10 essential K-pop Christmas songs for your holiday playlist

Christmas might not be as big a holiday in South Korea as it is in other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of festive K-pop cuts to get you in the mood for Yuletide.

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Over the years, artists have given us everything – their take on traditional Christmas sonics, snow-capped ballads to bawl your eyes out to when you’ve had one festive glass too many and Christmas reimagined through a very K-pop lens.

As the big day approaches, here are some of the essential K-pop Christmas songs to put on your playlist.

Here are the best K-pop Christmas songs for your holiday playlist:

Honourable mentions:

APRIL – ‘Snowman’
ASTRO – ‘Merry-Go-Round (Christmas Edition)’
BoA – ‘Christmas Paradise’
Orange Caramel & NU’EST – ‘Dashing Through The Snow In High Heels’
Red Velvet & aespa – ‘Beautiful Christmas’

B1A4 – ‘It’s Christmas Time’

On their 2015 wintry wonder, B1A4 matched classic elements of Christmas with festive pop culture references. “I don’t want to see you today, Kevin,” they sang in one verse. “I don’t want to be alone at home.” The wholesomeness continued in the soaring chorus, as they shared: “Everyone’s friends on Christmas right / I just wanna be a good friend.” A very sweet song that’s notable for an actually good Christmas-themed rap verse, too.

EXO – ‘The First Snow’

No K-pop Christmas list would be complete without this contribution from EXO, one of the scene’s perennial Yuletide songs. Its gently glistening pop sound is timeless, which likely plays a part in its ability to have a resurgence almost every year. Don’t be fooled by the fact ‘First Snow’ is currently enjoying being the focus of a TikTok dance trend, though – this is no joyous ode to Christmas, but a regret-filled lament ready to get you in your feels.

f(x) – ‘12시 25 분 (Wish List)’

Released as part of SM Entertainment’s ‘Winter Garden’ Christmas project, f(x)’s ‘12시 25 분(Wish List)’ gave us a true festive banger. Over a pulsating beat and twinkling melodies, the girl group compared another to “the gift I’ve always waited for”, thankful for having the one item on their wish list ticked off as they took us to the heart of the dancefloor.

Girls’ Generation-TTS – ‘Dear Santa’

Three of Girls’ Generation’s richest voices combined on this shape-shifting Xmas track, with Taeyeon, Tiffany and Seohyun jumping from melancholy R&B to a jaunty, jazz piano-tinged sleigh ride. Lyrically, it’s a plea to Saint Nick to skip the material goods and give the present of spending Christmas with a loved one that concludes in heavenly harmonies and enough festive cheer to melt the deepest of snow drifts.

Hwasa – ‘Grey Christmas’

On ‘Grey Christmas’ – a track released as an OST for the MAMAMOO singer’s TV programme Hwasa Show – Hwasa makes Christmas cool. There are no jingle bells here, no feeling like a bearded man in a red suit is lurking around the corner. Instead, this heart-aching offering opts for a minimal, soulful approach that allows Hwasa to go full Ariana with her soft-but-powerful vocals.

Jamie – ‘5 Christmas Languages’

Solo star Jamie used her take on the K-pop Christmas song to highlight one of the best parts of the holiday – spending it with someone you love, not having to worry about anything other than making the most of your time together. Its heartfelt message and Jamie’s powerhouse vocals make it an infectious listen and easily one of the best K-pop Christmas songs yet.

LOONA – ‘The Carol’

There are now three versions of LOONA’s festive single ‘The Carol’ out in the world – the 2016 original recorded by members HeeJin, HyunJin and HaSeul, a 2017 follow-up by ViVi, Choerry and Yves, and this year’s ‘The Carol 3.0’ by ARTMS’ JinSoul, HaSeul, Kim Lip, HeeJin and Choerry. No matter which version you listen to, you’re in for a treat – a warm, cheerful release ready to get Christmas fans and Scrooges alike into the mood for December 25.

Stray Kids – ‘Christmas EveL’

If Santa divides his potential recipients into naughty and nice then, on ‘Christmas EveL’, Stray Kids fall into the former category. Instead of having their views brightened by the magic of the season, they bemoaned “people who stick to each other because it’s cold”, declaring: “I hate everyone.” At least one member swore to never cross over to the dark side, though, with Felix delivering the show-stealing lines: “Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad / I can feel the evil coming, but Felix never bad.”

Taeyeon – ‘This Christmas’

It wasn’t just with TTS that Taeyeon dabbled in Christmas music. In 2017, she released her own EP themed entirely around the holiday, ‘This Christmas’. The title track offered up a poetic, poised ballad that depicted a love story blossoming beneath the snowy December skies. “That night was so warm for some reason / Snowflakes fell on my cheeks,” Taeyeon sang tenderly. “And your lips lightly brushed against them / I still can’t forget.”

TWICE – ‘Merry & Happy’

For this 2017 addition to the K-pop Christmas canon – as featured on the repackage of their debut album – TWICE took a classic approach to getting in the festive spirit. Melodies evocative of the gentle fall of snowflakes intertwined with the soft shake of jingle bells as the girl group found the much-touted jolliness of the season in the comfort of a partner.

The post 10 essential K-pop Christmas songs for your holiday playlist appeared first on NME.

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