Every year, Korean entertainment companies seek to capitalize on holiday cheer with the release of special Christmas tracks, and 2014 was no exception. Here at Seoulbeats we have already discussed our opinions on Christmas K-pop as well as provided a mixtape of some of our favorites, but now it’s time to look specifically at the holiday releases of 2014.
First up, we have the annual company/family holiday releases. Starship Entertainment kicked off the holiday release party with “Love is You.” The music video, featuring K.Will, Sistar, Boyfriend, Mad Clown, Junggigo, and Jooyoung, probably has more appeal than the song itself but is still an enjoyable holiday gift to fans.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFIgCvigf50]
One of the most fun, and perhaps catchy, holiday releases this year came from Chrome Entertainment with the Chrome Family’s “Love Christmas,” featuring Crayon Pop, K-Much, Bob Girls and Zan Zan. Although the artists are less well-known than some others on this list, the track has that catchy Christmas tune quality that will have you singing along in no time. The entertainers also have a blast in the music video, which makes it even more entertaining.
DSP Entertainment released not only a company track but also a full special album White Letter. The single “White” shows off the entire DSP Media line-up, complete with Kara, Rainbow, Oh Jong-hyuk, A-JAX and DSP Girls. The artists pose for holiday group shots in warm sweaters, with the video cutting to behind the scenes shots throughout the music video. Again, not the most memorable of holiday tracks, but DSP definitely succeeded in conveying a family vibe throughout the entire MV.
SM Entertainment surprised fans with the announcement of a special Exo Christmas release through the mobile game SuperStar SMTown. The pop-ballad (creatively) titled “December 2014 (A Winter’s Tale)” features main vocals Baekhyun, D.O. and Chen. Almost surprisingly, SM did not release a music video for the track; instead, they opted to keep promotions to a minimum.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHO8HFc2MhU]
The Barberettes released a series of doo-wop style Christmas covers this season through their live recording Snowflake Session. The wonderful harmonies, in addition to the throwback arrangements, set the Barberettes apart from their K-pop contemporaries this holiday season.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H33ps7XIKSc&w=560&h=315]
Teen Top has had a busy 2014 — with an almost constant cycle of releases in the latter half of the year — but that didn’t stop them from contributing the excessively sweet track “Snow Kiss” to the list of 2014 K-pop holiday releases. The video for the song was created by the Teen Top members themselves as a gift to their fans.
Although not explicitly a Christmas song, Yoonsang’s “Waltz” is definitely a fitting winter track in both sentiment and aesthetic. The duet with Davnik is an endearing tale of peculiar love that resonates with a genuine sweetness through the upbeat jazz-pop melody. It’s certainly one of the higher quality tracks to be released this December.
In a change of pace from the rest of the holiday music lot, Kanto released the hip-hop holiday track “Before the Snow” featuring As One. Unfortuantely, the MV is shot with excessive soft focus, while the track itself falls quite short of conveying any holiday sentiments.
A little late to the game, Roy Kim released “It’s Christmas Day” on December 19. Kim surprised fans by playing both piano and guitar in the music video. Roy Kim is a gift that keeps on giving musically, and although the track isn’t being heavily promoted, it promises to be one of the more memorable releases this holiday season.
Dal Shabet added to the Christmas cheer with their rendition of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” The music video charms with the ladies of Dal Shabet playing in the snow while singing along to the classic Christmas song.
On December 22, BtoB released what is definitely the most adorable MV this holiday season: “The Winter’s Tale.” The video features the boys in cute reindeer onesies while they have a silly, jolly holiday time.
Overall, it wasn’t the best year for K-pop Christmas releases, with very few of the tracks having the potential to be remembered come January. However, these songs and music videos are generally provided more as a gift and thank you for fans than as a real attempt at creating timeless Christmas classics. In that sense, they all contribute to the spirit of the season, and who can deny BtoB dancing around in onesies?
Readers, did you have a favorite holiday release in 2014?