14 Days of KPOP: A Fangirl’s Take on K-rock

I love kpop in all its colorful, technological glory. The intense beats, the pretty idols, the video concepts — they speak to my fangirl heart.

On the other hand, I was a teenager in the 1990s, which means that sometimes I long for a good guitar solo or something a little less manufactured. So when I found some Korean rock bands, I was so, SO happy!

The first group I found (all on my own!) was YB, short for the Yoon Do Hyun Band. They carry a very U2 vibe, in my opinion, and I absolutely love their song Flying Butterfly (it was covered in The Liar and His Lover):

I came across SHINee’s The Reason, which does have a guitar solo thrown in! SHINee and guitars. Much love. Also, I really like the lyrics. YES, I listen to lyrics.

Next, thanks to a random discussion on Facebook, I encountered Miyavi. He’s a fun multicultural blend. Definitely has his own style:

Unni Jennie was kind enough to introduce me to the Royal Pirates and I was blown away:

Thanks to the OST for To The Beautiful You, I found J-Min:

There’s Nell too — LOVElovelove Dream Catcher:

And then not long ago, someone mentioned F.T. Island. Hallelujah! I love their sound.

So I’ve created my own k-rock YouTube playlist. It’s so short and sweet, y’all. Help a girl out and give me more suggestions?

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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16 thoughts on “14 Days of KPOP: A Fangirl’s Take on K-rock

  1. I was so excited to discover Royal Pirates but sad that they’re not that popular. And even sadder that they announced a hiatus/potential disbandment this year 🙁

    I’m a rock kinda gal too but when it comes to korean music, I’m definitely enjoying all the indie sounds of 10 cm and coffeeboy

    I wish there were bands like A.N.Jell from You’re Beautiful where they play their own instruments and have rock sounds…I guess CNBlue is close but they’re a little too pop sometimes

    • I’ll have to watch You’re Beautiful at some point so I know what you’re referring to!! And yeah, I’m mourning the loss of Royal Pirates too. Ah well.

      I’ll look into 10cm and coffeeboy!

  2. Miyavi is one of my favorites and I love NELL too. You could try One OK Rock they are Awesome. Their early stuff is pretty heavy metal but the last few years they’ve had a bit of a softer sound. My current favorite by them is When I was King but there are many others.

  3. Nell’s Newton’s Apple – both the song and the album – are my favorites. I think MYK (or SaltnPaper) would be considered “soft” rock but I love his work as well, especially his soundtrack works for Chicago Typewriter (Satellite) and Jealousy Incarnate (Bye, Autumn.) An even softer rock sound (okay, verging on ballads) is Zitten. Vocalist Seong Yong Uk is the only member of the group now but I think he was always the driving force anyway. “Try” from the Diaspora album is my go-to song for inspiration.

  4. Well, there are still very fiew mainstream bands but more than there were a couple of years ago. They also tend to play mostly melodic pop-rock, which is ok by me as I like that sound. 🙂 Suggestions… let’s see…

    CNBlue – Also from FNC like FTIsland. In the early days their songs had a very distinct divide; Korean songs were more ‘pop’ and Japanese more ‘rock’ but since they were finally allowed to produce their own music, that divide has blurred. CNB also likes to experiment, so their albums tend to differ in sound. Look for their live concert perfs, ‘course that’s when CNB is at their best.

    N.Flying – Another one from FNC. Didn’t really pay attention to them when they debuted but I really like their latest EP. Love ‘The Real’! It’s such a fun song and the MV is hilarious.

    DAY6 – Have yet to come across a song from them that I don’t like. Besides the album Sunrise, this year they’ve been releasing a song per month and the last 3 have MV’s that tell a story. Waiting to see if it’ll continue next month.^^

    Drug Restaurant – Fronted by Jung Joon Young, one of the Superstar K4 2012 finalists. Lad’s got a great voice and he did start our as a solo act.

    Boohwal – One of the Legends, they’ve been around since 80’s and still going strong. I’ve listened some of their classics, like 사랑할수록, so many times I can now sing along, LOL!

    Mate had some great songs too but they haven’t put out any new music since 2015 so I think they’ve disbanded.

    Then there’s of course Korean indie scene, which has tons of rock bands but you hardly ever hear of them.

    Ok, I’ll stop here. 😀

  5. Kim Jaejoong also covered YG’s Flying Butterfly while in the military, and even taught the lyrics to the audience. https://youtu.be/xz9BDWpfrB0 He’s quite the rocker, when he’s not crooning ballads. My six-year-old grandson’s favorite in Just Another Girl. He loves the amazing drums and base, lol, and sings along at the top of his voice. Just the kind of reaction good rock should evoke. https://youtu.be/iVHmIpUpBxI

  6. K-Rock is a genre I really haven’t listened to outside of Royal Pirates (only heard a couple songs) and FT Island. I really liked the Nell and Miyavi songs on this list!! I’ll have to check some of their other music out. Thanks for writing this!! 🙂

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