Category Archives: playlist

4 Favorite Male K-Pop Ballads

Recently my cousin asked me for recommendations of K-pop male solo singers “without girlie voices,” and the first one I probably thought of was 박효신 / Park Hyo Shin. I first heard him through the theme song of the K-drama, 미안하다 사랑한다 / I’m Sorry, I Love You. The song was called “눈의 꽃 / Snowflower” (originally Yuki no Hana by Japanese singer, Nakashima Mika).

You can probably tell my leanings already, and I admit it! I love the big, tragic, dramatic ballads (and stories). It’s like literal soul food or something, it just tugs something inside me! XD It is melodramatic angst, and done well, it is so, so good. There is just something about melodic shamelessness … can … not … resist. !!!

Anyway, I sent my cousin a handful of recommendations and wanted to share with you. I can already feel myself getting sucked back into the Korean vortex… but you have to admit, this genre really does suit an autumnal mood.

4. 휘성 / Wheesung – 일년이면/ Already One Year (2005)
그대 닮은 사람마저 미워해봐요 / I’ll have to hate those who look like you
(Skip to 0:40 for the start of the song)
Wheesung is a respected R&B singer in Korea, formerly under M-Boat and thereby connected with YG Entertainment (company that houses Se7en, 2NE1, Big Bang, 1TYM, etc.). He has a pleasant voice and soulful tone that lends itself really well to these pop-soul tracks. Full lyrics here.
3. 허각 / Huh Gak – 죽고 싶단 말 밖에 / Told You I Wanna Die (2011)

 미칠 듯 숨이 막혀 / Michil deut soomi makhyeo /
Can’t breathe, suffocating, as if I ‘m crazy

This guy is a newbie who won one of of South Korea’s televised singing competitions, “Superstar K 2.” His voice is great for emoting and I just love how he uses it for all these little things and contrasts between the verses and the chorus.

2. 김범수 / Kim Bum Soo – 보고싶다 / I Want to See You (2002)

죽을 만큼 보고 싶다, 죽을 만큼 잊고 싶다 / Miss you to death, Want to forget you to death

Kim Bum Soo will probably go to the grave unable to escape this song. Perhaps the King of Korean Ballads (which are all presumably tragically minded), Kim Bum Soo sings with sorrow and desperation on this track that became the theme song for the classic K-drama, 천국의 계단 / Stairway to Heaven. Remote control? Check. Tissues? Check. Ice cream and chips? Check. And we press “on”… Yep, still a tearjerker.

1.박효신 / Park Hyo Shin – 동경 / Yearning (2001)

내 이름조차 생각이나 날까요 / Will even my name pass through your thoughts?

The Co-King, perhaps, of Korean Ballads, Park Hyo Shin has got a voice. It’s deep and cloudy and slightly raspy, even a little stuffy, but his emotive tone and accurate pitch make whatever qualms I might have negligible. This song is kind of an oldie, from his second album, but it’s still so good. Full lyrics here.

Hope you enjoyed this little list! Searching for my favorite lines has reminded me to get back on that lyrics/translation project. In my online research, I came across another girl who compiled a list of her sixteen favorite K-pop ballads. Check it out if you want to try out some more depressing songs! :D

Okay, bye, I have to go look up more Park Hyo Shin now.

Happy October, everyone :)

The K-Pop Boy Bands Playlist, P2

Finally Part 2 of this playlist for Seoulist is up! The online presence has been a lot more fettered since I started my new jobs and enrolled in a couple of classes. Thanks to everyone for their patience – hope your boy band fire is still going strong:

“Still catching up with the changing faces of K-pop? Get to know the new breeds of boy bands, from TVXQ to B2ST.”

This is the second half of the Boy Band Playlist. If you missed the first segment, take a look here. You can find Part 2’s complete compilation on Youtube.

You might recall that, having cut the lengthy list of boy bands in half, we saw a good amount of old school K-pop in the earlier article. I tried to approximate the split along the boy band timeline so that this subsequent segment could be termed “New Wave,” referring to the flood of fresh flower boy faces after a very, very brief recession.

While a number of pop cultural trends settled in and persevered, such as sculpted member roles, bipolar genre segregation/hopping and plastic surgery, the new millennium also saw a few shifts. Alongside the growing popularity of K-pop in globalized society came better dance moves, more polished “American- sounding” music and, marginal but critical, diversified companies. Accuracy of English usage has stayed about the same, though.

Out of the complete playlist, I probably listened most to 1TYM, g.o.d and TVXQ, with a healthy dose of Fly to the Sky and Nell. But before we dive into the music, I want to make something clear.

I know that I’ve poked a few fan girl sides here and there, but honestly, there’s no shame in liking a boy band.

I repeat: No. Shame. (Now, being in one… just kidding!!! Really.)

The songs are catchy, the boys are cute and charming, and they can kind of dance. It’s not hard to see how a boy band easily becomes the reason for breathing, believing, even blinking. I myself will admit that I’ve been there, done that.

Just don’t let the infatuation eclipse your other life and/or last for a period of over five years.

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The Boy Bands Playlist, PART 1

My article on K-pop boy bands was posted yesterday on Seoulist. It’s kind of a crash course with one song per boy band, but due to sheer number still had to be split into two. This is part one, dubbed the “old school segment.” You can read on to get some background on each group, or you can just listen to the playlist compiled on YouTube.



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