K-pop is a genre that constantly goes beyond every boundary set by music: whether it’s about the language or the mixing of different types of music. One thing that makes K-pop what it is, is of course the Korean language. However, there are out there a couple of amazing songs in English by K-pop artists, whether it’s a version of an already existing song or an original.
Here are some of our favorites, so you can ease into the genre if you’re into K-Pop already. And if you are: take this as a list of good songs to sing along to if you don’t know Korean.
‘Revolution’ by AleXa (English Version)
The first one on our list is ‘Revolution,’ an anthem song by AleXa. The American singer, based in South Korea has only been around since late 2019 but she’s has been killing the game since then. ‘Revolution’ has an addictive almost festival-like beat and the lyrics are all about empowerment. AleXa is definitely an artist to keep an eye on.
‘I CAN’T STOP ME’ by TWICE (English Version)
Even if the song has only been out for a couple of months, it’s safe to say that it will go down in history. ‘I CAN’T STOP ME‘ is TWICE‘s second comeback of 2020 which blew us all away; the English version that was released a few weeks after doing the same. This song has strong retro electro-pop vibes and an amazing energy showcasing their insane vocals. It will get stuck in your head for hours and you won’t be complaining.
‘SOMEONE’S SOMEONE’ by Monsta X
‘SOMEONE’S SOMEONE’ is just a highlight on Monsta X‘s extended discography in English. They even have a full album in English that’s definitely worth a listen, but for the sake of this list, we’ll just include one of the songs. ‘SOMEONE’S SOMEONE’ is a touching and inspiring song about how everyone wants to be loved. Not only are the lyrics heartfelt, but the production takes the song to a whole other level, especially when they strip back the chorus to a simple acapella followed by a soft EDM drop.
‘Love Talk’ by WayV (English Version)
WayV is technically not K-pop, but we couldn’t leave ‘Love Talk’ out of the list. This song has some kind of early 2000s vibe and it’s so addictive you’ll never get tired of it. However, you’d be surprised how complex the structure of the song actually is. While the original version is amazing on its own, how the English lyrics fit the melody is outstanding.
‘Highway To Heaven’ by NCT 127 (English Version)
NCT 127 are no strangers to English versions of their songs, but there’s something about ‘Highway To Heaven’ that’s so special and makes it unforgettable. The repetitive beat and the production that’s somewhat inspired by disco, make the song perfect to listen to in the car!
‘Crazy Over You’ by BLACKPINK
BLACKPINK isn’t one of the biggest girl groups right now for no reason. ‘Crazy Over You’ is a catchy and fun track, with its rhythms and heavy bass. The vocals in the pre-chorus are unbelievable and make the drop even more special and unique. It’s also a track full of attitude and sass, which we love. Now, keep in mind this is only a b-side of their album.
‘Can’t get you out of my mind’ by DREAMCATCHER
Out of their second comeback of 2020, ‘Can’t get you out of my mind’ is a b-side on DREAMCATCHER’s EP: Dystopia: Lose Myself. It’s their first and only track to date fully in English but it doesn’t just stand out of their discography because of that. DREAMCATCHER‘s music is usually very influenced by rock, even though they have a lot of variety in their songs. ‘Can’t get you out of my mind’ is a more soft EDM kind of song, resembling songs like ‘Clarity’ by Zedd and Foxes. It’s a beautiful and comforting song about having someone next to you supporting you, and they deliver it with their amazing vocals.
‘Square (2017)’ by Yerin Baek
Yerin Baek is quite different from every artist on this list because her style of music is influenced by the indie genre and her tone of voice is so unique. Like most of her songs, ‘Square’ is a soft feel-good song. The love song feels so comforting and it reminds us of a sunny day because of it’s chill vibes. Nonetheless, the lyrics are very special.
‘Star’ (Voice English Version) by LOONA
LOONA is one of the most promising girl groups out there when it comes to not only the growth of their fan base, but also their growth as artists. Their last EP, [12:00], showcased more maturity while showing insane versatility. As amazing as all the songs were, there was always one that stood out and it was ‘Voice,’ or ‘Star’ as the English version is called. ‘Star‘ follows under the huge influence that retro had on music this year. Lyrically, the song is all about being loving someone. It’s a fun, addictive, and comforting song that you will never get tired of.
‘Sweet Night’ by V
Apart from being an amazing K-Drama, Itaewon Class also counted with an insane original soundtrack. Part of it was a song by V from BTS, called ‘Sweet Night’. It’s a sweet acoustic song about falling in love with your best friend, and the uniqueness of V’s voice shines better than ever. It’s also a song that comes with beautiful harmonies. No need to watch Itaewon Class to fall in love with the song (even though we definitely recommend the show). If you like acoustic sweet songs, this is for you.
