Here at NSB, we take our writing seriously, or not so seriously depending on your perspective, but there is a lot of work that goes into choosing topics, drafting, editing and publishing work to the site. Sometimes though, topics are chosen simply at the spur of the moment like this one posted in September on the Top5 songs you need to know to party at karaoke with Koreans. Imagine our surprise when we found out that it’s #7 on our top 10 stories of all time. So, to follow that up, I decided to write about the sweetest Korean songs you may want to consider jamming to when you find yourself back inside the belly of the beast (the beast here being a Korean 노래방, a.k.a. the noraebang).
5. After School – 첫사랑 (chut-sa-rang)
Everyone had a first love. Someone that they will always recall when thinking fondly of days gone by. Now, whether that’s a sad or happy memory for you, this song will capture all the feelings in your little aching heart. Let the girls of After School tell you their story about their first loves, youthful indiscretions and the longing. If you frequent noraebangs that offer lyrics synchronized to the music videos (the cutting edge for noraebang technology) it’s a great excuse to watch hot girls pole dance while slaughtering a perfectly good song.
4. MC Mong – 홈런 (Home Run)
If you had been following KPop for the last decade, MC Mong was probably featured heavily in your playlists. Before he tried to get out of his military service (South Korea has a mandatory conscription policy for all males), he was gracing our speakers with his own brand of pop rap. I won’t speak on his character, but this guy was an awesome entertainer. I mean who sings songs that say, “even though my face is ugly, the fact that I have you is a home run.” In any case, if you don’t receive hate from the ultra-nationalists, this is a great song that most KPop acolytes will know and love.
3. As One – Day by Day
As One was a female duo that stormed the KPop music scene in the late 90’s. Their brand of soft love songs really hit home during a time when ballads were at the top of the heap. Now, be warned, they were damn good at singing and you probably will not be able to hit these notes unless you press that octave down key a few times. In any case, this was one of their signature jams off their debut album released in November of 1999. Another disclaimer: this video isn’t the original, but a remix. The version you will be singing won’t have any rap.
2. 긱스 (Geeks) – Officially Missing You
Geeks is a relatively recent contender to the love song arena. It is a duo made up of utility players that can both sing and rap. This song will seem familiar to those that love western R&B. If you know of Tamia, the R&B singer who was active in the early 2000’s and saw limited success, you will know that she left a huge dent in the landscape of North American R&B with her song Officially Missing You in 2004. Well, the Geeks took the song, made it a bit more upbeat, added their own brand of lyrical genius and the rest is history. This spawned an even livelier remix (and one of my current favorite perma-repeat tracks) featuring Soyou of the current female powerhouse pop group Sistar.
1. 노을 (No-eul) – 청혼 (chung-hon)
I know a lot of you will cringe when I tell you that 청혼 (chung-hon) means proposal for marriage in Korean. Yes, we should all be scared of marriage, or at least delay it for as much as possible, but this is a list of sweet songs, so sue me. In any case, this group put the B in ballad with their jams and there aren’t many young Korean couples that don’t know this song, but don’t take it lightly. These guys are known for being able to sing well both in studios during recordings and live during performances. That means that you will once again find your finger going to the octave down button on your notebook-sized remote control, but to all you non-Korean men that brave the terrors of singing foreign songs, the girls will swoon. That’s a guarantee my friend.