From dramas that feature plucky heroines to friends cheering each other on with shouts of “Fighting!” Korean culture displays a refreshing belief in people, passions, and the future. So, whether it’s school, work, dating, or just life in general that’s got you discouraged, here are 15 Korean songs that are sure to encourage you!
With the prevalence of social media, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and feel like you’re not enough. But in “My Pace,” the relatable and down-to-earth members of Stray Kids remind us that it’s okay to go at your own pace in the race of life. Released in 2018, this song is sure to make you feel better and like you can run a little longer.
“It’s Okay” – BTOB
Sometimes you just need seven handsome men with voices like melted butter to tell you everything’s going to be okay. That’s exactly what BTOB’s “It’s Okay” delivers. Released in 2015, this R&B ballad has relatable lyrics and falsetto that will lift you up and help you feel whole again.
“We” – PRISTIN
Moving toward your goals and dreams can be hard, especially when it feels like every day is the same with no end in sight. But PRISTIN’s song “We,” released in 2016, is a reminder that friends and family who believe in you are your biggest strength on life’s journey. The refreshing melody and uplifting message will have you cheering along in no time!
“Ocean of Light” – Nell
Released in the summer of 2013, Nell’s “Ocean of Light” is an ethereal rock song that will transport you to another world for a few minutes, free from the stress and anxiety of everyday life. Gorgeous lyrics and instrumentals top this song off and make it a perfect way to relax and release your fears.
“Hello to Myself” – Yeeun (HA:TFELT)
This honest pop ballad was written and sung by Yeeun as part of “”Dream High 2.” Released in 2012, the song encourages listeners to look to the future and the past as a way to rediscover your hope and passion and keep pushing on when times get tough.
“Wings” is a catchy song from 2012 that’s dedicated to anyone who’s ever been beaten, stepped on, or broken, but is too stubborn to stay down. A driving beat and anthemic chorus will help you get back on your feet and tenaciously fight back against discouragement.
“Flying Butterfly” – YB
Released in 2006, “Flying Butterfly” is a classic song that will give you goosebumps and raise your vision of who you can become. Yoon Do Hyun has a husky voice to rival the best rockers, and when combined with the soaring, upbeat melody, it will make you want to fly!
“Someday” – U-KISS
U-KISS’s “Someday” is the kind of song you can depend on to lift your spirits after failing a test, not getting that dream job, or any other disappointments. Released in 2011, this ballad with strong piano and heart reminds us that life is about learning and growing. It’s okay to make mistakes — a comforting thought during tough days.
“Dream Girls” – I.O.I
I.O.I’s 2016 debut song “Dream Girls” highlights what everyone loved about the show that created the group — the feisty, infectious spirit of seeing someone chase their dreams. This catchy bubble-gum pop song will lift your spirits and cheer you on towards your own future.
“The Unwritten Legend” – Shin Seung Hun
Another Korean classic that’s guaranteed to help you through a bad day! Originally sung by Shin Seung Hun and released in 2000, the soulful lyrics of this song ask penetrating questions and invite listeners to think about their own dreams and aspirations. Then the chorus gives encouragement to strive towards your goals and break through the mud into the sun. Watch Son Seung Yeon’s amazing cover on “Immortal Songs 2” below!
“I” – Taeyeon ft. Verbal Jint
“I,” released in 2015, is the perfect song to help you rediscover wonder and adventure in life on days when you’re having trouble feeling it. Taeyeon’s strong vocals combined with the truth Verbal Jint drops in his raps make this a refreshing and powerful song to lift your spirits.
“Fear” – Song Mino ft. Taeyang
Sometimes fear is what holds you back from achieving your dreams. Other times, fear is the driving force that helps you get up and keep pushing. Either way, this song from 2015 is powerful, relatable, and perfect to listen to on those days you feel like giving up.
“A Goose’s Dream” – Insooni
Who doesn’t love singing the soaring chorus of Insooni’s “A Goose’s Dream” at the top of their lungs when they’re feeling low? This classic ballad, released in 2007, is perfect if you need a good cry to cleanse your soul. The chorus lifts you back up to believe in your hopes and dreams again.
“Fly” – Jessica ft. Fabolous
Released in 2016, Jessica’s “Fly” was her first solo single after parting ways with Girls’ Generation. This song’s light and uplifting melody and lyrics remind listeners that you can reach for your dreams, no matter what struggles or obstacles may stand in your way. Available in both a Korean version and an English version (score!), this song will fill you with the energy to keep trying.
“Not Today” – BTS
BTS’s “Not Today,” released in February 2017, is the ultimate song to keep you hustling and fighting. This powerful pop song has a killer brass beat and strong lyrics that will invigorate you in the fight to keep discouragement from dragging you down.
Hey Soompiers! What are your go-to K-pop songs when you feel down? Be sure to share them in the comments, and check out the playlist of 15 songs below!
When erinunnie isn’t working or going to school, she enjoys writing, reading, playing the piano, singing, and (of course) listening to K-pop and watching K-dramas. Connect with Erin on Twitter to keep up with her latest obsessions!
Currently watching: “Hwayugi,” “The Return of Superman,” “I Hear Your Voice”
All-time favorite dramas: “Boys Over Flowers,” “The Great Doctor”