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[Curated Playlist] 5 Best Cover Songs By K-Pop Groups

Edited by Yoon
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

OH MY GIRL Girls' Generation IU JOY BIGBANG kpop remake
Credit: WM Entertainment, SM Entertainment, LOEN Entertainment, YG Entertainment

A ‘remake’ refers to a song sung by a new artist after re-arranging the original work. Sometimes, the new versions are released without any ties to the original pieces like Jo Jung Suk’s cover of “Aloha,” which received great love last year. But in other times, remakes are released in the form of a tribute album as a sign of respect for senior singers. We have cover songs that didn’t stop at “re-singing” but went all the way to coloring the song with artists’ unique charms.

 

OH MY GIRL – Listen to my word (A-ing) (Feat. SKULL & HAHA)

This is the song that pushed OH MY GIRL to the mainstream. The cute sound of “A-ing” stands out, and the members’ expressive faces on stage became a hot topic. The original song belongs to Papaya. The fact that a K-pop group remade another K-pop group’s song made headlines. Mimi’s rap after the first verse and Skull and HaHa’s featuring highlighter the reggae tune of the song even more. Notably, the rhythm of the original music was completely changed, creating a cleaner and more stable arrangement.

Although it’s a summer song, the group released it as a remake album with three other tracks rather than a single album. “Midsummer Night’s Christmas,” “Je T’aime,” and “Lies You Can See” were also re-arranged to sound more like OH MY GIRL. 

 

Girls’ Generation – Girls’ Generation

This is the title track of Girls’ Generation’s first full album. The group applied the “power girl concept” from their debut song “Into the New World.” Though it was a risky move to choose a cover song as the first album’s title track, the group pushed ahead with a firm belief in the rearrangement. Yes, the song title was perfect. But besides that, the narrative of the lyrics perfectly suited the group, successfully imprinting Girls’ Generation on the public. The original song by Lee Seung Chul was already widely known. Still, this remake allowed all generations to enjoy the song once again after 20 years. 

The person who played the biggest role in the song’s success was none other than songwriter Kenzie. From the new melody, dynamic session rearrangement, and Taeyeon and Jessica’s ad-libs – customizing an already-released piece to fit new artist proves Kenzie’s impressive skills.

 

IU – A Flower Bookmark

IU was already Korea’s top-tier singer, but this remake album allowed her to move on to the next level. The singer reinterpreted the songs with her own vocal style and turned the album into her own without being bound by the word “remake album.”

She didn’t stop with this and released A Flower Bookmark 2, solidifying her position as a top vocalist. Not only did the album itself showed great results, but it also showed excellent strategic planning. It actively utilized IU’s image as an artist that started with her cover of “Old Love” (original singer Lee Moon Sae) with a guitar. The fact that the common denominator of everything, such as IU’s vocal and ambition in music, was melted into this one album added more meanings. 

 

JOY – Hello

Joy became the second Red Velvet member to make her solo debut. And for her debut project, she chose a remake album. Last year, songs like “Introduce Me a Good Person,” inserted in a TV series, received a great response and performed well on the charts. So the agency must have had good faith in its attempt to challenge the remake project. 

The biggest upside of the album is that all six tracks were made specifically for Joy. There were no mistakes in their challenges, including singing in higher notes and some excessive rearrangement. But mainly, all six tracks naturally flow together and connect the emotions even when they are all covers. This may be due to Joy’s vocal that suits the mood of the songs, but the A&R team’s impeccable song selection plays the most prominent role. The fact that they chose songs with a similar vibe is impressive, but the fact that they even considered the popularity of the songs is even more special. All six songs were released a long time ago, but they still remain as good memories for many listeners. Therefore, the album evokes nostalgia and allows us to focus more on Joy’s expression.

 

BIGBANG – Sunset Glow

This song, which is considered one of Big Bang’s best songs, tells the remarkable success story among all K-pop groups’ cover songs. Among all the remakes, it has the most changes. Even the lyrics were changed to fit the artist and the time. And in the end, the song recorded an all-time hit. 

The original song was a hit song by Lee Moon Sae, one of Korea’s best singers. And yet, the remake became the title track of a full album because it was recreated entirely to match Big Bang’s color. Especially, the song showcases many signs of agony to emphasize Big Bang’s image as a K-pop group: English narrations in the intro and throughout the song; G-Dragon and T.O.P’s rapping; the easy to sing along bridge part that goes “Ah- Ah-“; and changes in the lyrics from “Yes, I love you” to “I love you.”

Although barely any traces of the original song can be found in the remake version, the famous chorus was kept the same. Hence, allowing all listeners to sing along after just one listen. Above all, this song allowed them an opportunity to appeal to the people in their 30s or 40s who only considered K-pop groups as those who make music that’s hard to understand.

 

Editor 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.

Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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