While the list of sad songs can be endless, why not try a specific genre, and when doing so, choose something that has the right amount of spice and ice. Of course, we’re talking K-Pop, known for its conceptualized lyrics, variety, illuminating nature, and soul-soothing music.
Bands such as BTS, BIGBANG, and singers like Taeyeon and G- Dragon are some of the talented ambassadors of contemporary K-Pop.
Here’s our pick of top 20 K-Pop Sad songs that are bound to lift you, when life’s roller coaster decides to hit downwards.
1. ‘Butterfly’ by BTS
Released on the 30th of November in 2015 by BTS as part of their mini-album ‘The most beautiful moment in Life (part 2)’, this K-Pop number is thought to depict the fear of losing someone you hold close to your heart.
The butterfly that is known to be an epitome of beauty and fragility serves as an object of comparison that is similar to the lyricist’s idea of someone who is as fragile and precious and therefore might be lost or disappear at the mere touch.
2. ‘Will be back’ by Im Sun Hae
This track was recorded by Sun Hae Im for an SBS drama titled ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. The lyrics suggest the longing for the return of someone held dear. Longing for something or someone is an unfulfilled desire that brings about a burning sensation in one’s heart. To all those who are familiar with this sensation and to those who want to comprehend this feeling better- this one is for you.
3. ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’ by Taeyang
Written by Teddy and Taeyang for Taeyang’s album ‘Rise’ in 2014, this single went on to top the Gaon Digital Chart, made it to the K- Pop Top 100, and bagged numerous awards and nominations. The track is a slow-moving R&B style song and was inspired by the singer and lyricist break-up at that time and revolves around the paradigm of longing for lost love.
4. ‘Goblin’ by Sulli
‘Goblin’ served as Sulli’s debut solo single in 2019 which was the singer’s last project before her death. The lyrics depict a person with dissociative disorder carrying multiple personalities. The music is rather contrasting, consisting of a blend of whimsical and haunting background notes. The song also highlights the ideology of how a person is seen through the varying perspectives of others which tends to bring about an emotional awakening.
5. ‘Fine’ by Taeyeon
This ‘alternative pop’ track was recorded as part of Taeyeon’s first studio album- ‘My Voice’ in 2017. Taeyeon’s exemplary vocal skills in the song were compared to that of America’s Taylor Swift. Substantially, the lyrics denote the overwhelming emotions that are experienced post-break-up.
Struggling to move on from your ex who cheated on you? Well then, you ought to give ‘Fine’ a keen listen.
6. ‘Timeless’ by NCT U
‘Timeless’ is a digital ballad-style track, released in January 2018 and sung by members of NCT U- Doyoung, Jaehyun, and Taeil for SM Station. This is yet another vocal piece that reflects the state of the heartbroken after a break-up. With the amalgamation of high and low pitches and the expression of emotions through fragile and powerful tones, be warned! This one’s a keeper that’ll remain on your favorite tracklist for a very long time.
7. ‘The Fool’ by Jung Seung Hwan
This K-Pop ditty sung by Jung Seung Hwan and featured on Korean Ballad hits for 2016, questions ‘the Fool’ in this instance- the lover, for causing the emotional turbulence that makes the heart shudder. A phrase in the track translates to ‘You fool, I’m hurting because of you’, this demonstrates the throbbing pain the heart is snared in and goes on to blame the one he loves for his agony.
8. ‘LOSER’ by BIGBANG
There sometimes comes a point in life where we feel like a nobody, a stage where our insecurities are brought to light, we feel small of ourselves, you know, like a complete zero. While it isn’t unusual for ordinary people to go through this phase, BIGBANG goes on to convey in ‘LOSER’ that even pop stars tend to take a walk down this dark aisle every once in a while and that all the glamour and fame is just a curtain they use to hide their realities behind. The raw essence of this song is set to ignite the earthy feels of being simply, undeniably human.
9. ‘Sailing’ by Girls’ Generation
Released on the 5th of August 2015 in time to mark their ninth Anniversary, this Ballad written by group member Sooyoung, is Girl Generation’s way of paying homage to their loyal fans. The lyrics begin with a walk down memory lane and inspires hope after defeating struggles and hardship. If you’re the type who believes in the ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ saying, this one promises you good vibes.
10. ‘Wasted’ by Younha
Suffering the pangs of heartbreak, shattered by unkept promises- this song depicts post-break-up emotions. This track was released in October of 2014 and is assessed to have a fast tempo- isn’t exactly the type you’d want to sway to but might be a perfect companion during a light exercise session or when you need a good cry to burn all that bottled up hurt.
