13 Jazzy, Soulful K-Pop Covers For A Chill, Relaxed Evening

While it’s always exciting when an artist releases a new original song, sometimes hearing a singer’s rendition of someone else’s hit track is just as great. Lately, I’ve found myself especially enjoying covers that add a jazzy twist while injecting a healthy dose of soulfulness throughout. Such covers not only give a delectable new flavor to already wonderful songs, but they also are great for winding down at the end of the day. Read on to see some jazzified K-pop covers that I hope will impress you as much as they did me.

By the way, although the majority of the covers below are by professional singers you’ve probably heard of, I couldn’t help but include a handful of noteworthy covers by non-celebrities as well.

BLACKPINK – “DDU-DU DDU-DU” (Cover by Kwon Jin Ah)

BLACKPINK who? Just kidding. Kwon Jin Ah does a phenomenal job of transforming “DDU-DU DDU-DU” into her own song here though, taking things in a drastically different direction from that of the original. And don’t even get me started on her chill-inducing high notes toward the end.

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Zico – “Any Song” (Cover by Modern Times)

The original version of “Any Song” is great, but this bossa nova version might be even better. I just can’t get enough of the wonderful color of the singer’s voice. The instrumentation is lovely too. Also, if you like this cover, then you absolutely must listen to some of Modern Times’s other covers, which are all equally as pleasant and jazzy.

BTS – “Black Swan” (Cover by BUDY)

This is one jazzy bop. Although the re-arrangement is still clearly “Black Swan” at its core, the vibes are vastly different. While the original version is perfectly complemented by BTS’ sharp dance moves in the MV, BUDY’s jazz soul version would be better accompanied by a glass of wine or whiskey.

G-Dragon – “That XX” (Cover by JeA of Brown Eyed Girls)

“That XX” was my jam back in the day, but there’s something about JeA’s rendition of this track that makes it hit different. Very different. I mean, how can one listen to her powerful, soulful vocals and not feel some type of way? Talk about blessing one’s ears.

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Crush – “Sofa” (Cover by Ji Jinseok)

Ji Jinseok’s voice always makes me melt, but his cover of “Sofa” is particularly moving. Aside from the amazing vocals, there’s also something about the jazzy additions to the instrumentation, such as the warm bass line and the soft swishing sound of brushes on the drum set, that makes this already touching song feel all the more soul-stirring.

Wanna One – “Energetic” (Cover by Paul Kim)

As a big fan of the original song, as well as Hui of PENTAGON (who co-composed “Energetic”), I wasn’t sure whether this version would live up to my expectations. After all, while there’s no denying that he’s a great singer, Paul Kim is best known for singing romantic ballads, not high-energy idol songs. Paul Kim nailed it here, though, with his funky rendition that feels familiar but fresh.

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WJSN – “Save Me, Save You” (Cover by Sera Ryu)

Is it just me or is it hard to not want to dance along with Sera while watching this video? Her euphonious voice and bright smile are both sweet as can be. The swing-style re-arrangement is also really fun and light, giving “Save Me, Save You” a little more shimmer than it had originally (props to Ryuseralover).

Busker Busker – “Cherry Blossom Ending” (Cover by Shin Yu Mi & Cho Eun Hwa)

I didn’t know I needed a jazz version of this legendary springtime song until now. The piano line is oh so smooth, making this cover sound a touch lighter and breezier than the original. Then there’s the vocalist, who really shows off her stuff in the second half — particularly as she throws in some scatting, from which she seamlessly transitions to the chorus.

EXO – “Tempo” (Cover by OFF DUTY)

If you’ve ever wished for a lullaby version of “Tempo,” then you’re in luck because here it is. Individually, the singers’ voices are pleasing to the ear, but together they really shine as they create a mellower, slightly jazzier version of the original track. I definitely felt some goosebumps forming during the second half when they started harmonizing.

Crush – “Fall” (Cover by Ji Hoon of KNK)

Although this cover doesn’t change up the original instrumental at all, I thought it deserved to be included here — as an honorable mention of sorts — because it’s so calming and groovy all the same. Besides, Ji Hoon’s soft, gentle tone does give “Fall” a slightly different vibe from the original. Dare I say it, this version sounds slightly more romantic and sweet than Crush’s.

BLACKPINK – “Playing With Fire” (Cover by A.C.E & AG Band)

Not gonna lie, I like this version better than the original. It’s clear that the boys are feeling themselves here, and everything from their vocals to their expressions and gestures is on point. No shade to BLACKPINK, of course, but boy do A.C.E make “Playing With Fire” feel like it could be their own song and not just a cover.

Heize – “Jenga” (Cover by Classy Dominant)

I’m pretty sure that just about any Heize song can be played in a jazz style and sound fantastic, so it’s no surprise that this jazzy version of “Jenga” is very enjoyable. I particularly love the piano and guitar solos leading up to the final repeat of the chorus. And while I wasn’t that impressed by the vocalist initially, the more I listen to this cover, the more I appreciate his tone and find it to be a perfect fit for this rendition after all.

BTS – “Blood Sweat & Tears” (Cover by Young Ji of Bubble Sisters)

In spite of (or perhaps because of) having listened to “Blood Sweat & Tears” literally hundreds of times, never could I have imagined it sounding so incredibly soulful and rich. Young Ji may as well have created a brand new song with this rendition, which continuously builds from start to finish, showcasing Young Ji’s awe-inspiring power vocals all along the way.

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Which soulful K-pop covers do you recommend?

seheee is a software engineer by day and an avid K-pop concert goer by night. She also occasionally makes an appearance on Twitter (@_seheee).

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