Let’s face it—not everyone is willing to get into K-pop because you can’t understand most of the lyrics. Even if it offers breathtaking visuals, unique album concepts, and catchy melodies, some people still have second thoughts about the industry.
Thanks to songs like BTS’ Dynamite and Butter, K-pop has now expanded into the global scene. Many groups are willing to put in more effort to release songs that can reach out to a wider audience and attract more fans.
So, if you’re still having second thoughts, here’s a list of English songs by K-pop icons that deserve your attention.
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Bet You Wanna by BLACKPINK and Cardi B
Bet You Wanna is a song about lighting up your lover’s fire. This upbeat track shows off BLACKPINK’s powerful vocals at its best, and Cardi spices up its saucy production. Who can forget the iconic Tiktok video that showed an accurate representation of how they would sing this song?
Nobody (English ver.) by Wonder Girls
Ah, a classic song that gave birth to K-pop’s international recognition. Nobody is a song that launched Wonder Girls to superstardom, and it was released in Korean, English, Japanese, and Mandarin. It’s a retro-inspired track that takes inspiration from Motown’s Detroit era.
Lips on Lips by Tiffany Young
Lips on Lips is a track that embodies Tiffany Young perfectly. It’s a song that you want to listen to when you’re feeling romantic—whether you’re in a relationship or single. Even if Tiffany is primarily known as a member of Girls’ Generation, she has cemented her identity as a soloist with this one.
I Just Wanna by f(x)’s Amber and Eric Nam
This song is a stark contrast to Amber’s tough image. She’s usually known for her rap skills, but I Just Wanna shows that she can hold her own as a singer. Fun fact: This song is a remake of Goodbye Summer that’s sung by f(x)’s Krystal and Luna, with EXO’s Kyungsoo.
Wish You Were Here by CL
It feels nostalgic to listen to “The Baddest Female” CL now since it reminds us of her commanding stage presence in her 2NE1 days. Wish You Were Here, however, is a welcome change from her fiery voice. It’s a track that dives into CL’s personal side where she talks about her longing for someone who’s no longer in her life.
Written in the Stars by Red Velvet’s Wendy and John Legend
Not every K-pop stan knows that Red Velvet’s Wendy collaborated with the John Legend. And it’s sad since this song deserves a lot of attention. This track is pleasant to listen to if you want a break from upbeat and dance-pop songs. Of course, you wouldn’t be disappointed by the beauty of Wendy and John’s eargasmic voices.
Bad Boy by Chungha and Christopher
Chungha is not being dramatic, but she's looking for someone who doesn’t “waste her time.” At least, that’s what she crooned in Bad Boy. The track’s addictive melody showcases how Chungha and Christopher’s voices come in harmony. While it’s not new for K-pop artists to collaborate with international singers, this might be one of our favorites so far.
Monster (English ver.) by Henry
It’s unhealthy to wait around for someone who will not come around for you. Henry talks about his desperation to not be a “monster” for a lover with this heartwrenching track. This alternative R&B song features mournful lyrics that talk about someone who’s struggling to fix a broken relationship. It ends on a hopeful note though, with Henry singing about “wanting to fix my life.”
The Boys (English ver.) by Girls’ Generation
If you’re a fan of second-gen K-pop groups, you can agree that this song was a cultural reset. The Boys (English ver.) was Girls’ Generation’s entrance into the Western music scene, which showed off their undeniable chemistry and powerful vocals. It’s a display of girl power where the group talks about their determination to “make history.”
Gone by Rosé
How does it feel to leave someone “dead and gone?” For Rosé, it’s a “sad and true” story. Gone is Rosé’s first original solo release that captures her soulful voice at its best. It’s a vulnerable song that (perhaps) shows the singer’s personal thoughts about heartbreak. It’s a relatable track that cuts deep, especially if you went through a painful breakup.
2nd THOTS by Jay Park
Jay Park is known for his sensual songs with explicit lyrics. 2nd THOTS is no different. Despite its steamy melody, it actually talks about the soloist’s second thoughts about a girl who’s not being real.