the crab — this sign has a hard shell but vulnerable insides, and often adopts a self-preserving posture until they feel safe enough to reveal their true selves.
That’s why Cancer wants to build a cozy home wherever it goes — nourishing relationships, feasting on the most delicious meals, and generally making everyone feel loved. But beware, as this urge to please and indulge can quickly become smothering, or turn into codependency.
With that in mind, Cancer season is the time to evaluate our relationships and what we define as our home. And to help you dive gracefully into this sign’s susceptible waters, here is a K-pop playlist:
Seohyun, “Don’t Say No”
In 2017, Girl's Generation's maknae (youngest member) and resident Cancer made her solo debut with “Don’t Say No.” The track is a classic pop diva anthem with Ariana Grande influences (who, by the way, is also a Cancer). A clean, sparkly instrumental lets Seohyun’s soulful vocals shine, and while her tone is sweet, the lyrics reveal a rejected woman who wants her lover back. The natives of this sign can get stuck with heartbreakers, but they also know how to make good use of those sharp claws. In the music video, Seohyun lures said lover into her domestic kingdom, only to murder him in the most perfect crab trap: a lavish, yet inedible, dinner of chains and screws.
Biggest mood: “Don’t say no oh oh / I’m so sad, you know you too / Please come back, am I bad? / Baby don’t say no, I’ll always believe / That I was everything for you.”
Like Seohyun, Taemin is SHINee’s Cancerian maknae who has fully embraced his sensuality since debuting solo in 2014. And while Fire signs are typically associated with burning desires, he is proof that Cancer men are strong contenders too. Taemin’s latest single, “Want,” is a dark, entrancing spell with pulsing disco influences. The intoxicating atmosphere is translated in the music video through smoke, masks, and snakes that insinuate a sinful temptation — Taemin himself. As a sign ruled by the Moon, Cancer is also representative of feminine energy, and the singer’s willingness to embrace that fluid side through his androgynous appearance only make his work even more outstanding.
Biggest mood: “A strange feeling reaches your fingers and rises up / Randomly spreading throughout your carnal desires / You’ll be a prisoner to this heat, you’ll want me even more / You’ll burn up even more.”
Super Junior, “Mr. Simple”
Don’t be fooled by this track’s infectious energy. As much as it may seem like just another dance floor hit with an earworm of a hook, “Mr. Simple” offers surprising advice in its lyrics. In 2011, long before the wave of self-love anthems hit K-pop, Super Junior was doling out wisdom like "you are great the way you are." With two Cancerians in the lineup (Leeteuk and Heechul) the legendary group gave us track that also serves as a useful reminder for those moody Cancer days: Instead of engaging in potential drama, remember that it will pass and that being simple often goes a long way.
Biggest mood: “There must be times when my performance goes up then down / Sometimes it’s okay to just chill and take a break / ‘Cause there’s always the right time for everything.”
Minx, "Why Did You Come to My Home?"
Before morphing into goth demon slayers, Dreamcatcher was a peppy quintet known as Minx. Their debut track “Why Did You Come to My Home?” is a fizzy electro and hip-hop mix with a mischievous swag. While the music video keeps things light and only shows the girls playing games and having fun with a pizza delivery guy, the lyrics reveal a deeper message. What seems to be an invitation to a one-night stand is, in fact, a metaphor for opening their hearts to a new passion. Cancer takes a long time letting people in, and their hearts are precious, safe realms that they protect closely. So, if they ever invite you in, remember that it’s because they trust you.
Biggest mood: “Why did you come? Don’t you know yet? / How much more do I have to open up for you to know? / Will you come to me more little by little? / How can you hesitate like that?"
Wonder Girls, "2 Different Tears"
The Wonder Girls crafted a retro sound throughout their career, and “2 Different Tears” follows that brand with an infectious '80s groove. Apart from the upbeat melody, the lyrics are bittersweet, as they cry over a relationship — and crying is a very Cancer thing to do. The music video is a parody of Charlie’s Angels, where JYP himself wants the girls to capture an alien at a party in his headquarters. After falling prey to the Wonder Girl’s scheme, the alien is exposed and a whole Cancer mood sets in with hugs and more tears. Turns out the alien was an innocent fan of the group, and the story ends on a happy note with a cheerful party in his spaceship.
Biggest mood: “Gave me two different tears, after all these years / Tears of joy, tears of pain, like sunshine and rain / So I hate you but the love you gave me was so, so good / So I love you but the pain you gave me was so, so bad.”
NCT U, "Baby Don’t Stop"
In this synergetic duet, Ten (a Pisces) and Taeyong (a Cancer) prove once again that Water signs can bring the heat. “Baby Don’t Stop” is mysterious, hypnotic, and will drag you to its depths before you even notice. Ten’s dreamy vocals and fluid movements fully complement Taeyong’s raspy voice and calculated motions. It’s also worth noting Taeyong’s charisma, whether in a simple duet like this, or leading the 21-member ensemble that is NCT. Blessed with Cancer’s nurturing instincts, he is a strong and caring leader, the kind of magnetic presence that can both amaze and appease a room. And through daring style, fiery raps with artistic references, or complex choreographies, the crab’s creativity is a staple in everything he does. And so, it’s safe to say that, when a Cancer finds their element, they’re pretty much unstoppable.
Biggest mood: "Play play play play play / I’ll play in the Paris / Stay clay sketch dirt dough / I’m gonna knead your body / Rothko, Auguste Rodin, Claudel / I’m gonna make you with warm colors / All day holding, hold me tight."
