K-pop 101: #15 ballad edition

by: Jeffrey posted: 1 year ago



Dear readers and patients,


After missing out last week due to other obligations, we are now back with a new K-pop 101. Unfortunately with a subject that I’m not very fond of: ballads. A lot of K-pop songs are ballads so I have to talk about them. Most of the times when I hear a ballad I will skip it as I am more of a fan of exciting and upbeat songs. But there are some ballads that are quite good and definitely worth your time.


Joo – Bad guy

Joo is a very talented, but fairly unknown solo artist. She is the older sister of BtoB’s Jung Ilhoon. She joined JYP Entertainment after participating in JYP Superstar Survival, even though she didn’t win. She debuted in 2008, but she felt she was not ready yet and went back to being a trainee. She then redebuted in 2011 with the single “Bad guy”, which featured labelmate Chansung of 2PM. At the end of the year Joo debuted as a musical actress. She has since then been more active in musicals than as a singer, playing in the musicals Youthful March, Catch me if you can and Full House. Under JYP she only released 4 singles and since 2015 she has moved to Woollim Entertainment after her contract with JYP expired.


Seo In Guk – Seasons of the heart

One of the many great artists to come forth from Mnet’s Superstar K, Seo In Guk is the winner of its first season. As the winner from the first Superstar K he faced many negative consequences from the media and from Korea’s three major broadcast companies. This was because he was a cable television star. Since his debut he has been active in a many different fields including singing and acting, although most people know him for his acting. This is largely due to his role in the highly successful drama Reply 1997. He has also signed with Japanese agency Irving entertainment to expand into the Japanese market. “Seasons of the heart” is his latest single and features model Kim Jin Kyung, who is currently a couple with MADTOWN’s Jota on the program We got married.


Ailee – Heaven

Born in Denver, Colorado Ailee is a Korean-American who grew up in New Jersey. She dropped out of university to start a signing career and created a youtube channel called “mzamyx3” and later one caled “aileemusic”. Because she landed an audition in Korea, she moved there in 2010 and signed with YMC Entertainment. She made her debut in 2012 with the song “Heaven” and earned the nickname “Monster rookie” and she won almost all of the rookie awards that year. She also acquired her first music show throphy in her debut year. This was done on Music Bank beating Psy’s “Gangnam style” before it became a viral hit. In the following years she earned another nickname, Korea’s Beyonce. Quite a big name to live up to. She is one of the best solo artists in South Korea in my opinion and you just have to watch one of her performances on Immortal song 2 to know that this is true.


John Park – Falling

Another Korean-American to make his way to Korea is John Park. Before moving he was part of his college a-capella group Purple Haze, a group that is maintained by Northwestern University undergraduate students. He was a student there and majored in Economics. He participated in the ninth season of American Idol and made it to the semi-finals placing twentieth. He then entered the second season of Superstar K, Superstar K2 in 2010. He made it all the way to the finals before being beat by Huh Gak and placing second. Afterwards he joined Music Farm, a record label that houses Cherry Filter, a rock group with a female vocalist that has been active since 1997. “Falling” is his second single and the most successful one placing 4th on the Gaon Chart.


T-ara & The See Ya & 5Dolls & Speed – Painkiller

Lastly, let’s end things with my all time favourite ballad. The song is a collaboration between T-ara’s Soyeon, THE SEE YA’s Yoojin, 5Dolls’ Eunkyo, and SPEED’s Taewoon and Sungmin. It also features T-ara’s Jiyeon as the main character of the music video. For this reason it might be that I’m slightly biased towards this song as Jiyeon is my number 1 bias in K-pop. It’s also not as if I listen to this song regularly, because I have to be in the mood for it. The collaboration is between artist from then Core Contents Media. It’s now called MBK Entertainment and 5Dolls has disbanded. Taewoon has since left MBK Entertainment to became a solo artist and joined Doublekick Company, Doublekick’s label. Ironically, Doublekick also composed, wrote and arranged “Painkiller”.


Any ballads you think deserve to be on this list? Leave them down in our new comment section below. I would love to discover a new good ballad. Next week we are nearing the end of the music genres of K-pop series with K-pop 101: #16 retro edition.


Yours sincerely,

Dr. Hallyu

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