While I enjoy KPop for its pop music, I am disappointed in the overall catchy-ness, and thus the quality of the pop. However, I think one area which Korean music excels is in ballads – in fact, I would say that for me, they are the spiritual successor to Cantonese ballads which I listened to on occasion
I think Cantonese pop is perpetually stuck in the mid-90s – the production sounds like its from that epoch. I guess they never adopted the “wall of sound” approach. Meanwhile, KBallads sound like they have adopted the updated production standards that Western music use – and there seem to be a lot more of them. I guess KDramas are popular (I don’t watch them), and almost every series has an OST with several ballads.
I’ve been listening to KBallads for over a year now and here are some of my favorite KBallads. They are in no particular order except for when I remembered I should put them on my list of favorite KBallads.
허각 (Huh Gak) – 한사람 (One Person)
This is from a KDrama called Big and originally I thought it was a decent (but not great) song. I bought it from Amazon using one of their credit codes, and after listening to it many times, it has grown on me.
이윤지 (Lee Yoon Ji) – 처음 사랑 (First Love)
This is from the KDrama The King 2 Hearts and instead of being sung by a musician is actually sung by one of the actresses! I thought she sings it really well and her voice is sugary like Dido’s.
태연 (Taeyeon) – 만약에 (If)
This is Taeyeon’s first release on an OST (from Hong Gil-dong) when she was 19. The song is very simple with spare instrumentation (only a piano and vocals) but is beautiful.