There will always come a moment when we have to take a step back from the blaring bass beats and blinding lights. Sometimes, the outlandish outfits and heavy guyliner gets too much. Sometimes, we get sick of the way-too-short skirts and high-pitched voices. During such times, we turn to some ballads, maybe a laid-back mid-tempo. Maybe we’ve had a particularly bad day, maybe you’re exhausted and you want to unwind to something. But where to start? Not all of us will turn to ballad singers like 2AM and K.Will as talented as they are, nor do artists like 2NE1 and Miss A consistently put out relaxing music. Even so, that doesn’t make the pool to choose from any smaller. There’s plenty of relaxation for the ears and I’m here to share some.

Infinite is known for their heavier, darker songs like “Paradise” and “Before The Dawn” but they also have their fair share of laid-back songs, like “Real Story”. The boys do a fair bit of harmonisation while the arrangement consists of mellow guitars. The song is pleasant on the ears and may as well be the song form of a sunny afternoon. The only drawback though, would be that totally unnecessary rap which isn’t vomit-worthy, certainly, but does disturb the original flow of the song.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprised that a fair amount of indie music would be fit for a relaxing evening, such as Urban Zakapa‘s “Let it Rain” on their recent mini album “Beautiful Day”. I’ve been a fan of this group since I first heard “Cafe Latte” which is too, a gorgeous song that deserves to be on this list (but isn’t, because there are other songs from different artists to run through).

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without my favourite soloist, Younha. If you’ve heard of her, it was probably through her 2009 ballad “Broke Up Today”. While “Broke Up Today” will always have a special place in my heart, it’s a humble, unassuming track title “Strawberry Days” on her “Someday” album, released back in 2008 that is the star of the show today. Recently, Younha has finally settled her lawsuit and while there’s no news of her signing with a new label and making a comeback, fingers crossed that she’ll soon step into a sound booth that isn’t for radio.

While CNBlue is well known for their fearless rocking tracks like “I’m a Loner” and recently, “Hey You”, there’s also a mellow side to these boys. Even then, they don’t have to throw away their electric guitars (and in Minhyuk‘s case, drum kit), because they prove that an uplifting, pop/rock track might be just what you need to unwind and smile after a long day in “Try Again, Smile Again”.

Even though SISTAR seems to be getting their fair share of love recently, I’m one of those people who enjoyed SISTAR19 that much more (and probably always will), if only because the one track they’ve promoted is positively flawless. Forget the eye-catching choreography with all those body rolls, forget the somewhat boring MV with recycled sets. “Ma Boy” is one awesome feel-good song and nothing will change that what SISTAR version.

Of course, like any K-Pop playlist, this one isn’t quite complete without the sprinkling of SM and who else to sing a bad day apart from the tragically under-appreciated (at least, I think so) SM The Ballad. “Hot Times” was the first song I heard from this unit and frankly, it’s gorgeous. It has a special, irresistible groove to it and I’m still waiting for Jino to debut. There’s too much talent to waste here.

Those who haven’t heard of As One are missing out. The duo debuted in 1999 and have been producing beautiful music since then. I adore the two girls of As One and it was such a relief to find them still active to an extent, what with them putting out an MV for their song “Drive”. Which is of course, deserving of a spot on this list with its laid-back acoustic composition and heavenly vocals.

And that concludes this little relaxation playlist. It’s not much, but maybe it’s made you smile. With that done — tell us, what songs do you listen to you after an exhausting day?

(Loveekoreanmusic, saranghae036, lividskies, maki01214, Starship Ent, SM Ent, AsianDream2018)