Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
There was a time – though brief – when K-Pop dominated the world. Though many western listeners were resistant to the differences in musical aesthetics, others felt that the changes brought about by groups like BTS and BLACKPINK were a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stifled industry.
Though the language barrier is tough to ignore, it is clear that artists from the east care just as much about the same things we do here in the west – the pitfalls of fame and fortune, the struggle to find one’s identity, and of course, love.
In this article, I will be taking a look at 10 of the best K-Pop love songs that western audiences should pay attention to!
1. Wildflower by Park Hyo Shin
Park Hyo Shin is one of South Korea’s most recognizable pop stars. Born in Yesan, in the South Korean province of Chungnam, Park Hyo Shin knew from an early age that he wanted to be a singer. With the help of composer Hwang Yoon Min, Park trained for an entire year before ever releasing his debut.
When he finally released his first album, everyone fell in love with him, and they have not fallen out of love since. “Wildflower” is just one of Park’s many hits. It holds a special significance for being about Park’s tumultuous life and the troubles he faces.
2. Symptoms by SHINee
SHINee’s impact and influence cannot be understated. The Korean boy band was initially formed in 2008, and though their time in the spotlight may seem short compared to other artists’ careers, they have made the most out of every album they release and every tour they embark upon.
“Symptoms” was released in 2013, one of two lead singles from the fifth EP. The song features a host of SHINee staples, including a killer slow jam groove and contemporary RnB stylings.
3. LET’S NOT FALL IN LOVE by BIGBANG
BIGBANG is not only one of Korea’s most successful groups – but they are also one of the most commercially successful boy bands in the entire world. If SHINee is the Princes of K-Pop, BIGBANG are the Kings.
Despite their immense popularity, the band has retained the depth which drew people towards them during the earliest stages of their career. “LET’S NOT FALL IN LOVE” is a testament to the band’s lyrical mastery and ability to juggle weighty themes while remaining undeniably pop.
4. Lovesick Girls by BLACKPINK
It is exceptionally rare for a group to blow up so quickly in as little time as BLACKPINK did. Although the bands we have already discussed are far from obscure, BLACKPINK’s impact can be felt at all corners of the globe. They only formed in 2016 and were performing with Lady Gaga by 2020 is truly astonishing.
“Lovesick Girls” was an instant hit upon its release in October 2020. Within 24 hours of its uploading, the song’s music video received no less than 61 million views. Lyrically, the song deals with the pain of heartbreak, set to a cracking dance-pop backing track.
5. Gone by ROSE
Speaking of BLACKPINK, one of the group’s original members was a little artist known mononymously as Rose. Rose’s debut studio album as a solo artist became the best-selling album for any female Korean soloist in its first week. So, yeah – she’s a big deal.
“Gone” is a sad, melancholy song. With straightforward indie and rock influences, it features some genuinely raw and vulnerable lyrics which detail the pain of loving someone who has already moved on.
6. Heart Shaker by TWICE
TWICE is one of South Korea’s most influential and definitive girl groups. Formed in 2015, the group released hit after hit in the following years, with almost no sign of stopping. They are considered by many to be “the Nation’s Girl Group,” while internationally, they are known for their goofy, charming choreography on tracks like “Signal” and “What is Love?”
“Heart Shaker” is TWICE doing what TWICE does best: creating bright pop songs with a kinetic edge and a melody you can hum to. If you like bopping your head to a good tune, give it a listen.
7. I Miss You by MAMAMOO
In contrast to many of the other bands we have already covered on this list, MAMAMOO does not receive nearly as much recognition as they deserve. And that is a shame because the group truly has a lot to offer, not least their incredible vocal performances and strong jazz and RnB influences.
“I Miss You” is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is a song about longing for someone who has grown so distant, but it evades the cliched lyrical trappings that lesser artists might fall for.
8. Fine by TAEYEON
Many of the artists on our lists got their start smack-bang in the middle of the 2010s, an era ripe with possibility and opportunity. However, some Korean artists have endured for longer than some groups have been around. TAEYEON is one such artist.
Though she debuted initially as a member of Girls’ Generation, TAEYEON quickly made a name for herself when she launched her solo career, becoming one of the best-selling solo artists in South Korea. “Fine” is anything but fine. “Fantastic” might be a better name for it.
9. FAKE LOVE by BTS
Of course, we cannot have a list of the greatest K-Pop songs without mentioning BTS. Everyone and their mum has heard of them, and rightly so – BTS is the best-selling South Korean artist of all time, having sold no less than 32 million records.
You should not need any more convincing than that. “FAKE LOVE” is just one in a long list of bangers recorded by BTS.
10. Sing For You by EXO
EXO walked so that BTS could run. Where the latter group had six members (what some might deem a perfect number), the former had no fewer than nine members at one point. The band has rightly been deemed a sensation in their native South Korea.
“Sing For You” shares a name with the EP it is included on. The entire record is worth a listen if you have the time.
Alexandra loves playing the piano and guitar. She has always been a music lover, but it wasn’t until she was in high school that she realized how much she loved to play. It allowed her to express herself without having to be verbally expressive, which is something she found very empowering.