K-Pop Idols as Artists: Songs You Didn’t Know They Made
In the past, idols were often thought of as tools for management agencies to make money. Many teenagers were picked up by agencies because of their good looks and were trained to dance and sing to songs provided by the companies. However, this stereotype of “factory-produced robots” has been disproved by efforts of some idols to become real artists by learning to make their own music.
While you may know that all of the artists listed here are singer-songwriters, the listed songs are ones you may not have known were written by them, unless they are your bias, because they weren’t as heavily promoted as some of their other songs. I think they should have been; these are some quality songs! After going through the songs, let me know if you knew any of them, and whether you like any of the songs!
Junho of 2PM: 2PM- “Go Back”
Many know that 2PM member Jun. K is a talented singer-songwriter. However, not many are aware that Junho has also been making quality music for 2PM. He participated in both creating the lyrics and composing “Go Back” (Taecyeon wrote the lyrics for his rap part). “Go Back” is about a regretful man who wants to go back in time before his relationship with his girlfriend started.
LE of EXID: Untouchable(feat. Jiggy Fellaz)- “Jiggy Get Down”
LE was scouted by producer Shinsadong Tiger when she was going by “Elly” in a hip hop crew called “Jiggy Fellaz.” So it is no surprise that she wrote the rap parts herself for EXID‘s songs like “Every Night” and “Up and Down,” and even participated in composing “Every Night.” LE is also well known for co-writing the lyrics for Trouble Maker‘s’ songs “Trouble Maker” and “Now.” Hip hop group Untouchable is in the same hip hop crew as LE, which is why she featured in “Jiggy Get Down.” FYI, her part starts from 2:41, and viewer discretion is advised.
CL of 2NE1: 2NE1- “If I Were You”
Although she only recently started participated in making songs for 2NE1, CL‘s talent cannot be overlooked since 2NE1’s latest album was extremely successful. She contributed to making five out of ten songs in the “Crush” album. From writing the lyrics of her solo “Mental Breakdown” to composing a popular song like “Crush,” she certainly proved her talent in song writing. Through rapping, singing, dancing, being the leader (of 2NE1), writing songs, and planning to debut in America, she is becoming one of the most influential artists in Korea’s music industry.
Jung Yong Hwa of CNBLUE: CNBLUE- “Coffee Shop”
It is nothing new to say Jung Yong Hwa is a talented singer-songwriter. For his recent solo album, he participated in making all of the 10 tracks. Not only is he writing the lyrics and composing, he even participated in producing the majority of the songs. Other notable songs from CNBLUE albums that he made are “Can’t Stop,” “I’m Sorry,” and “Love Light.”
IU: IU- “Peach”
I was surprised to find out that my personal favorite of IU‘s songs, “Friday,” was also written and composed by IU! Her beauty and vocal talents may have overshadowed her talent in song-writing. She participated in writing and composing three of her songs in the album “Modern Times.” I hope her next album will contain more of her creations.
Jonghyun of SHINee: SHINee- “Dangerous (Medusa II)”
Jonghyun had one of the biggest turning point in his music career by releasing an album complete with seven songs that he contributed in creating through writing lyrics and composing. However, this is not the first time he set out to delve into song-writing, as he also made lyrics for older SHINee‘s songs like “Juliette” and “Selene 6.23,” which is known for its beautiful lyrics. For the fans who weren’t aware of his song-writing talent before his solo album, the featured song is from SHINee’s third album, “The Misconceptions of Us.”
G-Dragon of BIGBANG: BIGBANG- “Shake It”
Since day one of BIGBANG‘s debut, G-Dragon has participated in making BIGBANG’s music. Often topping charts after release, G-Dragon was also successful with creating non-BIGBANG songs such as “Going to Try” for his collaboration with Jung Hyung Don and “I Cheated” with Park Myung Soo for “Infinity Challenge.” The song “Shake It” is a classic BIGBANG song and one of the oldest of G-Dragon’s creations.
Zico of Block B: Zico- “No Limit”
Not only acclaimed as one of the best rappers in the idol industry, Zico is also considered one of the most talented rappers in Korean hip hop. Despite being active with Block B and producing songs such as “Her” and “Jackpot,” he has been constantly making new songs through mix-tapes and being active in underground hip hop. The lyrics of “No Limit” is an autobiography of Zico, and how he went from an underground rapper to a member of Block B. The instrumental of “No Limit” is not Zico’s creation though, and is from the song “Yeah Yeah Yeahs” by Rich.
Kang Seung Yoon and Mino of WINNER: WINNER- “Different”
If you watched the audition program “Who Is Next: WIN,” you know that YG houses many multi-talented idols; Kang Seung Yoon and Mino are just two of the many. Writing songs even before debut, most members of WINNER also participated in writing songs for every single track in their debut album. This particular song was composed exclusively by Kang Seung Yoon and Mino, while Lee Seung Hoon also participated by writing his rap part. The lyrics is about a selfish man who says he is different and wants his girlfriend to understand when he’s being rude. Although it’s my favorite in the album, I wouldn’t want to date a guy like that…
Yong Junhyung of BEAST: BEAST- “It’s All Good”
Writing song lyrics and composing is difficult enough. But producing songs? That’s a different story. There are many idols who compose and write song lyrics, such as the artists previously listed. But I would have to say that Yong Junhyung stands out here as the only person who writes lyrics, composes, AND produces his songs. For BEAST‘s newest album, “Time,” Yong Juhyung created five out of six songs without help from professional song writers or producers. If you only listened to “12:30” in “Time” and haven’t heard other songs from the album, check out the featured song “It’s All Good.”