You are on a beach; your toes burrow into the white sand, a cool sea breeze caresses your skin… and your bias runs towards you from the other end. You start running too, and as you move closer and closer (in slow motion, naturally) your head is brimming with all the things you want to ask him/her: how did you know my favourite songs? Did you like my chocolates? Will you marry me? Wait, are you already seeing someone? So how close are you really with that band member? Why are you so perfect? What’s your skin care regimen? Hey, can you tell me where you got those cassettes from, because my friend wants to-
Your train of thought comes to an abrupt stop as, just inches away from your bias, who has his/her arms outstretched to receive you with a hug, you promptly sink into the sand and disappear.
The fall itself is short, and you land on a particularly hard surface. You look down to see on exactly what it is you are lying…and see nothing but black. You look around, at your hands — everything is pitch black. As you sit in the dark trying not to panic, a voice rings out: “Why hello, K-popper. How nice of you to… drop by.”
You start to panic. No matter how cheesy they sounded, you could not help but be in awe (and fear) of the voices which spoke in unison. It was them: the K-pop gods.
“Why can’t I see you? And what have you done to me? Didn’t you just grant me a boon?”
“The boon was just the beginning of our plans: to raise your hopes like sweet lambs… and then SLAUGHTER them.” The voices cackled. “Also, we were hungry.”
“What? Wait, so this was all a trick? Then what about the Walkman? And you ate my chocolates? But I only sent out three; I ate most of it.”
“That’s what you think.”
You freeze. “So…I didn’t even…?” It is as though a thousand anvils have been dropped on you. “…Eat….?” You sink further into the ground as the air is knocked out of your lungs. After an eternity, your breathing begins to return to normal and you can feel your legs again. You still can’t raise your head, but you manage to eke out a quiet, but pained, “why?”
“Because,” a voice whispers in your ear. “You’re a Seoulbeats writer.”
Your eyes fly open. You are lying on the floor next to your bed. It was all a dream, just a dream. You get up and see your earphones strewn across your pillow… but no Walkman. Filled with dread, you start dismantling your bed, and then your room, until you find that it had been under your bed the whole time. Now filled with relief, you press play, thinking that a nice love song would help calm your jangled nerves.
But this is no love song.
Tunes of heartbreak, of loneliness, of pure and utter sadness are all you hear throughout the tape. Not a single serenade has been spared — the K-pop gods’ last revenge.
What songs does your new mixtape hold?
I can honestly listen to MBLAQ‘s “Cry” over and over and over again. Something about that song strikes me somewhere deep, not necessarily the lyrics but the melody and the repeat of the word “cry” over and over again. The fist time I saw the MV for JYJ‘s “Get Out,” it was so intense I almost couldn’t watch. Maybe that song is more angry than sad, but I think it fits this situation regardless. And last but not least, K. Will. I don’t think “Please Don’t…” needs an explanation. If you’ve seen the MV, you’d understand; and if you haven’t seen it, GO WATCH IT NOW!
Fannie: Oh, I’m supposed to be wallowing in sadness right now? Alright then, if only because I just can’t pass down a bowl of jajangmyun…The sad songs on my Walkman would be After School‘s “Because of You,” Brown Eyed Girls‘ “Cleansing Cream,” and Kyuhyun‘s cover of Yoo Young-suk‘s “7 Years of Love.” And this is an old one, but I also have to add in Kim Bum-soo‘s “Bo Go Ship Da” for good measure. Stairway to Heaven is the drama that made me henceforth swear off watching all tearjerker melodramas… it was just too damn tragic for me.
Ambika: Okay this was difficult. I learned that quite a bit of my songs are on the sadder side, so it was hard to narrow them down to just a few. My sad songs are SHINee‘s Jonghyun and Onew‘s duet, “Please, Don’t Go,” Super Junior K.R.Y‘s “Coagulation,” and Dynamic Duo feat. Bobby Kim‘s “Insomnia.” The first knocked my socks off when I first heard it since I was just getting into SHINee and did not expect that. The second is one I get lost in, making it seem shorter than it actually is. And the last is sad, bleak, and haunting but so good.
Nabeela: Indeed, a Seoulbeats writer. For me, my go to sad songs are Tablo‘s “Home,” Super Junior‘s “Sorry, Sorry – Answer (Studio Version),” T-ara‘s “Falling U,” and Wonder Girls‘ “Girlfriend.” These songs are definitely for my rainy, senpai didn’t notice me, college is hard days.
Ree: When it comes to songs that make me feel sad, then SHINee’s “Quasimodo” is definitely the top of that list. It has got to be one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever heard. Infinite‘s “Paradise” also definitely makes the list – especially when I read it with the translation of the chorus. Also, “Shelter” by Jaejoong and Yoochun makes me feel really sentimental, though it may just be the instrumental, but especially during Yoochun’s rap.
Miyoko: I actually already have a sad songs playlist for when the K-pop gods smite me…BoA‘s “Don’t Know What To Say” is the first one that comes to mind, not only for the lyrics, but also because her voice sounds so raw and emotional. Second, SNSD‘s “Time Machine.” I am pretty sure I cried the first time I heard that one. And then Big Bang‘s “Haru Haru” is the old standby.
Kim: Despite having memories of Tim‘s “I Love You” played in the variety context (X-Man and Real Romance Love Letter, I think) I still rank it high among my list of ballads. With Jung Yeop, I see him and his mellow tunes like how I see Baek Ji-young and her slower songs – super emotive and fluid. “Nothing Happened” and 49 Days went really well together, too. Lastly, “I Hate You” from Urban Zakapa is one that gets quite a bit of airplay on my iTunes.
Mark: I think when it comes to sad ballads that are remotely listenable and even somewhat marketable, CCM does the best job. I don’t know Korean and I don’t bother looking up the lyrics to most songs, so my only criteria here is how well emotions are conveyed through the visual medium of MVs. And no entertainment company makes female idols look as heartbreakingly sad in its MVs than CCM. Where my CCM stans at?
These two complementary songs and MVs by Yangpa almost went completely unnoticed last year but they sure make break-ups look more sad than they already are: “Parting is All the Same” and “Love is All the Same.”
And who could forget, the ultimate collaboration that was “We Were in Love.”
Johnelle: If we’re talking sad love songs, my first go to group would definitely have to be 2AM. And for this, I’ll pick one of their latter hits from their F.Scott Fitzgerald’s Way Of Love mini album: “I Wonder If You Hurt Like Me.” My second pick would have to be Nell‘s “The Day Before.” It’s such a beautiful song of lament and the MV was just wonderful too, starring actor/models Lee Min-ki and Song Jae-rim. And I have to go with Big Bang for my last pick and the song “I Don’t Understand.” It’s one of their side B songs from their second EP Hot Issue — a song of heartbreak and not understanding how everything went wrong in a relationship.
Gaya: Listening to these songs, the K-pop gods’ last revenge doesn’t seem so bad after all.
First up is the Jonghyun-written “Alarm Clock,” because I consider it the dark twin to SHINee’s “Your Name.” “Puppetry” is my favourite Sunny Hill song, mostly devoid of autotune and with a gorgeous melody. And lastly, I don’t think this soundtrack would be complete without IU‘s “Lost Child,” A song which has only gotten better as IU matures.
(YouTube (as linked). Images via: J.Tune Camp, SM Entertainment, C-JeS Entertainment, Newsen, TV Report, Core Contents Media, LOEN Entertainment)