Top 50 Korean songs to sing at a noraebang
As you know, noraebang (karaoke) is one of the most common events at a Korean party. What do Korean people most often sing in noraebangs? Girl’s Generation? Big Bang? EXO? I wrote this list of the Top 50 K-pop songs which are commonly sung by Korean people in noraebangs, and the results might surprise you.
What made me surprised was that there weren't many idol’s songs on this list. Many of the songs contain only Korean lyrics along with some K-drama’s OSTs. Noraebang has to be done in a comfortable and familiar place for Korean people. Some of my friends who want to learn Korean ask me what they should do. Watching K-dramas and singing K-pop songs are the best ways to remember the lines.
1. "Becoming Dust" (먼지가 되어 Meon-ji-ga Deo-eo) – Kim Roy & Jung Joon Young
"Becoming Dust" is at the top of 2013 Korean people’s Noraebang songs list. Super Star Korea Season 4’s winner Kim Roy and Top4 Joon Young sang this song together, which was released in 1987 by Lee Miki. There were many singers who covered this song, such as Kim Kwang Seok who was famous as a Korean musician, but Miki chose Roy as the best for her song. This version starts with an acoustic guitar sound and changes to rock style. This song has poetic lyrics, and been loved as a song that people can sing to show off their singing ability moderately. I prefer this live version to the recorded song because I don't like to see judges' faces.
2. "Emergency Room" from K-drama Delightful Girl Choon Hyang’s OST (응급실 Eung-geub-sil) – izi
Even though I didn’t watch this drama, I can sing this one because I heard this song several times in Noraebangs. Delightful Girl Choon Hyang aired in 2005 but the song still is being sung by Korean people. This song is about men’s regret that they say ‘let’s end this’ too easily to their lovers. This is the perfect song for men who want to show off their singing ability and that they are not the kind of men who would regret like the man in the song.
3. "The Reason I Became A Singer" (내가 가수가 된 이유 Nae-ga Ka-su-ga Doen Yi-yoo) – Shin Yong Jae (4MEN)
I'm glad I found this one because I knew this song but didn’t know the singer and title. People who have done everything to make their lover come back to them can understand this song. The lyrics are based on Shin Yong Jae’s real experience. In the song, the man became a singer to find his lover. You might be familiar with his voice because he has sung many K-dramas’ OSTs, including All About My Romance, Faith, The Golden Empire, Gu Family Book, and Bridal Mask.
4. "Officially Missing You" – Geeks
Oh, I have to admit that Korean people really like a love story even if it’s about songs and lyrics. And I thank myself again because I saw that my friend had the song in her cell phone. As you know, the original song is Tamia’s "Officially Missing You." Geeks arranged the song for their acoustic hip-hop style.
5. "Resignation" (체념 Chae-nyum) – Big MAMA
You might have heard this song from your K-pop stars. There were many singers who sang this song at their concerts or other stages, for example Xia Junsu of JYJ and Yesung of SuJu. Big MAMA is made up of four vocalist women who chose to attack against the climate in the singers’ world that good looking singers get more popular than those who have better singing ability. They achieved recognition as the best vocalist team. However, this song is sung too many times so the song is also ranked on the list ‘Songs that I don’t want to listen to, from the opposite sex’.
6. "I Miss You" from K-drama Stairway To Heaven’ OST (보고싶다 Bo-go-ship-da) – Kim Bum Soo
Actually the song came out first in 2002, and then the K-drama Stairway To Heaven chose this song as one of their OSTs in 2003. This song’s sad lyrics and Kim Bum Soo’s voice make many people remember this song for over 10 years, and still sing the song. I wanted to find this song’s correct translation but it wasn’t easy. Here are the closest lyrics to the Korean lyrics.
However long you may wait, I can’t go to you crying like a fool. Why don’t you know I'm giving you only wounds, and why are you waiting for me? Leave me. I miss you, I miss you to the point of hating myself. I want to cry with kneeling down toward you, if everything can be not happened events. * ‘The memories and remembrances, which I loved you like crazy, are searching for you but I can’t detain you with excuse called "love" anymore. I shouldn’t do this, I am missing you to death.’ I miss you, I miss you to the point of hating myself. I want to believe that it is right, and I have to go away for you. * I want to forget you to death.
