Mar 13, 2014

My Lists: 10 favorite mandatory noraebang songs

Noraebang, if you don't know (as if!), is the Korean version of karaoke (or what we call in my country, videoke) but with some additional necessities aside from the karaoke machine, tv screen, and microphone. It is absolutely essential for noraebangs to provide tambourines, or maracasses even (if they're being generous), and sometimes even clown wigs and huge-ass sunglasses (if they're being totally lavish). And of course, a noraebang session isn't complete without some of our favorite Korean pop songs.

What I'll be listing down today aren't necessarily what I'd choose to sing at a noraebang, but what I think every k-pop star and their favorite uncle would immediately punch in to sing should they find themselves in a dim room with a microphone in one hand and a tambourine on the other. Or perhaps, if they're in the mood for a power ballad, the tambourine is left on the table in exchange for a glass of somaek. Of course, this is from an outsider's point of view. All I'm basing this on is the fact that these songs have been covered so many times by so many Korean singers (and non-singers). And, seriously, I'm not complaining. I love these songs!

Lee Juck's "I'm Fortunate" (다행이다, Dahaengida)

It's funny because most international fans know the song because of covers by idol stars, and there's no mention of the song at all on Lee Juck's Wikipedia page, but indeed he was the original singer. This video is of his original version but we've heard this covered by everyone from idol star Kim Hyun-joong to balladeer K.Will, rocker Jung Joon-young to actor Joo Won, to name just a few.

Brown Eyed Soul's "Nothing Better" 

Originally sung by Brown Eyed Soul's Jung Yup, this song has been performed repeatedly, time and again, at every turn, by almost everybody from 2PM's Nichkhun to SHINee's Jonghyun, Super Junior's Kyuhyun to actor Gong Yoo, that if it weren't such a good song I would've been ready to sew my ears shut.

Im Jae-beom's "Confession" (고해, Gohae)

One of my personal favorites, Im Jae-beom's "Confession" may be one of the cheesiest songs ever, in terms of lyrics, but he pulls it off with one of the rawest and roughest voices in the business. So it's no wonder that some of the best singers of today have all attempted to cover this song, of which FT Island's Lee Hong-ki's attempt is my favorite. CNBLUE's Jung Yong-hwa (plus Z:EA's Kwang-hee, unfortunately), rock singers Roy Kim and Jung Joon-young, and pop rock singer Hong Kyung-min have performed this song as well.

4Men's "Baby Baby"

Another overplayed R&B track, this time by vocal group 4Men. But let me tell you, just because something is overplayed doesn't make it bad. In fact, it's so good that everyone keeps singing it. And by everyone, I mean B.A.P's Daehyun (pre-debut video that brought me to tears!), SHINee's Jonghyun, SNSD's Yuri and Tiffany, and BEAST's Yoseob.

Kim Dong-ryul's "Drunken Truth" (취중진담, Chwijung Jindam)

Admittedly, the first person I heard this from was JYJ's Micky Yoochun. And it was awesome. And then I started hearing it everywhere so I had to find out who the original singer was. So, apparently, Yoochun wasn't the original singer, neither were Super Junior's Kyuhyun, nor Gavy N J, nor Fly to the Sky, but  rather Kim Dong-ryul. I'll try to remember that name from now on.

DJ DOC's "Run to You"

You might've noticed, but almost every music festival ends with all the artists on stage rocking out to the one hip-hop song everyone and their grandmothers know the lyrics to. Some people mistakenly refer to this song as "Bounce With Me" due to the phrase being repeated throughout the track, but it's actually "Run to You." I first encountered this song via extra footage in the 2009 drama You're Beautiful where the boys of ANJELL (Jang Geun-suk, Jung Yong-hwa, and Lee Hong-ki) danced around to the track. And since then, I've heard it literally at every music show's outro.

Rain's "Love Song"

This is probably one of the first Korean songs I learned the lyrics to. Not the very first, but it's somewhere up there. And clearly, I'm not the song's only fan as it's been covered by Seo In-guk, and all your favorite idols in several different parodies. Sometimes lauded for the song itself, but mostly for the accompanying sexy choreography, this song is definitely one for the books.

Ra.D's "I'm In Love"

This song is just beautiful. I seriously have four different versions of this song on my k-pop playlist. The first one is by Ra.D (see video above) who actually composed the song, and then the original recording by Brown Eyed Girls' Narsha, and then covers by CNBLUE's Lee Jong-hyun and two finalists on The Voice of Korea (Kim Min-ji and Park Eui-sung) who sang a duet version during the battle round. This song is so awesome even Queen Yuna has performed it before.

Tasha's "As Time Goes By"

This is one song I listen to on repeat, and one that I also know by heart. Tasha is a queen and this song may be old, but it's still relevant. At least according to the members of SNSD who have sung this at multiple occasions. Younha also has a cover, and Lee Hi slayed with this song when she was a finalist on K-Pop Star by turning the second verse into a rap with the help of the guys at YG.

JYP's "Honey"

Just hearing the intro to this song makes me wanna jump out of my seat to sing and dance along. Though I love JYP more for his softer, mid-tempo ballads (i.e. "I Have A Girl") it's uptempo songs like "Honey" and "Elevator" that make you wanna bust out the tambourine at the noraebang. It's been covered so many times that you just know it's a classic. And by classic, I mean old enough that World Star Rain was one of JYP's backup dancers back then.


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