With Christmas and Kwanzaa right around the corner, and Hanukkah ending recently, we’re all feeling all kinds of cheery and warm inside. So for this week’s playlist, we’re listing all the holiday songs we love — or at least the ones we can stomach — by our favorite Korean artists.
GOT7’s formula for releasing singles since debut seems to be to release a powerful dance song, followed by cute and playful one. So after the release of their manly single “If You Do,” it’s time for the cute one. And since tis the season, the boys put out a Christmas song, “Confession Song.” The cool thing about it is that it’s not another lame holiday song about Santa and reindeer and all that nonsense. Instead, they take the non-Christian Korean concept of Christmas, a day to spend with your significant other, and give us a sweet song about writing a love confession to the person of their interest. But to still keep that Christmas cheer, bells ring throughout the track. In true GOT7 fashion, “Confession Song” is just the right amount of cute and cheesy that never taps into the ridiculous. It’s just a cute song that will make you feel like a middle schooler again.
Taetiseo made a relatively low key comeback recently with Dear Santa and still managed to make one of the best K-pop Christmas songs. In fairness, there’s not a lot of competition for this crown but Girls’ Generation’s subgroup TTS stuck to what they’re best at and slayed the concept. The opening harmonies are some of the best vocals they have ever done, and offer us something different to the saccharine that is to come. It is almost sickeningly sweet but this is Girls’ Generation meets Christmas. It had to be like this. There’s sleigh bells jingling, plenty of piano, and vocals that are as fun as Mariah Carey’s to belt out on Christmas day. In keeping with the more western version of Christmas they are portraying here, TTS also released an English version of the song, to make sure we don’t mess up the lyrics. How thoughtful.
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Usually I don’t expect much of K-pop holiday songs. Because, let’s face it, they all follow the same boring, slow ballad formula that it has become quite the science. But INFINITE’s “Lately” is the only exception to this. If it were not for the nutcrackers in the music video and the bells in the instrumentals, it probably could pass for any old K-pop track. The festive tune retains the same classic INFINITE sound, what with its guitars, chic raps, and warbly vocals, that it’s unmistakable who it belongs to.The rise and fall of the harmony gives the song actual contour, as opposed to the one flat mess of a song that is common nowadays. The video itself is also very endearing and warm, as it avoids the “let’s pretend we are having a blast around the Christmas tree and yule log” bit. I want to believe that the members actually exchanged gifts over a company dinner. I want to believe all the interactions in the streets with the civilians are genuine. Its low production cost is exactly what makes everything seem so much more relatable. Since its release in 2011, there has really been no other K-pop holiday song that has done it as well as INFINITE’s “Lately” has.
Being that there will never be a K-pop song for Chanukkah, picking my favorite K-pop holiday song is like picking a pair of shoes I’ll never wear. They’re all good, but I’m not personally invested. But Nell never disappoints, and their “White Night” reminds me of the winter holiday season (and not only for the title!) The romantic, building rock ballad depicts the perfect picture of this time of year. The twinkling, tapping sounds remind me of snow, and the lyrics describing someone you want to be around is just like every holiday film about not spending the season alone. It may not be conventional, but Nell’s ardent expression of being with the person they love, even if it means trying to turn back time, is something I just adore and listen to each December.
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EXO came back recently with their winter special album “Sing For You” and while all the tracks on the album are amazing, their title song of the same name was the one which really touched me. It’s a ballad, which may seem typical of this season but with the soothing guitar instrumental and the wonderful voices of all the EXO members the song stands out and becomes something special. It’s a song about being in love and wanting to confess but always missing the chance to do so. The lyrics speak of regret and reflection, a feeling we’re all prone to experiencing at this time of the year, even amidst all the bright lights and hearty Christmas celebrations.
What’s your favorite holiday themed K-pop song? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.