7. "A Glass Of Soju" (소주 한 잔 Soju-han-jan) – Im Chang Jung
You might know about the Korean liquor Soju, which is the best-selling brand of liquor in the world. Liquor always follows a couple’s break-up so many Korean songs have ‘Soju’ or ‘Sool’ in their lyrics. This song was released in 2003 but there is no song that explains well how to call ex-lover while being drunk except this song. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video that has English subtitle and Romanization.
8. "I Will Show You' (보여줄게 Bo-yo-jul-ge) - Ailee
"U & I" - Ailee
This young diva Ailee, who made her debut in 2012, ranked her songs two times on lucky 7th and 44th. She shows her powerful singing ability by appearing many times on TV shows with her live performances. There was an unfortunate issue for her and her fans the end of last year but people know who she is, and love her singing, so that issue couldn’t affect any harm to her.
9. Memory Of The Wind (Ba-ram-gi-uk 바람기억) - Naul
He is famous as the best singer, who has a beautiful voice, an ex-boyfriend of an actress Han Hye Jin and a devout Christian. In 2001, Naul and Yoon Gun debuted as a vocalist duo ‘Brown Eyes’, their four albums have been considered best albums by Korean people. They have been separately active since they released thei third album. This song is Naul’s recent song. When the song’s MV was revealed, many people could read The Book of Revelation’ story from the MV.
10. "For You" of K-film Friend's OST (Nuh-reul Wii-hae 너를 위해) - Im Jae Bum
A war-like love! When I listened to this song for the first time, that expression about love made me surprised. How can love be like war? Shouldn't love be something beautiful? This is an old song released in 2000, and I was young. Anyway, the lyrics ‘I am going to leave you because I love you’ are not only a K-drama line.
11. "I Have A Lover" (애인 있어요 Ae-in It-uh-yo ) - Lee Eun Mi
When I listen to this song, I can draw one scene of any drama or film in my head because it has a narrative arc that tells a story and communication emotion. This is about one sided love, and is also sad confession of love. Lee Eun Mi is a charismatic singer in the Korean music field, and she sang this song on the TV program ’I am a singer’ where th best vocalists of Korea sing songs to get listeners' vote.
12. "All For You" of K-drama Answer Me 1997's OST - Jung Eun Ji & Seo In Guk
Some of you guys are familiar with Seo In Guk and Jung Eun Ji as an actor and actress but they started their career as singers. Seo In Guk is a winner of Super Star K season1 and Jung Eun Ji is a member of K-girl group A pink. This song got popular because of the success of Answer Me 1997
13."Snow Flower" of K-drama I Am Sorry I Love You's OST (눈의 꽃 Noon-eu Ggot) - Park Hyo Shin
Japanese singer Nakishima Mika’s Snow Flower is the original. When you listen to songs, some of them bring some specific memories. For example, this song calls the memories about winter and the K-drama I Am Sorry I Love You. Especially the sound in the beginning of the song is so beautiful and sad. Singer Park Hyo Shin has a beautiful, refined falsetto voice.
14. "Arabian Jasmine" of K-film Bichunmoo (말리꽃 Mal-ri-ggot) - Lee Seung Chul
Audition programs have strong power at selling mp3 files and a raising song’s popularity in Korea. There are many songs on this list, which are recalled from the past by participants of the audition shows. I think this is one of them. I really don’t know about this song but I found a lot of its cover versions. Lee Seung Chul is one of the judges of Super Star Korea, which is the most favorite, and has many seasons. He is famous as a singer who sings songs very easily. So I bring a live version of the song.
