14 K-pop songs representing 2020
2020 has been a year full of difficulties, and with the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, we have grappled with feelings of insecurity, the loneliness of the quarantine, and the strange feeling that time seems to move fast and slow at the same time. So maybe it’s no surprise that there have been a number of K-pop releases that hit the fearful, existential vibe of 2020: a subtle fear of waiting, asking, and hoping. It is comforting to hear these quietly scared K-pop songs, as if the artists understand and calm your feelings. So sit back and let these 14 tracks scare you!
1. “Can’t you see me” – TXT
TXT shows their fearful side with the existential “can’t you see me” by addressing the isolating feeling that those closest to them no longer understand them as if they weren’t seen. This track only resonates more strongly in a year that has been more difficult than ever to literally see people (in person). The haunted whistle in the background of the K-pop song is the cherry on top of this melody, and its dark, thought-provoking music video is the cherry (or should we say “strawberry”) on top.
2. “Howling” – VICTON
Few K-pop songs feel like 2020 like the fearful but hopeful “Howl,” and VICTON’s call for a lost love feels like this year we are calling for connection, understanding and a return to normal. Just like the members of VICTON, we all seem to “howl” a little these days!
3. “Lovesick Girls” – BLACKPINK
Nothing says “fear” like the chorus of “We were born to be alone” in this record breaking BLACKPINK hit! These ladies indulge in their romantic sorrows, knowing that love only brings them bad luck, but they keep chasing it anyway. The feeling of making peace with our loneliness while still looking for connection is very popular with us this year!
4. “Daisy” – PENTAGON
This PENTAGON hit is about getting burned by love, but it channels some kind of frustrated fear that we all feel at this point in 2020. The rocking track gave PENTAGON their first win on the music show, and it’s easy to see why: despite his fear, “Daisy” heals to listen as if the guys understand exactly how we are feeling.
What is quarantine for if you don’t remember past romances? Taemin’s beautiful “2 KIDS” are permeated with the nostalgic fear of looking back on a youthful past love. It also manages to be uplifting, realizing that even in a romance that has ended, there is beauty. The music video also features perhaps the most fearful choreography on this list, which Taemin, of course, performs in absolutely stunning style.
6. “Numb” – Jessi
There is something particularly empowering about a strong woman like Jessi that brings her more painful feelings to a K-pop song. it makes us realize that it’s okay to feel vulnerable. In “Numb” Jessi sings about a relationship that exhausts her emotionally, but we can’t help but imagine a year that is continuously exhausted for everyone.
7. “NOT ON THE MOON” – Got7
It’s been a year of inconsistency and unpredictability, which makes Got7’s “NOT BY THE MOON” a 2020 vibe through and through. The track examines a line from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to examine the fear of uncertainty in romance: “O, don’t swear by the moon, the fickle moon, These monthly changes in its circular sphere, so that your love doesn’t turn out to be too proves variable. ”
Mino gets real and raw in his most recent solo release, a powerful K-pop song about escaping romance before it only leads to more pain. “Run away” conveys a feeling of emptiness and explosive emotions, a combination that is deeply personal for Mino, but is just right this year too.
9. “BOCA” – Dream catcher
“BOCA” is scared in a distinctive DreamCatcher style as the girls want to know where the love is – a question that seems particularly relevant to this difficult year. “Boca” means “mouth” in Spanish, and the lyrics speak of closing the mouth of those who say hurtful words.
10. “Zombie” – Day 6
“Zombie” is both very important and very 2020: it explores the feeling of emptiness in our repetitive daily lives, a feeling that was only heightened this year of quarantine. There are too many subtle emotions to count in this K-pop song, but the way DAY6 ties those fears and worries together is breathtaking.
11. “INCEPTION” – ATEEZ
Life sometimes feels as surreal as a dream these days, so it’s no surprise that ATEEZ’s “INCEPTION” resonates so strongly with us: The K-pop song is about getting lost in a never-ending dream, wandering around and meeting someone search. It is a strong fear that we totally feel this year!
12. “BORDERLINE” – Sunmi
Sunmi speaks directly to mental health in this English-language song that offers a glimpse into their personal struggles. She’s got used to acting like she’s okay even when she isn’t. and the K-pop song serves as a confession of their true feelings. For many of us it is easy to sense that we are having problems these days and “BORDERLINE” is a reminder to be honest with ourselves for how we are really doing.
13. “You can’t hold my heart” – MONSTA X.
This English-language MONSTA X-track perfectly captures the fear of 2020 with its clock-like ticking beat, sense of hollowness and raw vocals. The music video only amplifies this effect as the boys are shown in box-like spaces, stationary even when they are moving, and stoically watching clouds of emotion rise from their chests.
14. “HAPPENING” – AKMU
“HAPPENING” is exactly the kind of listlessness we all feel right now. AKMU wonderfully conveys a feeling of exhaustion in this post-breakup track and ultimately also acceptance when the singers deal with their present – an emotional combination that many of us have felt in the last few months!
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