‘Losing You’ by Wonho
‘Losing You‘ is not only all in English, but it’s also Wonho‘s first solo song. The song is a beautiful love song where the theme can be summarized by this catchy line in the chorus: “losing me is better than losing you”. This ballad is full of heartbreaking emotion, and you will probably shed a tear but it’s worth it.
‘Love Die Young’ by Eric Nam
A good playlist wouldn’t be complete without a proper heartbreak ballad, and Eric Nam is here to serve with ‘Love Die Young.’ Eric Nam is an American song-writer based in South Korea but he has released several songs in English, including a full album, Before We Begin (2019). What makes ‘Love Die Young’ so special is the emotion conveyed in it. The lyrics are absolutely gorgeous and they encapsulate the fear of losing someone you love which is inevitable. Yes, prepare tissues for this one.
‘Numb’ by Jessi
A simple way to describe this song is to say that it’s the perfect song to play when you’re walking at night, a somewhat similar vibe to a song like ‘Great One’ by Jessie Reyez. Even though Jessi is more known for her energetic songs, ‘Numb’ is a song about heartbreak and struggling. The song is not only beautiful and full of feeling, but it also shows her versatility as an artist as this song was released on the same EP as her more known song, ‘NUNU NANA’.
‘Oh my god’ (English Version) by (G)I-DLE
‘Oh my god‘ by (G)I-DLE is one of the most special songs in K-pop and everyone can agree that the English version makes it justice. It’s hard to describe a song that goes through so many different vibes, what you get in the verse is very different from what you get in the chorus but it all ties into a simply amazing song. It has a mysterious vibe to it and it touches upon the theme of a toxic relationship. The self-produced girl group really outdid themselves with this one.
‘100 Ways’ by Jackson Wang
Jackson Wang is the definition of a multi-talented king at this point. He has released various solo songs under his own label and ‘100 Ways’ is one of his latest. It might sound familiar to you as it went viral on TikTok after its release, and you’ll know why as soon as you hear it. While the lyrics explore the concept of forbidden love, there’s an addictive beat and drop that won’t leave your head for weeks.
‘Dream Of You’ by Chung Ha (ft. R3HAB)
If there’s someone that always serves when it comes to music, it’s Chung Ha herself. Her collaboration with R3HAB on ‘Dream Of You’ gave way to a fun song for the club or simply to dance to. Her delicate voice sounds amazing and mixes perfectly with the repeated bass. If you like songs like ‘Break My Heart’ by Dua Lipa, ‘Dream of You’ is definitely for you.
‘Zombie’ (English Version) by DAY6
If you could summarize 2020 in a song, ‘Zombie’ by DAY6 would be it. The song talks about losing oneself in the repetition of meaningless routine to the point of becoming numb. With heartfelt lyrics, their usual rock vibe is this time more influenced by British rock. The song shows how they are masters of music, with lyrics that convey the feeling to perfection.
‘Slump’ (English Version) by Stray Kids
Keeping up with the rock influence and the feeling of losing yourself, next on our list is ‘Slump‘ by Stray Kids. It was released as the end credit song for the anime Tower Of God, so you can see what of the vibe it has. The lyrics of the song were fully written by member Han. The rock guitar, the expressive rap, the explosive chorus, the falsettos… this song has it all and it makes it one of their best songs ever to date.
‘Better Days’ by SuperM
SuperM is a K-pop group with several songs in English, and they’re all good, but there’s something special about ‘Better Days.’ This is a song that everyone needs in their life during times of struggle. With a soulful production and guitar, ‘Better Days’ is a beautiful song about hope and the light at the end of the tunnel. Their harmonies and vocals make it an absolute anthem.
‘One Day At A Time’ by ATEEZ
With a similar theme to ‘Better Days,’ ATEEZ wrote and released ‘One Day At A Time‘ in hopes to bring comfort to their fans. But you don’t need to be a fan to be comforted by this. The song was written in English specially, so it could touch and talk to the most people possible. It’s a slow song that has a somewhat trap beat in the back all throughout the song that makes it addictive. The lyrics are absolutely gorgeous and are just what one needs in comfort.
‘Stay Beautiful’ (Jamie Ver.) by JAMIE
The last soloist on our list is Jamie, also previously known as Jimin Park. Her 2019 single, ‘Stay Beautiful,’ is all about self-love. The song has a soft production and it mixes beautifully with Jamie’s powerful, yet delicate, vocals. ‘Stay Beautiful’ is not only, well, a beautiful song but it also gives out a powerful and timeless message.
‘Dynamite’ by BTS
Of course, we couldn’t possibly be making a list of K-pop songs in English without including the one and only ‘Dynamite,’ by BTS. To say this song was, and still is, huge is an understatement. ‘Dynamite‘ is the perfect mix between retro and modern, with catchy lyrics and a fun instrumentals. The song was written with the purpose to share light and hope at a difficult time and it ended up being one of the most iconic songs to come out of 2020.
Check out the full playlist here!
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Featured image source: TheHoneyPop’s graphics team