15. "Johnny" (자니 Ja-ni) – Primary feat. Dynamic Duo
30. "See Through" - Primary feat. Gaeko, Zion
Primary is the DJ, music producer and songwriter, who was most loved last year but he doesn’t sing. Famous singers and rappers sing Primary’s songs instead of him. The guy in a MV wearing a box is Primary. He was a partner of Park Myung Soo for Korean famous variety TV show Infinite Challenge’s music festival. There was a plagiarism controversy surrounding the song that he made for Park Myung Soo but he still has a lot of good songs. He enjoys playing with song titles. This song’s title has same pronunciation with "자니?," which has the meaning "Are you sleeping?"
15."Western Sky" (서쪽 하늘 Seo-jjok Ha-neul) - Ulala Session
Super Star K Season 3’s winner team Ulala Session sang Lee Seung Chul’s song. There was sad news in the beginning of last year that a leader of this team, Im Yoon Taek passed away from stomach cancer. I thought I didn’t know this song but the refrain parts are so famous. ‘Every rainy day, I miss you so much. Waiting for the day when we will meet again. Why does raining sky make me sorrowful for no reason? I’m eager to forget you by my scattered tears.’ Now I feel the lyrics more sadly because of the loss of the team.
17. "Thorn" (가시 Ga-si) - Buzz
When Buzz made their debut, they sang a song that was catching men’s views, but a vocal of this band, Min Kyung Hoon, had pretty face so they could make a big hit with young women’s support as well. However, now the song is one of the songs that women don’t want to listen to at the Noreabang.
18. "Monodrama" (모노드라마 ) - Huh Gak with Yoo Seung Woo
Super Star K Season 2’s winner Huh Gak and Season 4’s popular candidate Yoo Seung Woo sang together. This song is comfortable and familiar for me to listen to but I think it is not a catchy song.
19. "Love over thousand years" (천년의 사랑 Chun-nyun-eu Sa-rang) of K-drama Thousand Years of Love's OST - Park Wan Kyu
This song was released in 1999, and used as a one of the OST of K-drama Thousand Years of Love 2003. I think this is for people who really love microphone and singing a song, not to just enjoy going to Noreabang. It’s too hard to sing like Park Wan Kyu.
20. "Run Across The Sky" (하늘을 달리다 Ha-neul-eul Dal-li-da) – Lee Juck
Lee Juck is one of the singers who has a good educational background but his music always sings about being different. When he was active with Kim Jin Pyo as Panic, their songs told about friendship, loneliness and being minority, not only just love, so he settled as a real musician from the early of his career. I like his original version, but also like Huh Gak’s that he sang for his final competition of Super Star K 2. I voted for him by my mobile phone because of this song.
21. "Tears" - So Chan Whee
When I wanted to lose control or shout, this song was there for me. Just imagine Steelheart’s She’s Gone. It will help you understand what this song is to Korean people, especially women. Super high-pitched tone and keeping singing till the end are important. It is hard to find someone who don’t know this song but it’s also hard to find someone who know her other songs except this one.
22. "Dear Love" (사랑아 Sa-rang-ah) of K-drama My Man's Woman OST - The One
The One was loved as a good vocalist but people didn’t know his face or who he was because he didn’t have something to show like an idol or entertainment singer. He just only had a voice. However, after he participated in TV show competition I Am A Singer, he could show his outstanding live singing ability, and his songs for K-dramas started to get love from people.
23. "8282" - Davichi
"Turtle" (거북이 Geo-boog-yi) – Davichi
There aren’t many female duos in Korean but Davichi has being loved since they made their debut. Kim Min Kyung was already famous because of her pretty face on internet when she was a school girl before she became a singer. Lee Hye Ri guarantees their songs because she sings really well.
24. "Instantly" (본능적으로 Bon-neung-jeog-eu-ro) – Yoon Jong Shin feat, Swings
Part 2. Rationally (이성적으로 Yi-sung-jeog-eu-ro)
I love this song. It instantly became famous because Kang Seung Yoon, one of the popular candidates of Super Star K2, sang this song on his stage. However, I knew this song before the stage because I like Yoon Jong Shin’s sensibility, melodies and lyrics. Many people only know Instantly, which is about a man who suddenly has a crush on a woman but this is just part1. There is another song part2, Rationally, that is about the couple’s break up that the man feels instantly that it’s time to break up. These two songs have a story with the same melody but different tempos and moods.
