Hyping Myself Up for Korea #1: Music!

Hello. Have I told you that I'm going to South Korea? I have? Only about 700 million times? Oh, well let me remind you anyway.

So Korea is happening in 2 weeks, 4 days, 12 hours and 35 minutes. I'm excited. Just a little bit, I mean. But I could definitely use a bit more hype. So, in celebration of the upcoming trip, I'm going to be doing a series of posts about all the things I like about this strange, wonderful country - starting with music!

Hey no, don't you dare leave, buddy. I see your eyes wondering to the close button of this page - don't even think about it. I put a lot of effort into compiling this list of my top favourite Korean music tracks. What if I promise not to include any K-pop? Would you stay then? Yes? Okay! Asa (great)!

Note: These aren't in any particular order. AKA no. 1 is not necessarily my favourite. Although it could be. But I'm not saying it is so don't assume anything. Yeah?

Song: "In the Air" by Loveholics
Genre: Ballad

Okay well this is kind of embarassing but I don't actually know what the name of the song is. It could be "In the Air" or it could be "Pain". It could even be "Beautiful Lady Goes Flying Through the Air in Slow Motion Whilst Angsty Man Engages in Self-Immolation" but I don't know because I can't read Korean. And if you've been following my blogs since 2009, you have probably seen this video once, twice or 200 million times before. 

Song: "Bad" by Tablo
Genre: Alternative Hip Hop(?) / Electronic

Regardless of how much brooding goes on in this video, this still does not fall under the category of K-pop. I refuse to allow it. Embarrassing fact: I liked this song so much that I once attempted to learn the lyrics to it so I could sing it. Didn't work out well because a) I can't rap and b) I can't speak/read Korean. Urgh. Darn it all. I was born the wrong type of Asian.

P.S. If you like Tablo, make sure to check out his other songs. Everything he touches or sneezes on turns into gold. 

Song: "4 am" by 10cm
Genre: K-Indie / Acoustic

The song is called "4 am" and the band is "10cm". Yeah I know, it's strange. Why "10cm" you have to wonder? Whoever thought of that clearly did not consider the marketing side of things. Nevertheless, it is a very catchy tune that seems like something you'd hear at a chill cafe in Seoul.

Song: "Cherry Blossom Ending" by Busker Busker
Genre: K-indie / Acoustic

If you don't mind a bit of fluff and sweetness, Busker Busker is the way to go. I love the dreamy, summery quality of this particular song. It makes me want to go on a roadtrip across Korea. Plus the video's got rabbits in it. You can't go wrong with rabbits! 

Song: "Sweet Dreams" by MFBTY
Genre: Hip Hop / Dance

MFBTY is the band's name and it stands for Miss Fat Booty. Just kidding. It actually doesn't but I like "Miss Fat Booty" much more. Interesting fact but the female singer and male rapper are actually married in real life. Must be awkward for the third guy of the group then eh? I also really love the effects in this video.

Song: "Fxxk U" by Ga-In

Genre: Funk / R&B

I wrote a whole blog post about this recently and how much I admire Ga-In for taking on a song about domestic violence. So instead of rehashing everything, I'll link the post here and you can just (re)watch the video. Also I know the subject matter is serious but I challenge you not to laugh during the "Fuck yous" in the song. It's hard isn't it? Not sure it has the intended effect if you're an English-speaker.

Song: "Not Spring, Love or Cherry Blossoms" by IU ft. HIGH4
Genre: K-pop

OKAY I LIED. THERE IS K-POP. I'M SORRY DON'T HURT ME. But I just really like IU's voice okay? You can't really tell in this song but I reckon she's one of Korea's better vocalists. I feel like she could carry this song by herself. HIGH4 or whoever the fuck they are kind of annoy me. Your pink hair is wasting valuable screen time which could be better spent on the goddess herself.

Song: "Melted" by Akdong Musician
Genre: K-folk

I like it because it's different. It sounds a little bit haunting. They're also a brother-sister duo which makes it really refreshing. I posted the live version to show you guys that they're pretty strong vocally but if you want to see the recorded studio version (featuring White People!), click here.


Song: "On My Way" by Rocket Diary
Genre: K-Rock

An oldie but a goodie. One of the very first K-rock songs I ever got into. (I found it through Dramabeans). Definitely something you can listen to for a bit of a pick-me-up or motivation boost. Or when you have flashbacks to being 14, young and rebellious.

Song: "Pursuing the Happiness" by LeeSSang
Genre: Rap / Hip Hop

Despite the terrible Engrish present in the title, this is actually quite a good song. Gary's great in the Korean variety show, Running Man, but he definitely shines in his actual field of talent (rapping/music). Side note, but what is with Koreans and their greyscales/dark muted colours?

Song: "Racket" by Glen Check
Genre: K-indie / Something? Electronic?

This one's a bit of an acquired taste one and definitely not for those with a fear of cowbells. You have been warned. Also there are lots of balls in the video. By balls I mean tennis balls of course. 

Song: "Growl" by EXO
Genre: K-Pop

OKAY I LIED AGAIN I'M SORRY. But I actually do like this song. Plus since this is the last one, might as well end with a bang (or in this case, epic dance sequence). So just sit back and enjoy the over-producedness that is EXO (and well, K-pop in general). 

Honourable mentions go to: 

  • Nell - my favourite Korean rock band who I also wrote a post about here. I would've included them in the list but had trouble deciding which one was my favourite song of theirs. So I gave up. 
  • Urban Zakupa
  • Ailee - for being another female vocal powerhouse
  • K-pop - yes I know, I like to whinge and make fun of Kpop but I have to admit that I have a soft spot for a lot of K-pop bands and artists. If you went to my school and hung around the people I hung around, it was kind of inevitable. K-pop is an inexplicable phenomenon that sucks you in regardless of the fight you put up. I have to admit to liking a lot of artists under the YG label (so Big Bang, 2NE1, etc.) Also CNBLUE! Hells yes - I love me some CNBLUE (but I don't think they're YG). 

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