20131204_seoulbeats_xmas4It’s that time of year again. The entire month of December is getting filled up with love songs, just when spending time with those you love is most important. In K-pop land, that translates into entertainment companies getting their most popular groups together to record special Christmas songs.

Although arguably nothing more than a huge marketing stunt, the holiday season in K-pop is still endlessly endearing in its own way. There have been countless renditions of traditional Christmas carols and original holiday songs produced by K-pop groups over the years, and this year is no different. From groups, to companies, to duets, here are some recommendations to help get you in the holiday mood.

First off we have the traditional “K-pop company group song.” This year the first company to release an MV was Cube Entertainment, along with their sub-divisions Cube DC and A-Cube. Their holiday song is aptly titled “Christmas Song.” While the song itself is just about as original as the title, it does satisfy that semi-upbeat holiday song category and it also satisfies every fan’s desire to see multiple groups together in a video. One disappointment though: with the exception of Roh Ji-hoon and G.NA, the artists don’t actually interact with each other. While I enjoy looking at A Pink being cute by themselves, it would’ve been more fun to see A Pink being cute with their label mates (like BtoB, for example).

Next, we have Crayon Pop swooping in to take Christmas by storm, star helmets and tree dresses included. Unlike “Christmas Song,” this track isn’t very holiday sounding – might it have something to do with its title “Lonely Christmas”? The lyrics do talk about spending Christmas alone, but without an MV or tune to go along with that message, the meaning is lost on non-Korean speakers. Instead of being somber, this is an upbeat, be-bop inspired dance track similar to other songs done by Crayon Pop – too similar, some critics are saying. This song will likely appeal to those who like Crayon Pop’s silliness; but those looking for traditional, romantic songs are advised to look elsewhere. Personally, I love having holiday-themed K-pop songs that aren’t drab and depressing like a ton of the modern ones out there.

Speaking of sad Christmas songs, R&B duo 2BiC has released a smooth break-up tune that’s much more deserving of the title “Lonely Christmas.” This song and MV are typical of what is seen in K-pop during the Christmas season: sad song, sad MV, and sad lyrics. For every happy couple out there, there’s also an unhappy one, and being alone is never more hurtful than during a season when relationships are touted as the end-all-be-all of having a wonderful holiday. Sadness aside, this is a beautiful song and a beautifully shot MV, so if you are looking for something more in the vein of R&B instead of straight up pop, this is the way to go.

Last but not least, the ballad to have you crying buckets this season is EXO’s “Miracles in December.” The EXO vocal line gets together to bring us a real tear-jerker of a song and all twelve members deliver an equally heart-wrenching performance in the MV. This is a perfect example of the depressing tone K-pop likes to take with Christmas songs, but the melody here is too beautiful to resist. The musical composition is wonderful, and the harmonies are particularly stunning; it would be great to hear more ballads of this quality from EXO in the future – not just holiday themed ones, that is. If you’re looking for sentimentality, this is the holiday song for you.

There are still many holiday tracks to come this season. These include: an upbeat, aegyo song from Secret, titled “I Do I Do,” and a cute, winter romance duet from Juniel and CNBLUE’s Jonghyun titled “Love Falls.” These MVs will be released on December 9th, and there should be more to come, so keep your eyes peeled and ears open. Also, look forward to a Christmas playlist from Seoulbeats later this month; we’re including our favorite K-pop holiday hits over the years.

We hope you’re enjoying this season’s offerings. Let us know if we’ve left out any of your favourites!

(YouTube, Cube Entertainment, Cho Young-Soo, Chrome Entertainment, SM Entertainment, FNC Entertainment, TS Entertainment)