Picture this: the weather has dropped below forty, and maybe there’s even snow falling. You’re bundled up in comfy fuzzy socks, and your softest sweater; and your warmest blanket is tucked tight around you. Whether you’re a tea or hot chocolate type of person, you’ve made yourself a cup and are ready to settle in. All that’s needed is a soundtrack to help you wind down for the rest of the night, and that’s where we come in. From K-dramas OSTs, B-tracks, and individual artists there’s enough of these ballads to form its own subgenre. Here are just a few of the many beautifully composed tracks that will put you at ease this winter.
I Will Go To You Like The First Snow by Ailee
Goblin was the most renowned drama to come out of the winter of 2016. With a well-crafted story, emotion provoking actors, and a soundtrack that made everyone’s study playlist. I Will Go To You Like The First Snow (첫눈처럼 너에게 가겠다) is the top contender to put you at ease during the harsh cold. The song tells the tale of a realization of being in love and being willing and ready to go to the one you love with ready and open arms. With Ailee’s powerful, and emotional vocals working at your emotions you almost begin to believe you yourself have fallen in love. Though she sings of going to the one who holds her heart like snow, the tune will warm you up in any season. But be warned, her high notes may just actually give you the chills.
I Don’t Love You by Urban Zakapa
Urban Zakapa can easily be referred to as royalty in the ballad-making world. The CoEd group has produced many famous tear jerkers and Karaoke go-tos but amongst them all, I Don’t Love You (널 사랑하지 않아) offers a much different approach to a painful breakup. The song tells the tale of someone who wakes up one day and realizes they don’t love the person they’re with. While some may consider the song harsh in its lyrics or approach, there’s something to be said about the raw honesty and the courage it may take to be that honest. They show that it’s okay to not reciprocate feelings for someone and that there’s not always a reason for it, and you shouldn’t feel bad for it. They convey this message through a beautiful meshing of soft piano, and gut-punching guitar as well as impactful harmonies between the male and female voices.
I’ll Try by Day6
When one mentions Day6, soft ballads aren’t what comes to mind. They’re more known for their edgy and rock inspired sound with songs like I Wait, and Shoot Me, I’ll Try (노력해볼게요) is a much newer sound for their audiences. And one they nail with ease. A steady piano mainly backs the track, and the inclusion of the acoustic guitar softens up the already mellow track. It’s clear the focus of the song is meant to be their vocals, and the lyrics they’re portraying. At times the singing feeling more like a whisper as if they’re telling their listeners a vital secret. An acapella break down near the end showing off their ability to harmonize while also feeling like a personal approach to the people who listen. The song is a dedication to their fans to finish off their year-long EveryDay6 project, and professes their appreciation of the love they receive from MyDays, as well as express their desire to return the same affection towards them. Listening to this song will make you feel cared for and appreciated, letting you know there’s always someone there even when you may feel like there isn’t.
I Miss You by Kim Bum Soo
If there was a monarchy system in place for artists, Kim Bum Soo would undoubtedly be the King of the ballad. His breathy but powerful vocals are enough to give someone goosebumps, but the lyrics he accompanies with such great singing can move you to tears. But that’s a good thing, I promise! I Miss You (보고싶다) speaks about losing a loved one and being unable to move on. Missing them terribly and wanting to forget they were dead. The weight of the song carries such strong emotions, and Kim Bum Soo can provoke the feeling of desperation, and grieving in his voice that touches the audience’s heart.
Hate by Subin
Without the addition of any other instrument other than the piano, Hate (미워) is the most stripped ballad on this list. The simplicity of the instrumental being only piano and backing vocals easily convey the pain of betrayal of a loved one. It makes the song feel more person like she’s directing the scorned emotions at the one who left her with confidence while also reaching out to anyone who has ever felt the same and letting them know she sympathizes. There’s a constant switch from falsetto and chest voice that show off Subin’s vocal ability and could give the listener goosebumps. The song makes you root for her happiness while simultaneously feeling soothed by the softness of the piano.
No Longer by NCT127
This ballad is a fairly new release as part of NCT 127’s Regular-Irregular comeback. The song features vocalists Doyoung, Haechan, Yuta, Taeil, Jungwoo, and Jaehyun. It’s a song about being left by someone who you still very much love, but the other person no longer needs you around and longing for the past. While soft low vocals puts you at rest while you sway to the playing of the piano, the stronger high notes and harmonies will evoke feelings of sympathy for the boys as they tell their story. It’s well constructed in its instrumental and lyrics, and perfectly executed with the vocals of each individual getting their moment to shine.
Restricting myself to list only six songs was the most challenging thing about this article. But, after writing about all these beautiful ballads, I’m ready to brew up some coffee with my blanket wrapped around me while Day6 soothe me to a state of relaxation! We hope you enjoyed this list and did you see any of your favorites? Maybe you’ll find all six on your winter playlist soon!
Cover Image: DAY6 (JYP Entertainment)