Curated Playlist: 5 K-pop Songs That Used Samples From Popular Songs

kpop sampling songs

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

Ever get that feeling like, ‘I know I’ve heard this song before’? Well, you’re not mistaken. “Sampling,” where parts from classical music or beloved old songs are taken to reinterpreted in a modern way, is playing an important role in today’s K-pop scene. So, here, we’ve put together a list of five K-pop songs that really grabbed our attention through their use of sampling.

RIIZE – Love 119

izi’s “Emergency Room,” the OST of the drama Sassy Girl Chun-hyang, has been reborn as a contemporary K-pop song through boy group RIIZE. They sampled the emotional piano line at the beginning of “Emergency Room” in their song “Love 119,” bringing back all the memories and emotions of fans who loved 1st and 2nd generation idol K-pop and old K-dramas. Through this clever music piece, they introduced their distinctive ‘Emotional Pop’ genre, expressing a range of emotions through music in a stylish production. “Love 199” portrays the tender feelings of boys in their first love as an urgent situation unlike the original piece, which compared the desire to revive love to an emergency room. RIIZE secured the number one position on the iTunes Top Song Chart in nine countries just four months after their debut with “Get A Guitar” in September of last year.

TWS – Oh Mymy : 7s

TWS is Pledis Entertainment’s first boy band after nine years since SEVENTEEN debuted in 2015. They released the pre-release track “Oh Mymy: 7s” from their debut album, Sparkling Blue, on January 2nd. The intro of this song opens with a calm string sound sampled from Robert Schumann’s “Kinderszenen.” With the addition of bass and synthesizer, the song delivers their refreshing and pure emotions through a lively musical blend. The group’s name, TWS, is an abbreviation for ‘Twenty-Four Seven With Us,’ signifying their commitment to always connect with the audience. “Oh Mymy: 7s” encapsulates TWS’s confidence and aspiration that ‘just 7 seconds are enough’ to showcase their infinite charm.

Red Velvet – Feel My Rhythm

“Feel My Rhythm,” which cleverly uses a sample from Bach’s “Air on the G String,” captivated audiences with the delicate melody that beautifully captures the intricate harmonies of Red Velvet members. With this song’s music video, the group went beyond just using classical tunes and brought motifs inspired by classical artworks to create a compelling visual and auditory experience. After its success, SM Entertainment went ahead and released an orchestral version of “Feel My Rhythm” as a single. Collaborating with the Seoul Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, SM Entertainment’s classical label SM Classics created an orchestral rendition of the song that revealed Bach’s distinctive musical characteristics as well as the group’s unique and original charm. Continuing their exploration of blending classical music with contemporary tunes, Red Velvet sampled George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in “Birthday” and earned them significant acclaim again with a remarkable blend of classical music with modern sounds.


BLACKPINK turned their attention to Italian violinist and composer Paganini, who received rave reviews for his amazing violin skills that were believed to be a gift from the devil. In their pre-release song “Shut Down,” they sampled Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major, “La Campanella.” “Shut Down” begins with a sharp and intense string melody, and as the music flows, a heavy hip-hop beat is added. The overall melody line of “La Campanella” is used as the main theme of the song. Producer Teddy, who has worked on many of BLACKPINK‘s hit songs, also participated in the songwriting and composition of this song.

IVE – After LIKE

Unlike the typical strategy in K-pop where classic or well-known songs are often used at the beginning to capture attention, IVE took a different approach. They sampled Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” an iconic disco song from the 1970s, at the end of the chorus. In the latter half of the music video, the melody of “I Will Survive” plays as fireworks burst in the night sky behind the members, like a never-ending festival. The lyrics of “After LIKE”  reflect IVE’s proactive and confident attitude towards love, a theme they have pursued consistently in previous songs like “ELEVEN” and “LOVE DIVE.” These lyrics ditch the passive lover image and paint a picture of a lover who makes their own moves, and the killing part is where Gaeul sings, “Do you know what my strength is? It’s my honesty!”

>> Curated Playlist: 5 Best K-Pop Songs That Used Sampling

Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

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