25. "Good Day" (좋은 날 Jo-eun nal) - IU
She is like a sister of all Korean men. We are familiar with her acting in K-dramas but when she sings her songs, we are reminded that she is totally a singer. Good day is for all Oppa in Korea so many girls try to sing this song but there aren’t many girls who can perform this song perfectly, especially the high part which changes three times. That’s why this song was chosen No.1 on a list that men didn’t want to listen to from women in Noraebang.
26. "Bar Bar Bar" (빠빠빠 Bba-bba-bba) - Crayon pop
It was an unexpected success. Crayon Pop brought a totally different look and concept from other girl groups. When Crayon Pop debuted, they also had a similar music and look, which was showing sexy dance and thick make-up. At that time, no one remembered them but when they were wearing sportswear, helmets, and dancing a funny dance that everyone could do and then they could make a bit hit.
27. NoNoNo (노노노) - A-Pink
This is only one song by K-girl group on this list. NoNoNo reminds Korean people of SES, a K-girl group in 1st generation of Korean Idol history. This song has an image of pure and warm-hearted girl, which is different from other girl groups’ sexy and powerful images.
28. "The First Poem" (서시 Suh-si) - Sin Sung Woo
This is about a friendship. It’s hard to find a hit song that doesn’t tell about a love story between women and men. However, this song is famous even though the song is old because many singers and celebrities sing this on their special stages.
31. "Proposal" (청혼 Chung-hon) - Noel
JYP Entertainment likes finding their singer names from nature like Star, Rain. Noel means sunset in Korean. This is the Korean Love Song, 'Proposal' by Noel, and it's a popular as a wedding song in Korea. Here's the original one and a cover song by 2AM.
32. "Guilty" (죽일놈 Gulity) - Dynamic Duo
48. "Confession" (고백 Go Back) - Dynamic Duo
Guilty tells about things that men should give up while they meet women. In Korea, people usually focus on what women give up for their marriages but this is about a man who is sick and tired of listening that men should back aside for a woman, who is long for himself before dating a woman. To know the meaning of lyrics, turn on CC. I bring an Exo’s version together that I like. Another song ranked on 48th is about a man’s late 20’s confession that he wants to go back to his young moments.
33. "Drinking" (술이야 Sul-yi-ya) - Vibe
No. 2 Korean song about drinking alcohol after break up. Lyrics are here. *As sadness fills me up, I pour myself a drink. I hate you who left me so I start badmouthing you but realize that I talk just like you, sound just like you.**I drink all the time, I drink every day. I didn’t know it’d be this hard after losing you.We’re strangers now, we’re really not together. After losing you, forever we are strangers.x2 I get drunk when I drink and repeat what I say over and over again.I’ve been waiting for you only, not realizing that we’re strangers to each other now. ** As the day grows dark, I drink again today.
34. "Cherry Blossom Ending" (벛꽃엔딩 But-ggot-ending) - Busker Busker
50. "Bus Stop" (버스 정류장 Bus Jung-ryu-jang) - Busker Busker
Busker Busker is evaluated as a voice that speaks to the youth of Korean. The band was top 2 of Super Star K3 but they showed their power at selling albums and MP3 files. When new spring comes, their songs drive towards the top of internet music charts again. Park Hyo Shin’s snow flower is for winter, and Busker Busker’s songs are for spring in Korean. Bus Stop is Lee Juk’s song but Busker Busker sang this song for one of their mission stage. This is about an overwhelming moment that your precious person waiting for you in front of a bus stop where you will get out when you are depressed and sad.
