K-pop may be Korean, but like all genres of music, it often draws inspiration from other styles and cultures. Notably, the consistent success of Latin-influenced K-pop songs, from sultry tango numbers to lit dance tracks, points to how beautifully these two genres fit together. From the multitude of K-pop songs that are influenced by Latin rhythms, melodies, instruments, and sometimes even lyrics, we’ve gathered together a list of some of our favorites. We hope you enjoy!
1. “Lo Siento” — Super Junior
Super Junior’s recent collaboration with pop singer Leslie Grace is a prime example of a Latin-infused K-pop track, from its infectious dance beat to its Spanish lyrics. It’s also not the first time SuJu has experimented with the genre, as their 2014 release “Mamacita” also had a distinctive Spanish flavor.
2. “O Sole Mio” — SF9
You can tell that “O Sole Mio,” which translates to “My Sunshine,” has a Latin flair from its opening guitar riffs, which underlay the song’s chorus in a delicate way that is simply magnetic.
3. “I (Knew It)” — SONAMOO
SONAMOO’s 2017 release “I (Knew It)” is driven by a Spanish guitar and rhythmic elements that give it a Flamenco vibe. The choreography also features Flamenco steps, making for a dramatic dance that is worth a watch!
4. “Mona Lisa” — MBLAQ
This 2011 hit is distinctive and exciting from its very first notes, and MBLAQ delivers this pulsing tango track with some tango-inspired choreo. “Mona Lisa” is a K-pop classic, so if you haven’t heard it then take a listen!
5. “Oh NaNa” — KARD
You may have been expecting KARD’s official debut single “Hola Hola,” but we’re throwing it back to their first release, “Oh NaNa.” In fact, KARD has drawn inspiration from Latin dance music for many of their singles, cultivating a trademark sound that suits them well. The group has become so well-known for this style that it’s no surprise that Super Junior has featured the ladies of KARD in their current promotions of “Lo Siento.”
6. “I Wish” — FTISLAND
“I Wish” is a unique hybrid of genres: it features playful Spanish guitar riffs and melodies on its verses but, true to FTISLAND’s roots, bursts into a rock tune for the chorus. This blend makes it a truly one-of-a-kind track that you definitely don’t want to miss!
IU goes for a Latin jazz vibe with this playfully swingy tune featuring Brown Eyed Girls member Ga In. Slightly breathy and upbeat, it’s a fun song that showcases both singers’ versatility.
8. “Shall We Dance” — Block B
With heavy Latin beats that you’ll feel in your body, this Block B track lives up to its name: it’s hard to sit still while you’re listening! You’ll want to dance along for sure, especially once you watch the subtly tango-influenced choreography.
9. “Me Like Yuh” — Jay Park
Jay Park experiments with Latin dance beats for “Me Like Yuh,” and the result is a refreshing and catchy bop with his signature sexy vibe! Check out the English version:
10. “Daydream” — Gyuri
Former KARA member Gyuri lived up to her goddess image when she released this tango number back in 2012: it’s as dramatic as it is sexy!
11. “La Song” — Rain
Much like “Shall We Dance,” Rain’s “La Song” is one of those songs that you feel rather than listen to. It’s a sweltering Latin-infused dance track that is complete with a trombone, resonant beat, and even a riffing electric guitar during the bridge.
12. “Esperando” — Ga In
Every track on “Step 2/4,” Ga In’s debut EP as a solo artist, is heavily influenced by sultry tango music. And while “Irreversible” was the main single off the EP, there’s something so perfect in the way Ga In’s alluring voice fits with the tango notes of “Esperando”:
13. “Island” — WINNER
In the same vein as KARD, WINNER’s recent music is of the tropical house genre, although with their own individual flair. “Island” is a breezy dance bop that will transport you to sunny, tropical days!
This list is by no means exhaustive, so be sure to let us know what your favorite Latin-infused K-pop songs are in the comments!
hgordon stays up way too late on weeknights marathoning K-dramas and trying to keep up with the latest K-pop releases.