Curated Playlist: 8 Must-Hear K-Carols

Edited by Yoon
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

In December, artists from the same agency delights K-pop fans by releasing compilation albums or winter-themes albums. Why don’t we try to listen to some of K-Carol that flaunts catchy melodies and jolly spirits so we can relieve the sadness of not being able to celebrate Christmas holidays like we used to?

BoA – Merry-Chri (2004)

For this one song, Japanese music shows often invite BoA in December. The heartfelt lyrics for her fans, the waltz beat slow bpm, the perfect vocal range for BoA, and her rich expression are combined to create excellent synergy. Especially, the chorus sang in falsetto, which is BoA’s strength, exudes warm feelings. This is why this song is so loved. Like “No.1” and “Listen To My Heart,” this carol is BoA’s representative piece.


Infinite – White Confession (Lately) (2011)

In 2011, Infinite led a busy year releasing “BTD,” “Nothing’s Over,” “Be Mine” and “Paradis” back-to-back. And the group finished the year strong with “White Confession.” The “sad freshness” that producing team Sweetune embodied through the early days of Infinite was maximized, and the sweet vocals of main vocals Kim Sungkyu and Nam Woohyun as well as other members’ voices were well arranged. The humming that decorates the ending also enriches the song.


f(x) – 12:25 (Wish List) (2015)

It’s a carol based on electronic sound, the root of f(x). At the time of its release, it was a single dropped right after LDN Noise’s “4 Walls,” so there was a slight sense of deja vu, but it has certainly solidified the group’s identity. The spacey synthesizer creates a dreamy yet warm atmosphere, and the lyrics like “I’m walking around like a music note” and “It’s like being in a winter dream” continue the group’s unique expression. It is a carol song that has a clean aftertaste.


Seo Taiji – (2014)

There is no warm end of the year or a happy Christmas vibe. The cheerful beats and electronic sounds somehow create a gloomy atmosphere and depict pleasant yet brutal fairy tales with lyrics that wring the hearts of children waiting for Christmas. Like always, he has perfectly hid the message. It’s not easy to put social messages in pop songs, but he has always done an incredible job, and for sure, that is his identity.


April – Snowman (2015)

April always presents us with pretty good music, from the neat flavor “Muah!,” elegant “April Story” and retro synth “Oh! my mistake” to the most recent hit song “LALALILALA.” This carol, too, also shows a high level of completion that it’s a shame that it never saw the light of day. Monotree’s unique sophisticated code and string arrangement redoubles the warm atmosphere of the song, and smart lyrics that cover the group’s image and the mood of the song are also excellent. The song built April’s “sentimental fairytale” images by describing the snowman as a “living creature.”


EXO – Miracles in December (2013)

EXO’s winter special album Miracles in December shows that the group is completely capable of presenting an entirely different genre from songs like “Wolf” and “Growl.” The album includes solid song: the title track “Miracles in December” that is easy on the ear, “Christmas Day” that shows off members’ perfect harmony, “My Turn To Cry” that became the basis for “Sing For You” and “For Life” and “The First Snow,” a teen-pop song that goes back and forth between childhood and memories. The album is like a Christmas gift with many things to enjoy, including an album art that shows a tree made out of members and the real albums that have the shape of gift boxes.


COOL – First Whisper (2001)

COOL is famous for their summer songs, but the foundation of the group is Lee Jae Hoon’s warm vocals. And you can surely tell that from songs like “The Reason I Wanted You” and “Waiting.” COOL’s first winter album First Whisper is mainly composed of songs that maximize Lee Jae Hoon’s cozy vocals, and you can listen to some of their best songs, including “Aroha,” which Jo Jung Suk sang for his drama’s OST, “I Love You,” “White Christmas,” and “A piece of memory.”


Girls’ Generation-TTS – Dear Santa – X-Mas Special (2015)

Rather than showing off their singing skills, the album focuses on lyrics, emotions and mood. The tracks flow so naturally without hindrance or changes in the mood, so it’s good to listen to in order. The overall stability and balance of the album is outstanding – “Dear Santa” with R&B intro and pop sounds in the second half, “I Like the Way” with a light and addictive hook, “Winter Story” with acoustic guitar and vocals, “Merry Christmas” with a waltz rhythm following authentic carol ballads, and “Like First Snow” that pleasantly ends the album. The fact that a performance groups-centered label made an album that focused on holiday and listening is quite impressive.

Edited Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis. �

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