35. "Romantic Cat" (낭만 고양이 Nang-man Go-yang-yi) - Cherry Filter
I was surprised that there wasn't Jaurim’s song, but if I should choose only one song of Korean bands that come from underground of Hongdae, I will choose this song to sing in Noraebang. A neighborhood near Hongik University, which is famous for young culture and bands’ music, is called Hongdae. This band’s female vocalist has a unique voice and powerful singing ability. And I heard someone singing this song at Dramafever’s party so it’s very true that this song is on this list. Some of you guys may know this song because of Running Man.
Running Man - Tears and Romantic Cat
37. "Loner"(외톨이 Wae-to-ri) - Outsider
Even for Korean people, this song is hard to digest because it is too fast, super fast. I don’t even think of trying this because I couldn't understand this rapping without Korean lyrics. However, there are men everywhere who usually become more competitive when a song is difficult. Yes, this is for that men.
38. "When the flowering spring comes" (꽃피는 봄이오면 Ggot-pi-neun Bom-yi-oh-myun) - BMK
Ever since you left, it seems my tears can't freeze because of the flowing tears again,even if it wants to freeze, . Even if my sad world where I lost you freezes, even if the razor-sharp hatred scratches me. It seems that now, the love with deep roots cant be taken off. Since the beginning, you were like one with my body. Without being able to dream of any kind of love. In that, I long for you and want you again. I've been calling only your name. *Will you return? Will you come to my side?I can't believe it but if I do believe, will we return to loving like when we loved so much? Will our hearts be the same as then? When, as the seasons pass round and round, flower-blooming spring comes. For the person waiting, it seems there is nothing to do besides love. The me who was so tired I wasn't able to even aim. "why cant you let me go? oh~ why are you crying?" even if you keep scolding me and blaming me, still i cant forget you.*.Even though it was a lacking light, even though my heart was always devastated. Still, its bright because you're here.I long for you so much i cant stand it. I long for the me of that time, that day. Even if you, tricked by time, allow someone else and lean on someone and live tied together. Remember me. Even thought it was one moment, the face that we loved. Even though the love what we shared was shorter than life. The person in my memories will be forever. That spring day that was brilliant because it seemed just like a moment. Translation credit: GoddessLD@soompi.com
39. "Have A Drink" (술 한잔 해요 Sul Han-jan Hae-yo) - Zia
Brown Eye Girls is made of four female members, and they are called Idols for adults. They show outstanding performances on their stage like young idols but they have charisma that comes from years of experiences. Zia is the oldest member of this group, and she is famous as a good female vocalist. Her song is about a woman who drinks alcohol to forget her ex-lover and to get up her nerve to call him.
40. "Love..That Guy" (사랑..그놈 Love..That Guy)- Bobby Kim
Always loving alone, saying goodbye alone. Always reminiscing alone, falling apart alone. In front of that guy named Love, I’m always empty pocketed. Always turning away alone, regretting alone. Always shaking and pretending I’m not. In front of that guy named Love. I’m always a laughingstock. I love you, I love you. Although I sing, the unresponsive melody. Though my heart is bruised and my heart is tearful. My footsteps head toward that place again. I love you, again, I love you. It comes and goes by it’s own will. Just like when it came, it leaves without a word. Always living because of memories though it makes me cry. Always lying to myself, saying that I forgot you. Just like I breathe in, I swallow my heart. I just smile and wave my hand. I love you, I love you. Though I call out to you till my throat dries up. That one word that you cannot hear.I hang my head low and stand in front of Love. I love you, again, I love you. It comes and goes by it’s own will. Just like when it came, it leaves without a word. I pretend not to know, I try to forget but love is crying again. Yes, I still believe in myself. Love, Love is crying again. Translation credit: popgasa
41. "Spring Spring Spring" (봄봄봄 Bom Bom Bom) - Kim Roy
Spring Spring Spring made a big hit when the song released. I like this song but it’s hard for this song to escape from accusing of plagiarizing Acoustic Rain’s Love Is Canon. Roy’s song registered copyright first but Acoustic rain’s original version of Love Is Canon uploaded on Youtube one year faster than Roy’s song. However, the problem was that the original version of Love Is Canon wasn’t similar with Roy’s song as much as Ukulele Ver, which was released after Roy. Ukulele version was very similar with Spring Spring Spring. Some people insisted that changing instrument didn’t mean making different song so this was Roy’s fault. But some other people said that the original version wasn’t same with Roy’s song. After Roy’s song came out, Acoustic rain changed the introduction of Love Is Canon with Ukulele so this wasn’t Roy’s fault. I can’t judge who is right. Anyway, these two songs were based on classic Canon.