11. ‘Goodbye’ by 2NE1
‘Goodbye’ serves as 2NE1’s farewell track as it went on to become their final digital single that was released in January 2017. Singer CL revealed that the lyrics were based on a message to their ‘x’ group member Minzy and denotes a plea to return and not fall prey to the prevailing dangers. The acoustic guitar coupled with the melodious, yet emotional voices of the vocal artists lend to creating the perfect curtain closing for 2NE1.
12. ‘If you’ by BIGBANG
This Gaon Digital Chart Topper entered the K-Pop world in July 2015 and went on to steal over five million hearts just across Asia. The lyrics portray a sense of helplessness that fills your heart as you witness something vanishing or going further away from you. It also reminds one to treasure your loved ones and cherish the moments you spend with them.
13. ‘Promise’ by EXO
4.47 in length, this soul-stirring ballad is an explanation of the downs the EXO group experienced after three of their members left the group, breaking their ‘promise’ to be united in all circumstances. The track was released in March 2015 under the SM Entertainment banner and serves as an apology to EXO fans for not living up to their band mission.
A good cry can fix a broken soul. If a good cry is what you need then to ‘Promise’ you must listen.
14. ‘Memories’ by Super Junior
Moments of happiness and sadness that are shared with a loved one are often edged in our hearts forever are can sometimes be impossible to erase. Super Junior sheds light on these memories in the song Memories. The song conveys that the singer is searching for his loved one in vain. The pain in his heart is musically notated throughout the song in an apparent way.
15. ‘Untitled’ by G-Dragon
G-Dragon is often called the King of K-pop for a reason. This song conveys emotion and familiarizes the listener in a variety of areas. It can be his soothing voice, the smooth music, the heat-touching lyrics, or all three.
The singer is seeking another chance with his loved one. Even though he knows that he hurt his significant other, He is begging to see his lover even in a dream so that they can love each other again.
16. ‘Let Me Out’ by Jonghyun
This song which was released in 2017, is about a person who seems to be lost in the world of emotions. He can’t take a straightforward decision on what to do next. The only thing he knows for sure is someone has to love him if he is to move forward. Some critiques have stated that the song is about the suicidal thoughts of an individual, however, the listener can really delve into the meaning of the lyrics as he/she sees fit. At the end of the day, the lyrics suggest love is important for anyone in the world.
17. ‘Everyone Has’ by Chungha
“Everyone has” is another song released in 2017. This one was from Chungha’s album, Querencia.
There are various perspectives offered in the lyrical meaning of the song. The most acclaimed out of them is that the songstress is conveying the lack of romance in the world and how mundane living can be without some love in one’s life. The voice, the music, and the meaning go parallel to bring out how hard it is to be in a world without love.
18. ‘Falling Blossoms’ by Min Kyung Hoon and Kim Hee Chul
The never-ending love is depicted here in the lyrics of Falling Blossoms. Even though the music video is about a different topic, the singers, Min Kyung Hoon and Kim Hee Chul bring out an internal sadness through this song. Released in 2018 the song has won the hearts of the audience with the lyrical meaning.
The person depicted in the song lets go of his never-ending love. Just like in Let Me Out by Jonghyun, he realizes the value of his lover after he lost her. The song itself is really calm making it perfect for our list of top 20 sad K-pop songs.
19. ‘House of Cards’ by BTS
Everything in the world is fragile. “House of Cards” by BTS talks about the fragile nature of a relationship. There are many perspectives one can see the lyrical meaning of the song in. However, at its core, the talk about how people try to make a relationship work just because they are not ready to give up.
Released in 2018, the song is still trending for its deep meaning and also because this scenario is really common in the world.
20. ‘Downpour’ by I.O.I
The song Downpour is the last single from I.O.I. The song is about all the hardships, memories, achievements they had as a group. Even though the main idea of the song lyrics was that, as listeners, we all have the creative right to connect the lyrics with our imagination.
The lyrics address how troublesome times can affect people. It talks about how they make emotions go restless. The person depicted through the song doesn’t want to be a part of those restless and hence, she’s saying goodbye. However, she also states that those times are just “a passing downpour” and nothing more.
Sadness is something we all feel. As music is a universal language, most people communicate with their feelings through music. We wrapped up 20 K-pop songs that are perfect to get in touch with your feelings and let them loose to calm down. With soothing, calm music and deep, meaningful lyrics you can definitely have a wonderful time listening to one of these on a rainy day sitting sipping a coffee.