February Music Trends in Korea: Where Have the Idols Gone?

From “Let It Go” off the Frozen OST, Soyu and JunggiGo’s duet “Someto Park Wan Kyu’s single for the Empress Ki OST, “Wind Breeze,” music charts have recently begun to look richer in variety. The charts are flush with movie and drama OST tracks, indie band offerings, as well as releases from solo singer-songwriters. The February music charts so far feature a diversity of genres and musicians, leaving one wondering if the idol chart domination of music charts is a thing of the past?

“Let It Go” hit the charts shortly after the release of animated Disney movie Frozen, and has ranked highly on music charts since, along with other songs from the OST. The track is Elsa’s theme song in the movie and Idina Menzel’s original has attracted countless covers, a sign of the song’s staying power.

“Some”, a duet by project duo SISTAR’s Soyu and singer-songwriter JunggiGo, shot to number one as soon as it was released on February 7. JunggiGo has been known for his rich vocals since his indie days and his sensitive voice pairs well with Soyu’s clear vocals in this track.

Next up is actress Shim Eun Kyung’s “White Butterfly” off the “Miss Granny” film OST, in which she played the lead character. The song is a remake of Kim Jung Ho’s original. Shim Eun Kyung’s version reveals a maturity beyond her years and has continued its steady rise on the charts. Park Wan Kyu’s “Wind Breeze” for the OST of MBC Monday-Tuesday drama “Empress Ki” has been creeping slowly up the chart as well.

Originally part of the band Mate, now solo singer-songwriter Jung Joon Il released his second album, “I Missed You” earlier in February after being discharged from the military in October 2013. His title song “Confession” has stayed on the charts for three weeks. Seats for his solo concert last December sold out quickly and apparently scalpers were able to resell tickets for 1 million won (US$931). Indie band Cold Cherry gained recognition for their contribution to “The Heirs” OST, “Growing Pains.” Their new single “What Were We,” released on February 7, has been spreading rapidly by word of mouth.

Mainstream artists are, of course, ever present. Rain’s title track, “I Love You,” off his repackaged sixth album is at the top of the charts. Spica’s “You Don’t Love Me” is also doing pretty well. SISTAR’s Hyorin and Younha’s contributions to the SBS Wednesday-Thursday drama “Man from the Stars” OST are also up there in the top 30.

One music industry representative commented on the issue. “It is also evidence of the public’s broadening music preferences, as music portals have made it easier for people to listen to music as well as gain access to different genres of music. One of the reasons for this is that drama and music OSTs have increased in quality.”

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