If you’re a solitude-seeker, you probably often choose to be alone, especially when you feel down. Those are the times time that music gives voice to your emotions through expressive lyrics, relatable stories, and melancholic melodies.
While K-pop is known for its addictive, catchy, and upbeat songs, there are also great heart-wrenching Korean ballad songs you can drown yourself in. Whether you feel blue or perhaps you just want to vibe with sad songs that’ll perfectly match the gloomy weather, this article is for you!
We’ve listed our top picks for 25 sad K-pop songs that will comfort you whenever you feel down, so read ahead and choose what fits your mood and feelings.
1. Taeyang – Eyes, Nose, Lips
Since Big Bang is known for their dance-heavy song, one of their members, Taeyang, decided to try R&B balladry and released his second studio album, Rise, on the 3rd of June in 2014.
It includes his award-winning track titled, Eyes, Nose, Lips, which broken-hearted people can relate to. It has striking lyrics about a man longing for his past love while reminiscing about her beautiful features, paired with a slow piano melody and expressive vocal performance that shows sincerity and emotion.
2. EXO – Miracles in December
In the realm of K-pop, ballad is one of the hardest genres to pull off, but EXO’s main vocalists really did a great job on their song, Miracles in December, from their special winter album.
It tells a heart-wrenching story that depicts the painful yearning for lost love after a breakup. Desperate to bring his former lover back into his arms, a man uses his powers to fill his world with her presence but ends up realizing that he can’t change and bring back the past.
3. Block B – Toy
Block B’s ‘Toy’ portrays an unreciprocated love and toxic relationship. Its lyrics describe a man who’s treated unfairly in a relationship but being too blinded by love to get out of it.
As a part of the lyrics go, “When I’m no longer useful, you would secretly throw me away.” Fans suspect that the song is not only about unhealthy love. One fan theory suggests that its meaning also applies to K-pop groups as some fans tend to slowly forget and lose interest in older groups when there are new ones.
4. Day6 – Letting Go
Day6 is a South Korean pop rock band known for their breakup songs. Released on March 30, 2016, ‘Letting Go’ grabbed the attention of many listeners with its acapella intro, emotional vocals, instrumentals, and heavy beat.
It narrates a realistic breakup scenario of two people with faded love. One tries to hold onto the relationship while the other is unhappy and unwilling to fight anymore. But what makes this song exceptionally good is the emotional effect that radiates a mixture of pain, regret, and uncertainty.
5. BTS – House of Cards
This masterpiece by BTS’ vocal line (Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, and V) depicts the fragile nature of a relationship. Based on the lyrics, two people must have patience and trust to build a house made of cards. The same applies when developing a balanced relationship.
If built without care and love, it can collapse at any second… just like a house of cards.
6. Big Bang – Loser
While the song’s music video shows different stories from different people and situations, its lyrics focus on one thought: we might feel like a loser, loner, and coward when we’re at our lowest. But, somehow, the pain and sorrow we feel are what make us human.
Moreover, Big Bang’s member, G-Dragon, explains that it also displays each member’s insecurities and despair. And just like other people, idols can also feel pressured and depressed due to personal and private issues.
7. Lee Hi – My Love (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo OST)
Lee Hi’s ‘My Love’ is one of the most heart-breaking Korean drama original soundtracks that can make you cry a river, especially if you’ve watched the Korean historical drama, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.
Its sorrowful melody evokes the emotions of the characters well. But the lyrics describe unrequited love as it tells how a person feels when loving someone from afar, without the guarantee of being loved back.
8. WINNER – Empty
Winner’s ‘Empty’ is another breakup song that comes with a beautiful melody and relatable lyrics in vocal and rap verses. Although it’s about the same old sob story about a man who feels empty without his lover, the group’s vocal and rap performance didn’t fail to seize people’s ears and attention.
9. G-Dragon – Untitled, 2014
‘Untitled, 2014’ highlights G-dragon’s raw voice with its clean and simple piano melody. The song comes in an emotive music video where he sings his heart out amidst random beautiful settings.
It almost sounds like a lullaby, except it’s an emotional ballad about a man wanting to reunite with his lost love.
10. IU – My Old Story
IU’s ‘My Old Story’ is a remake of veteran singer Cho Deok Bae’s ’80s hit with the same title. To modernize the song without changing the way it sounds, she improved its production elements but chose to maintain its original theme and melody to keep it nostalgic.
Its lyrics tell a story of a woman who patiently waits for her lover despite their sad, bitter, and painful past.
11. Punch X EXO’s Chanyeol – Stay With Me (Goblin OST)
‘Stay With Me’ is a timeless original soundtrack from the popular K-drama, Goblin. It’s the first-ever K-drama OST to reach and surpass 200 million views on YouTube. And it won OST awards in the 2017 Asia Model Festival and 13th KKBox Music Awards.
Listeners are impressed with how the singers’ soothing vocals blended well with the melancholic melody. Its lyrics perfectly match the drama’s love story and will surely give you chills as you listen to it!
12. Sulli – Goblin
‘Goblin’ is a whimsical song with a joyful vibe yet has a sad meaning behind it. The music video starts with Sulli in an interview, portraying a person with a dissociative disorder who has multiple identities.
As Sulli participated in writing its lyrics, it reflects her thoughts on how the public or other people see her personality. It also tackles interesting topics like mental health, insecurities, and personality types. But overall, the song and the music video sets an ethereal mood, making it look and sound like everything is from a fairytale.