Acoustic rain's Love Is Canon Original ver
Acoustic rain's Love Is Canon Ukulele ver
Watch exes duke it out and fall back in love in the comedic medical drama Emergency Couple.
42. "If It Was Me" (나였으면 Na-yeot-seu-myun) of Prince's First Love's OST - Na Yoon Kwon
This song’s chorus stuck in my head for several years. I don’t even know what he looks like. His name is famous but he isn’t that famous because he is totally ballad singer. I’ve heard the song but I’ve never see his stage on Korean music shows or stages.
43. "Don't Think You're Alone" (혼자라고 생각말기 Hon-ja-ra-go Sang-kak-mal-gi) of School 2013 OST - Kim Bo Kyung
Kim Bo Kyung couldn’t be chosen as one of Top11 of Super Star K2 but now she sings many dramas’ OST. This is one of them. Reputation of K-drama School 1, 2 was a high wall that School 2013 had to be against, and jump over. Rising star Lee Jong Suk, Kim Woo Bin and teacher’s stories telling how hard it is to be a good teacher against a weird Korean education system impressed viewers. And this song gave power for the stories.
44. "Promise U" - Vibe
Vibe is a R&B group. They released their first album in 2002 as a trio of two male singers (Yoon Min Soo and Ryu Jae Hyun) and a rapper (Yoo Sung Gyu). Their first single "미워도다시한번 (Although it is hateful, again)" was a success and a huge hit for the group making them very popular. Their second single "Promise U" was also very successful. Now, Yoon Min Soo is famous as Hoo’s father rather than a singer because of huge popularity of K-variety show Dad! Where are you going.
45. "Shower Of Tears" (눈물 샤워 Noon-mool Shower) - Baechigi feat.Ailee
This song is interesting. The parts sung by Aliee are a trot melody, which is recognized as the oldest form of Korean pop music, and trot is known for older generation’s music in Korea. Baechigi raps with this mournful melody, and it became their most successful song ever.
46. "Love's Battery" (사랑의 배터리 Sa-rang-eu Battery) - Hong Jin Young
There was a time when people thought that trot was a genre for senior generation, and singers who sang trot songs were also senior generation. However, since Young singers like Jang Yoon Jung and Yoon Hyun Bin started to sing trot songs, and they got popularity, there have been many young trot singers. Hong Jing Young is one of them. This is only one trot song on this ranking.
47. "Can't Have You" (가질 수 없는 너 Ga-jil Soo Up-neun Neo) - Bank
This song was released in 1995. The reason that this song can be ranked on this list is because of Answer Me 1994. This was one of the drama’s OST. The lyrics about an unrequited love represent Na Jung’s love towards Sseureki. Answer Me series was loved because the drama used old songs as its OST that reminded people of youth.
48. "Never Ending Story" - Boohwal. Vocal Lee Seung Chul
They led the heavy metal boom in the 80’s along with other bands called the ‘Big 3’ by the media as they were all led by talented guitarists. Boohwal’s guitarist, Kim Tae Won usually made songs, and guest vocalists sang the songs. After receiving high praises in the underground music scene for their music, they became instantly popular once they released their first major album. The album featured the most popular vocalist to come out of Boohwal, Lee Seung Chul.
I want to express my thanks to K-pop lovers who translate Korean lyrics into other languages. I didn't expect that there were so many songs, especially old songs with Eng, Han and Rom, available. This list of Korean Noraebang top 50 songs will help you when you are at a Noraebang and trying to select Korean songs. While I was writing this article, I also found out about many good songs. I can’t wait to sing these in a Noraebang!