Yerin Baek, “Maybe It’s Not Our Fault”
Another track overflowing with Cancer vibes. Yerin Baek, a native of this sign, lends her sweet and soulful voice to this dreamy ballad full of longing and nostalgia. The music video couldn’t be more fitting, with warm tones, a cozy sweater, and the romantic practice of scrapbooking. By making art with her memories, Yerin Baek gets in touch with her feelings and hopes to escape the instability of a relationship. By building something concrete like a journal or a song, she creates a safe space, a home that can bring her comfort through difficult times, and that’s precisely why “Maybe It’s Not Our Fault” is so poignant in its delicacy. This track is a true gem for those ready to open their hearts and be vulnerable in this emotional season.
Biggest mood: "I don’t really know either / Where this instability came from / And how it reached us / I didn’t know when it bloomed / And even if it becomes a big cut on our relationship / Maybe it’s not our fault."
VIXX, “On and On”
N and Hyuk are two Cancerians who bring their intensity to VIXX’s dark, moody concepts. “On and On” is a great sample of that interaction, with industrial synths that create suspense and a satisfying, soaring chorus. The music video portrays VIXX as some alien-werewolf hybrids, sent to outer space by military women in order to save an imprisoned woman. Not much is shown on how they accomplish this mission, but powerful dance sequences in front of the Moon capture this track’s vivid emotions. Adding to that, the lyrics are drenched in obsession and masochism, a clear example of what can happen when Cancer’s shadow side takes over.
Biggest mood: “Why are you doing this to me? / Why am I doing this to you? / The end of your words are vague / and my tears fall / I’m on my knees / and I’m ready to get hurt.”
Fiestar, “Apple Pie”
In this synth-driven, captivating bop, Fiestar embodies a Cancerian view of love, presenting it as a hot and sweet apple pie. As Cancer rules the stomach, they are known to appreciate a good meal, making this a fitting metaphor for filling up hearts and stomachs. In the music video, each of the girls relate to love (therefore, an apple pie) in a different manner, whether it’s baking it from scratch, adding science to the mix, or simply eating natural apples instead. Comical and cute, the different scenarios prove that there is no right or wrong way to love, but it certainly helps when Cancer is willing to share all those warm feelings (and pies).
Biggest mood: “My heart that I’ve prepared for you / It’s almost done baking / so sweet like apple pie / It’s hot so be careful.”
Winner, “Ah Yeah”
Winner's latest single is a fresh, feel-good hit to lift up spirits this summer. It might not be their most daring track, but it holds a certain comfort that keeps you returning, like the cozy home of a Cancer. Shedding light on another crab tendency in the lyrics, the quartet cannot accept the fact that a relationship is done. Mino takes it even further, comparing himself to a crab and holding a CGI claw in the music video, as he attempts to cut short the tangled lines of love. While the overall mood of this release is bright and fun, it contrasts with the mellow nature of the lyrics, revealing another representation of a Cancer: their “all is well” exterior and “silently melting” insides.
Biggest mood: "Even though I made up my mind to end things with you / I cling onto your sleeve / And freeze up because you're my only love."
Kim Donghan, “Sunset”
A fairly new addition to K-pop’s roster of seductive Cancerians is Kim Donghan. After his participation on the second edition of Produce 101 and subsequent activities with the group JBJ, the singer launched a promising solo career with “Sunset.” The track is an enchanting EDM song with finger snaps of summer nostalgia, and the lyrics long for a lover he can devote himself to, like only the crabs know how to do. One could say Donghan resembles a younger Taemin, and sharing the same Sun sign — besides their talented singing and dancing skills — certainly helps to link those two intense, breathtaking artists.
Biggest mood: “See how I’m only looking at you / Before the sunrise / I waited for this moment right now / I’ll never leave you alone.”
Nine Muses, “Sleepless Night”
With three Cancers in Nine Muses’ lineup at the time (Kyungri, Minha, and SungA), “Sleepless Night” is a track that taps into the sign’s penchant for drama. It’s a hypnotic, mid-tempo fantasy, with the same restless feeling that a night of insomnia brings. The suggestive music video has Minha as the main character, reminiscing about a broken relationship through objects in her room. Meanwhile, the other members appear using those same objects, raising doubts about them representing Minha or actually being her previous partners. This is a narrative clouded by mystery and doubts, just like some crabs love to live by. Besides that, is there a more Cancerian line than “I can’t sleep, I’m hungry, I’m thinking of you again”?
Biggest mood: “I can’t sleep, I’m hungry / I am thinking of you again, I’m on the edge / What do I have to do? / I should let you go now.”
Everglow’s debut with “Bon Bon Chocolat” was a swaggery, bold entrance to the industry. The rookie girl group flaunts attitude and sass, but their sensitive side comes to play on the B-side “Moon.” Ethereal synths and airy vocals create a hazy ambience, as the girls yearn to know the hidden facets of a loved one. As the title says, the Moon is the chosen metaphor to represent the process of revealing one’s shadow side, with a Cancerian touch of intimacy and carefulness.
Biggest mood: “Show yourself, more honestly / Show yourself, more clearly / Show yourself, somewhere always half hidden / The other side of the moon.”
As Cancer season drives us to think about our own roots and nests, Seventeen’s “Home” is a thoughtful companion. Described as “future urban R&B,” it holds the same spaciousness and quiet of feeling safe, shining in well-crafted minimalism. The lyrics reflect a fear of losing one’s home in someone else’s heart, and this process is translated in the music video through the scattered members remembering objects and scenarios from their previous videos. Fortunately, they find their way and reunite at the end, reminding us that home is truly where the heart is.
Biggest mood: “I don’t wanna let you go like this / I don’t want to be scared with a broken heart / I’m the place you can come to / You’re the place I can go to.”