One of my favorite bands, Hyukoh, recently released their new EP titled 24 along with a music video for their single “Love Ya!” While I was excited to be able to listen to new music by them, thinking about Hyukoh’s comeback brought up a pestering thought; South Korea has a diverse selection of sounds that tend to be overshadowed by the behemoth K-pop.
When people mention Korean music, it’s usually in regards to the genre K-pop. With extremely well known groups, like BTS, EXO, Big Bang, 2NE1, Red Velvet, Wanna One, and more, who are always in the spotlight, it’s no wonder that other genres and artists get overlooked. Don’t get me wrong, K-pop is great, but its impact really makes it difficult for other artists to thrive.
There are many instances where talented artists never get signed due to not meeting K-pop industry standards, when artists aren’t given a chance because their content doesn’t seem marketable, or when indie acts fade away after one or two hits. Unfortunately, it’s rare for unique and independent acts to garner commercial success. Popular, successful bands like Hyukoh are an anomaly.
It’s easy to forget that as with any culture, there is a large spectrum of genres and artists in Korean music too. That being said, with this playlist, I want to show off a few examples of the many hidden gems that demonstrate the vast talent, versatile styles, and unique voices that exist in Korean music. Take a listen to the songs below and experience it for yourself.