14 Angsty K-Pop Songs That Are A 2020 Vibe

2020 has been a year full of difficulties, and with the COVID-19 pandemic especially, we’ve been navigating feelings of uncertainty, the loneliness of quarantine, and the strange sense that time seems to be moving both fast and slow simultaneously. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that there have been a string of K-pop releases that hit the angsty, existential vibe that has come to mark 2020: a subtle angst of waiting, wondering, and hoping. There’s something comforting about listening to these quietly angsty songs, as if the artists are understanding and soothing your emotions. So sit back and let these 14 tracks put you in your angsty feels!

1. “Can’t You See Me” — TXT

TXT shows their angsty side with the existential “Can’t You See Me,” in which they tackle the isolating feeling that those to whom they are closest no longer understand them, as if they’re not being seen. This track only resonates more strongly in a year in which it’s been more difficult to literally see people (in person) than ever. The haunting whistle in the song’s background is the icing on this tune, and its dark, thought-provoking music video is the cherry (or should we say “strawberry”) on top.

2. “Howling” — VICTON

Few songs feel as 2020 as the angsty yet hopeful “Howling,” and VICTON’s calling out to a lost love feels a lot like us calling out for connection, understanding, and a return to normalcy this year. Just like the members of VICTON, it seems like we’re all doing a little big of “howling” these days!

3. “Lovesick Girls” — BLACKPINK

Nothing says “angst” like the chorus of “we were born to be alone” in this record-breaking BLACKPINK hit! These ladies revel in their romantic woes, knowing that love only brings them unhappiness but continuing to chase after it anyway. The sentiment of making peace with our solitude while still searching for connection resonates strongly with us this year!

4. “Daisy” — PENTAGON

This PENTAGON hit is about getting burned by love, but it channels a kind of frustrated angst that we’re all feeling at this point in 2020. The rock-infused track gave PENTAGON their first music show win, and it’s easy to see why: despite its angst, “Daisy” is healing to listen to, as if the guys understand exactly how we feel.

5. “2 KIDS” — SHINee’s Taemin

What is quarantine for, if not reminiscing about past romances? Taemin’s gorgeous “2 KIDS” is permeated by the nostalgic angst of looking back on a youthful past love. It also manages to be uplifting, with the realization that there is beauty in even a romance that has ended. The music video also features perhaps the most angst-ridden choreography on this list, which Taemin of course performs in absolutely stunning style.

6. “Numb” — Jessi

There’s something especially empowering about a strong woman like Jessi putting her more painful emotions into song; it makes us realize that it’s okay to feel vulnerable. In “Numb,” Jessi sings of a relationship that is draining her emotionally, but we can’t help but empathize in a year that has been continuously draining for everyone.

7. “NOT BY THE MOON” — GOT7

It’s been a year of inconsistency and unpredictability, which makes GOT7’s “NOT BY THE MOON” a 2020 vibe through and through. The track explores a line from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to explore the angst of uncertainty in romance: “O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circle orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.”

8. “Run away” — WINNER’s Song Mino

Mino gets real and raw in his recent solo release, a powerful song about running away from a romance before it only leads to more hurt. “Run away” conveys a sense of both emptiness and explosive emotion, a combination that is deeply personal to Mino but that also hits just right this year.

9. “BOCA” — DreamCatcher

“BOCA” is angsty in a distinctively DreamCatcher style, as the girls demand to know “where is the love” — a question that seems particularly relevant to this tough year. “Boca” means “mouth” in Spanish, and the lyrics speak of closing the mouths of those who say hurtful words.

10. “Zombie” — DAY6

“Zombie” is both very broadly important and very 2020: it explores the sense of emptiness in living our repetitive daily lives, a feeling that has only become more magnified in this year of quarantining. There are too many subtle emotions to count in this song, but the way DAY6 melts these angsts and sorrows together is breathtaking.

11. “INCEPTION” — ATEEZ

Life sometimes feels as surreal as a dream these days, so it’s no surprise that ATEEZ’s “INCEPTION” resonates so strongly with us: the song is about being lost in a never-ending dream, wandering and searching for someone. It’s a powerful angst that we totally feel this year!

12. “BORDERLINE” — Sunmi

Sunmi addresses mental health directly in this English-language song, which offers a window into her personal struggles. She’s gotten used to acting like she’s okay even when she’s not; and the song serves as a confession of her true feelings. It’s easy for many of us to feel like we’re struggling these days, and “BORDERLINE” comes as a reminder to be honest with ourselves about how we’re really doing.

13. “YOU CAN’T HOLD MY HEART” — MONSTA X

With its clock-like ticking beat, its sense of hollowness, and its raw vocals, this English-language MONSTA X track perfectly captures the angst of 2020. The music video only heightens this effect, as the boys are depicted in box-like rooms, stationary even when they’re moving, watching stoically as clouds of emotion billow out from their chests.

14. “HAPPENING” — AKMU

“HAPPENING” is just the kind of listlessness that we’re all feeling right about now. AKMU gorgeously conveys a sense of exhaustion in this post-breakup track, and ultimately also acceptance as the singers come to terms with their present — an emotional combination that many of us have felt over the past months!

Hey Soompiers, which of these songs is your 2020 angsty vibe? What other songs are a 2020 mood for you? Let us know 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.

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