15 Korean Ballads To Warm Your Heart This Winter
As the nights grow colder and longer toward the end of the year, it’s easy to feel lonely, depressed, and tired. And with most of us having already endured months of quarantine and other pandemic-related changes in our lives, many may find this winter particularly tough. So to try to make this season a bit more bearable, below are some soothing Korean ballads that I hope will help comfort and warm your heart this winter, no matter what may lie ahead in the coming days.
Park Ji Yoon – “Winter”
“Winter” paints a stark monochrome landscape, stilled by snow and ice, through both the visual imagery of the MV and its sparse instrumentation. Melancholic trumpet sounds and soft vocalizations are especially nice additions in the second half of the track, deepening its sense of warmth and pensiveness as they shine forth like gentle rays of sun on a chilly winter day.
Yang Da Il – “Darling”
If this one doesn’t melt your heart this winter, then I don’t know what will. “Darling” features a simple piano line alongside Yang Da Il’s full vocals, as well as heartfelt lyrics that feel like a handwritten love letter. The song becomes even more touching when accompanied by the MV, which tells a sweet but sad story of love and loss.
Crush – “Alone”
As always, Crush’s voice is smooth as honey in this soulful ballad that was written to help comfort those who feel alone in the darkness, in a world full of sadness. Though it was undoubtedly a heartwarming listen last winter before the global pandemic hit, “Alone” is exceptionally soul-stirring this time around, striking just the right chord given these difficult times.
Ji Jinseok – “Here”
This captivating ballad uses minimal instrumentation in favor of letting Ji Jinseok’s powerful, clear vocals take center stage. The way he belts the chorus gives this song an added raw vibe, making “Here” all the more gorgeous and moving.
Lee Sora – “Winter, Farewell”
“Winter, Farewell” is a hauntingly beautiful song that possesses a divinity that’s hard to describe, particularly when Lee Sora hits those ethereal high notes. Her dulcet tones blend so wonderfully with the gentle sounds of the piano and the acoustic guitar and give this song a lovely emotional depth.
EXO – “Universe”
“Universe” is a true masterpiece, carrying with it a warmth like that of a steaming cup of coffee on a dark, cold winter night. Though it starts off quiet and restrained, the song soars like a shooting star during the chorus, letting the members’ vocals shine as they pour out their emotions.
Shin Yong Jae & f(x)’s Luna – “It’s You”
“It’s You” is sweeter than a plate of Christmas cookies, and it’s the perfect song to curl up in a blanket and fall asleep to. The melody is light, the vocals are delicate and dreamy, the lyrics are filled with love, and to top it all off, the MV is cute as can be!
Ailee – “I Will Go to You Like the First Snow”
Needless to say, “I Will Go to You Like the First Snow” is a must for any winter playlist. Though the original version is phenomenal as it is, be sure to also check out the duet rendition Queen Ailee did on “Fantastic Duo 2” (shown below), as it takes this song to new heights.
Park Hyo Shin – “Sound of Winter”
“Sound of Winter” is a heavenly song that’s like a crisp and refreshing winter breeze on a calm sunny day. As the track takes flight during the chorus, one can’t help but feel a quiet peace begin to settle in, thanks to the splendid melodic piano accompaniment and the tender vulnerability that fills Park Hyo Shin’s voice.
Kevin Oh – “Anytime, Anywhere”
“Anytime, Anywhere” is a song that overflows with nostalgia for days gone by and those who are far away, conjuring up images of family and friends, childhood memories, and home. With its soulful piano chords and heartwarming lyrics, this track offers a sense of comfort and familiarity amidst all the chaos and uncertainty of this year.
Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung – “Winter Breath”
“Winter Breath” is a mellow track made up of faded happiness and dreams still yet to be fully realized. Though Sooyoung’s vocals remain relatively soft throughout, the song in no way lacks emotion, listening like an entry from her diary while opening a window into some of her innermost feelings.
Park Won – “Try”
Sweeping orchestral lines and sentimental piano chords accompany Park Won’s rich, raspy voice in this heart-wrenching track about falling out of love. Fair warning, “Try” is likely to hit you right in the feels and may lead to tears, but hey, sometimes a cathartic cry is just what one needs.
Between the meaningful lyrics and Hyuk’s impassioned delivery, it’s hard not to feel touched by this beautiful song. “A Long Night” is exceptionally moving during the first chorus, in which Hyuk begins by powerfully singing with all his heart. He drops back down to a near whisper as he continues on to the refrain, singing, “I hope the night isn’t painful for you,” almost as if repeating a prayer.
Lyn – “Back in Time”
We’ve all been there, wishing we could travel back in time as we think about precious memories of people we once held dear. Lyn perfectly captures this feeling in “Back in Time,” whose lyrics of yearning for what once was and wistful melody make it a really moving listen.
DAY6 – “I’ll Try”
“I’ll Try” is a sublime rock ballad that maintains a certain soft tenderness from beginning to end while still brimming with emotion. The a capella portion is especially breathtaking, the members’ voices layering flawlessly to produce spellbinding harmonies that are sure to give you goosebumps.
What are some of your favorite winter ballads? Let us know in the comments below!
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).