By: Julia Agris
I’m sure you read Alia’s blog post on the K-Pop World Festival event that happened in Ottawa this past weekend and now you’re looking for some recommendations. Well, I’m no expert but after living in South Korea for just over a year I think I can give my input.
Below I share some of my favourite k-pop songs that we’ve overheard during our time overseas.
1. 에라 모르겠다 (FXXK IT) by Big Bang
Big Bang was one of the first bands I heard of beforehand (see: Fantastic) and kept constantly hearing once I got here (see: 뱅뱅뱅 (BANG BANG BANG)). I can see why – majority of their songs are super catchy however this song in particular is what sold me.
This banger is played so frequently that it essentially became the song that defined whether or not the night was going to be a good one or not. If we weren’t getting dinner, clubbing or heading to a noraebang without hearing this song… we considered it bad juju.
2. (방탄소년단) ‘피 땀 눈물 (Blood Sweat & Tears) by BTS
3. D (Half Moon) ft. Gaeko by DEAN
Slowing things down a bit… this song is super popular over here. Any person with a portable microphone/speaker system will be singing this on any boardwalk.
Other than the fact that Dean is adorable – he mentions Kanye West in this song. Just give it a listen and then try to tell me it wasn’t stuck in your head.
4. TT by TWICE (트와이스)
THIS SONG IS EVERYWHERE! Even when we say “twice” or “tt” (like spelling) in class, our students just haaaaave to mention it. At first it got on my nerves but then it grew on me… and now I’m obsessed.
When we first started teaching here they already had a few songs (see: Cheer Up – which still sounds like “shut up” to me) but “TT” is what blew them out of the water. Their newest song, “Signal“, has been gaining popularity too.
Oh, by the way “TT” = T_T = crying face
5. Monster by EXO
Here’s another group that can really dance! This song is catchy, and I can sing along to it better since there’s quite a few English lines. This tune will be creeping (get it?) into your head like the ear worm it is.
EXO reminds me of watching “Call Me Baby” at my desk, with one of my co-teachers that was trying to get me into k-pop. She even gave me a photo card of Byun Baek-hyun that is still stuck to my work laptop.
6. 휘파람 (Whistle) by BLACKPINK
All I have to say is: that CHORUS though!
BLACKPINK features Lisa, the first non-Korean artist to be signed to YG Entertainment.
7. 우주를 줄게 by 볼빨간사춘기 (Bolppalgan Puberty)
Okay, so this song is played at almost every café – and you know I frequent those a lot. She’s also freakin’ the cutest.
What I love most about k-pop is the production value of their music videos. ICONIC! Dancing, fashion, hair colours and lyrics aside, there is no denying that k-pop music videos are some of the most appealing.
Bonus: If you’ve made it this far I’m going to share with you some Korean rap. Actually, I prefer it more over k-pop, especially the Korean trap music. So here are some of my guilty pleasures.
1. All I Wanna Do ft. Hoody, Loco by Jay Park
Oh, Jay Park, how I remember you from high school.
This new bop of his has a great flow and I’m so glad that he teamed up with 1MILLION, a dance studio in Seoul, who I love to make this sickening choreographed music video. It makes me wish I was in this video. He actually did a few videos with them.
Also, we clubbed at the same club that he performed at for their opening night a week later. So Jay Park and I are basically friends now.
2. Okey Dokey ft. ZICO by Song Minho
This song was suuuuuper popular when I first moved here. I still live for it and you bet that I say “okie dokie” at least once a day. Mino also put out this fab song in 2016.
3.잊지마 (It G Ma) ft. JayAllDay, Loota, Okasian & Kohh by Keith Ape
This is one of the first results you get when you search “Korean trap music” and I’m such trash for it. When this comes on at clubs I’m the first to yell “UNDERWATER SQUAD!” but my favourite line has still got to be “orca ninjas go rambo”.
It actually became so popular that he teamed up with a bunch of other rappers (Waka Flocka, etc.) to remix it.
4.못먹는 감 (Sour Grapes) ft.산이 (San E) by 매드클라운 (Mad Clown)
This video aesthetic! My boyfriend and I really like Mad Clown and discovered him after listening to Beenzino (see below).
5. Break by Beenzino
The same co-teacher that gave me the EXO photo card introduced us to Beenzino. His aesthetic is also pleasing to mine eyeballs.
6. Bermuda Triangle ft. Crush, DEAN by ZICO
I have never really given ZICO a proper listen through but man, this song is fire. Plus it features DEAN from k-pop song #3.
7. No Flex Zone (Remix) ft. Play$tar by Okasian
The “fuck you, Seaworld” comment is what got me. Okasian also collaborated with Jay Park for a booty shakin’ bop.
8. CRAYON by G-Dragon
G-Dragon is part of Big Bang. I used to hate his nasally, screechy voice but now I live for it. He’s so extra I love it.
Crayon = cray on = get your crazy on
9. Born Hater by Epik High
Epik High is fire but the rappers featured (Beenzino, Mino, etc.) on this song made it fireeeeeeeee! I could listen to this song all day long and still be impressed.
10. Change ft. Wale by Rap Monster
Rap Monster is one of the rappers from BTS. The band is known for singing about subjects that aren’t touched upon, like bullying. So there was no question that a song like this would be made.
Do you have a favourite k-pop group? Comment your favourite song by them!