11 K-Pop Songs That Have Nothing To Do With Romance

Let’s face it, there is no shortage of love songs in K-pop, which appears to be the most common theme, especially in title tracks. Fortunately for those sick of hearing about romance at every turn, many acts have also taken on a whole world (and we mean a whole world) of different topics.

From heartfelt, relatable themes like mental health and growing up, to oddly specific, unconventional lyrics about serving up the most epic food in the world, big butts, and everything in between, here are 11 of our favorite K-Pop songs that have absolutely nothing to do with romance (or each other, really).

1. SEVENTEEN – “HIT”

A fierce battle cry, SEVENTEEN assert themselves as the top of the top in their energetic 2019 single “HIT.” Paired with one of the boyband’s most intricate, challenging choreographies to date, this song packs a massive punch both sonically and visually! “We’re so hot, super high,” they declare on its refrain. Yes, yes you are.

2. Brave Girls – “Thank You”

There is so much more to love than romance, and Brave Girls took the chance to express their gratitude for their fans in this groovy, retro-tinged number. While every bit of “Thank You” reads as an upbeat party track, a closer look at the lyrics reveals the members’ deepest thanks to their fans for helping “drive” them to heaven, no doubt an ode to their supporters who quite literally saved the group from disbandment back in 2021.

3. IU – “BBIBBI”

IU playfully, yet firmly draws her boundaries in this tongue-in-cheek track, poking fun at naysayers and gossip-mongers as she urges them to back off. In light, dulcet tones, the singer hands out a metaphorical yellow card, warning them not to cross the line. As a star that grew up under the spotlight, IU calmly reasserts herself through the immaculate “BBIBBI,” boldly declaring that her life, identity and actions are not up for public debate.

4. Red Velvet – “Good, Bad, Ugly”

In this brand-new Red Velvet b-side, they sing of taking things one day at a time, a gentle, R&B-tinged reminder that life is just like a box of chocolates. Whether good, bad or ugly, the girls encourage us to savor every little bittersweet moment – since we’re already here, might as well stay for the ride, right?

5. Stray Kids – “God’s Menu”

Yes, we know Stray Kids’ “God’s Menu” is not about literal food. Still, it’s fun to envision the boyband running the most epic, otherworldly restaurant in the universe, and singing this song as they cook up a storm in the kitchen. Without a doubt one of their best title tracks, Stray Kids liken their craft as musicians and performers to that of a Michelin chef in this iconic bop, confidently promising to satisfy your five senses with what they serve up on stage. (But also, imagine it just being about some really, really good soup.)

6. Taeyeon – “Weekend”

Taeyeon promises that it’s okay to be a little selfish during the “Weekend,” a time meant for relaxation and indulgence. Backdropped by a chirpy, disco-tinged instrumental, the idol tells us to forget the worries of life for the weekend and spend your time however you desire – whether that’s sleeping in, going for a drive by the beach, or visiting a coffee shop.

7. PENTAGON – “Genius”

Everyone is a genius, says PENTAGON in this uplifting pop-ballad. Penned by members Hui, Shinwon, Yuto, Kino and Wooseok, the boyband sings that having fears and worries don’t make you any weaker as a person, and to go at life at your own pace. The bridge also includes tear-jerking verses and voice memos from the members’ fathers as they cheer their sons on to go forth and pursue their dreams with confidence and resolve.

8. BTS – “Dis-ease (병)”

Arguably one of BTS’ best b-sides of all time, the boy band quell the universal anxieties of living in a pandemic-stricken world by sharing their own worries and fears. “Is the world sick, or am I sick?” they ask repeatedly, reminding us that even the planet’s biggest stars feel the same uneasiness and fatigue the rest of us do. Sometimes, just knowing that you aren’t alone in your struggle can make a whole world of difference.

9. Billlie – “GingaMingaYo (the strange world)”

Hopping back to a lighter note, Billlie questions the mind-boggling period of growing up where you’re no longer a kid, yet not quite an adult. Between its powerful rap verses and playful, singalong chorus, the free-spirited new girl group takes listeners through a flurry of emotions, from excitement and curiosity to fear and confusion. “Can’t complain,” they conclude, shrugging off their doubts and embracing this strange new world.

10. EVERGLOW – “Pirate”

Many of EVERGLOW’s songs center around female empowerment, but their late 2021 “Pirate” paints some of the richest imagery. The daring girl group take charge in this pulsating, EDM-heavy dance track, calling on girls all over the world to get on board as they sail towards a paradise where they can be anything they want.

11. Solar – “Big Booty”

Ending off on a fun, cheeky note is MAMAMOO’s Solar, with her audacious new b-side “Big Booty.” Birthed from the vocalist’s own desire for voluptuous glutes of her own, this laidback, jazzy number is about, well, exactly what the title says. Not one to color inside the lines (then again, who in MAMAMOO is?), she declares her love for big butts, running wild with lyrics like “It’s so smooth, it’s chewy, I don’t know how to explain it.Oh Solar, please never change.

What other non-romantic K-pop songs would you recommend? Tell us in the comments below!

Gladys Yeo is a longtime K-entertainment fan and university student majoring in Media and Asian Studies. Outside of school and writing, she can be found listening to K-pop girl groups, attempting cool new pole tricks, watching anime, or trying (and failing) to control her two pet corgis. Feel free to hit her up on Instagram to chat about dramas, music, and life!

Currently Addicted To: “Twenty Five, Twenty One,” Red Velvet’s new mini-album and “GingaMingaYo” by Billlie
Looking Forward To: Dreamcatcher’s comeback

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