13. Lee Hi – HOLO
After a long hiatus, Lee Hi dropped her new single, ‘HOLO,’ in 2020. Despite sounding like a sad song, it actually aims to uplift listeners with its encouraging and warm message that no matter how much you struggle, one day, everything will stop, and you’ll be fine.
So if you need a little comfort from a song, this one might help you a lot.
14. NCT 127 – Back 2 U (AM 01:27)
‘Back 2 U’ is one of the tracks of NCT 127’s second mini-album, ‘LIMITLESS.’ The track is an R&B-inspired song that features the members’ flawless vocals and smooth rap flows in some emotional rap parts.
The lyrics show the chronological events of lovers trapped in the cycle of a toxic relationship. Determined not to come back after a breakup, one finally decided to cut ties with the other.
15. 2NE1 – Missing You
2NE1 is known for their catchy electro-pop songs but ‘Missing You’ is different. It highlights each member’s vocal skills as they beautifully harmonize throughout the song. Although its lyrics deliver a pretty common ‘missing-a-lover’ story, it still stands out as one of the saddest songs as the group served a piercing emotional performance.
16. Taeyeon – Fine
This one is one of our favourite in this list of sad K-pop songs!
Taeyeon is best known for her strong vocals, and she continues to stun everyone with her performance in her soulful ballad song, ‘Fine.’ It’s about a woman who struggles to move on and tries her best to be fine. Yet, the memories of her lover linger in her heart and mind every day.
So, you’ll surely relate to this one if you’re trying to move on from your past relationship.
17. Super Junior D&E – Growing Pains
If you’re feeling sentimental, Super Junior – D&E’s ‘Growing Pains’ is the song that’ll match your mood. It’s a beautifully composed song about reliving memories and love that doesn’t exist anymore.
However, its music video’s story turned out to be more interesting as it portrays two characters struggling in different ways but ending up making the same big decision for their own sake.
18. Wonwoo X Mingyu feat. Lee Hi – Bittersweet
Since SEVENTEEN’s Wonwoo and Mingyu aim to express different forms or stories of love, they created ‘Bittersweet’ to portray a friendship that has become complicated because of romantic love.
It has a comforting and relaxing groove, yet, the feeling of hesitation and pain reflect on the artists’ voice and lyrics, making it an emotional experience to listen to.
19. IU – Ending Scene
Since break-ups come with different stories, IU’s ‘Ending Scene’ focuses on self-doubt or fear of not being able to move on after cutting ties with her lover. If you read its lyrics, you’ll notice it’s romantic, sad, and painful at the same time as it’s taken from the perspective of someone reaching out to an older lover.
20. EXO – Baby Don’t Cry
EXO’s ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ was released way back in 2013, but it seems only yesterday when we cried our hearts out while singing along with it. Today, it remains a heavy-hearted R&B ballad with an inevitable emotional punch.
The song is inspired by the story of Little Mermaid, where the mermaid needs to kill the prince (her lover) to become a mermaid again. However, she couldn’t do it, so her body dissolves into foam. Meanwhile, on the song’s actual lyrics, the prince is willing to sacrifice his life as he wishes her happiness.
21. AKMU – Melted
AKMU’s Lee Chanhyuk and Lee Suhyun are both known for their extraordinary voices. And they didn’t fail in delivering great performance on their song, ‘Melted.’ But beware: the music video is depressing as it is lyrically.
It depicts how humans live through hardships, but no matter how hard and painful life is, there are still people with kind hearts, willing to warm up our cold days.
22. RIO – Sweetbitter (Nevertheless, OST)
If you want to have a go-to song to listen to on your sad, moody days, RIO’s ‘Sweetbitter’ deserves a spot on your playlist! It is an original soundtrack of K-drama, ‘Nevertheless,’ and RIO’s smooth voice perfectly fits the lyrics’ message and drama’s aesthetic setting.
The song reflects the drama’s story, where the characters tend to be skeptical about love because of their past relationships.
23. Lee Hi – Breathe
As this is a list of sad K-pop songs, of course, we won’t miss out on Lee Hi’s ‘Breathe.’ Apart from the message, her melodic vocals in this touching song are enough to give you a rush of emotions and even make you look back on the hard times in your life.
Its lyrics serve as a reminder that everyone may feel suffocated by stress and pressure, so we should always take time to breathe.
24. Red Velvet – One of These Nights
Red Velvet’s ‘One of These Nights’ is an R&B mid-tempo song full of longing. In some interviews, the group’s leader, Irene, explained that the song is inspired by a folktale behind Chilseok — a traditional festival in Korea — where star-crossed lovers long for the night they’ll reunite with each other.
But fans claim that the song is also a tribute to the Sewol Ferry Disaster that happened in 2014, as the music video includes symbolism that tends to connect to the said tragedy.
25. LYn X Leo of VIXX – Blossom Tears
The queen of ballad LYn and VIXX vocalist Leo pair up to bring life to their duet song, ‘Blossom Tears.’ It’s a song that circulates in love and denial. And it’s full of words of heartbreak, pain, doubt, and frustration, carried by the singers’ powerful vocals.
But apart from the song’s story and message, what also wowed the people is their acting skills and the music video’s plot, which will surely give you goosebumps as you watch!
Music indeed speaks for what you feel inside. Sometimes, sad songs are the best companion as they can actually make you feel better, apart from making you feel understood.
We hope this article made you discover sad K-pop songs you can connect with!
If you want another post that’ll help you lift your spirit, you might also like: Korean Sayings – 20 Beautiful Proverbs That Will Inspire You Today
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!