Sad K-Pop Songs; The Saddest Ever

Although many people associate K-pop music with upbeat, catchy music, many K-pop artists and groups release songs that are on the sadder side.

Let’s look at these sad K-pop songs if that’s what you’re more in the mood for.

“Breathe” by Lee Hi

Song Year: 2016

First up on this list of sad K-pop songs is Lee Hi’s “Breathe.” The light piano accompanying the lyrics gives the track an empowering yet emotional backbone.

This song ranked second on the Gaon Digital Chart and 22nd on the Billboard World Digital Song Chart in March 2016.

The lyrics evoke a sense of empathy, resonating with anyone who needs to let their emotions out if they’re feeling overwhelmed; one breath at a time.

“She’s In The Rain” by The Roses

Song Year: 2018

A K-pop songs to listen to on a gloomy day is The Roses’ “She’s In The Rain.” Like many sad songs based on the rain, the lyrics reflect internal feelings of loneliness and being unloved. The song’s music video also emphasizes these feelings with a grayscale color scheme.

For about a week, this song ranked 13th on Billboard’s World Digital Songs Sales chart in mid-October 2018.

“Downpour” by I.O.I

Song Year: 2017

Another one of the saddest K-pop songs with a rain-themed title is I.O.I’s “Downpour.” This female K-pop group released this song as a farewell track before disbanding. Although many of the lyrics compare raindrops to tears when someone leaves, they also give glimpses of hope you might meet someone again.

The song ranked third on the Gaon Digital Chart in the middle of January and 39th on Billboard‘s K-pop Hot 100 in the summer of 2017.

“Letting Go” by Day6

Song Year: 2016

Songs about breakups can invoke sadness in many listeners, especially those who went through one. Day6’s “Letting Go” has a straightforward message behind its lyrics about ending a fading relationship with a girl to ensure her happiness.

It was one of Day6’s songs featured on their extended-play record Daydream, which ranked fourth on Gaon’s South Korean Weekly Album Chart and 15th on the South Korean Monthly Album Chart. They also recorded a rearranged version of the song in 2017.

“One Of These Nights” by Red Velvet

Song Year: 2016

This song is about two people separating, despite having strong, loving feelings towards each other, partially inspired by the Chilseok festival’s folktale of Jingnyeo and Gyeonu. The song’s blend of orchestral strings and trap beats gives it a heartfelt vibe.

The song ranked within the top ten of Gaon’s Digital Chart and Billboard’s US World Digital Chart. It’s a great song to listen to if you have nostalgic feelings about someone you used to know.

“Missing You” by BTOB

Song Year: 2017

The simple yet emotional melody of BTOB’s “Missing You” makes me feel overwhelmed whenever I feel lonely at night. The song’s ballad and rap portions blend seamlessly as the lyrics showcase a feeling of missing someone you used to love.

This song ranked 14 on Billboard’s US World Albums Chart, won the Korea Popular Music Awards’ “Ballad Award” in 2018, and received several nominations for “Song of the Year” from the Genie Music Awards and Mnet Asian Music Awards.

“Fine” by Taeyeon

Song Year: 2017

Another one of the best post-breakup songs that might resonate with you if you’re feeling sad is Taeyeron’s “Fine.” Music-wise, it incorporates an alternative pop vibe that gives it a catchy yet emotional touch. Many can relate to the lyrics of pretending to look fine after going through a breakup when you feel torn apart inside.

This single topped the Gaon Digital Chart for a week and received several nominations since its release.

“Untitled, 2014” by G-Dragon

Song Year: 2017

If you’re looking for a beautiful, sad song to add to your playlist, G-Dragon’s “Untitled, 2014” is one song you should consider listening to on a silent night. The song’s piano accompaniment makes the lyrics about apologizing to a person the singer loved and hoping to see them one last time extra heartfelt.

It won Gaon Chart Music Awards’ “Song of the Year” in June and sold over a million digital records since its release.

“To My Youth” by BOL4

Song Year: 2017

I consider this BOL4 song an excellent sad song because its lyrics reflect the feelings people might have while growing up, particularly the feeling of feeling unloved and ignored during puberty while trying to discover your inner self. But, thankfully, the song’s vocals add a hint of hope for anyone experiencing hardships.

This single was a part of the group’s album Red Diary Page.1 and ranked third on the Gaon Digital Chart and second on the K-pop Hot 100 Chart.

“Lonely” by Jonghyun

Song Year: 2017

Some core motifs expressed in the lyrics of Jonghyun’s “Lonely” are isolation and loneliness. Its piano accompaniment and additional vocals provided by Taeyeon give the song a conversational touch. The lyrics might also resonate with those who feel that their distress might make them a burden to others.

This song was the last single Jonghyun released before his death in December 2017, giving the song another layer of sadness to avid fans of his.

“Pass Me By” by Golden Child

Song Year: 2020

Like many sad K-pop songs, this one delves into themes of longing for a love you lost to the point of waiting for them to come back. It’s a nice, melancholy song to put on if you’re looking for something to watch on TV on the weekend.

It was a featured track on their extended play record, Take a Leap, which ranked sixth on the Gaon Music Chart and sold over 65,000 copies.

“Miracles in December” by EXO

Song Year: 2013

This ballad is another sad K-pop song I listen to whenever I’m feeling gloomy throughout the week. The song’s piano and strings give it an emotional flair that enhances its powerful, harmonizing vocals.

The song tells the story of a man looking back on his relationship with a woman and longing to rekindle it after overcoming his selfish flaws and regrets. It ranked third on the Gaon Digital Chart and third on Billboard’s K-pop Hot 100 Chart.

“Loser” by BIGBANG

Song Year: 2015

The main takeaway described in BIGBANG’s “Loser” is how even popular K-pop groups like them face daily struggles and mask their insecurities with a smile. The song has a slow tempo that matches the feelings of each singer.

Its main music genre inspirations stem from hip-hop and R&B. This song topped the Gaon Digital Chart for three weeks when it was initially released. It also won several music awards, such as the Korean Music Awards’ “Best Pop Song.”

“Fear” by Mino

Song Year: 2015

Although Mino’s “Fear” might have a catchy beat, its sad lyrics might resonate with those prone to getting emotional. This song highlights the road to Mino’s success as a music icon and delves into the personal struggles he faced along the way.

The lyrics related to pushing yourself to reach a goal while facing loneliness and depression stand out to me as someone who struggled to find purpose in my life.

“Take You Home” by Baekhyun

Song Year: 2017

Unrequited love is another factor in sad K-pop songs that resonates with avid music lovers or those going through a similar experience. This song tells the tale of a man who wants to support a woman with relationship issues even though he can’t be with her.

In this song’s context, even a faint smile can feel bittersweet when trying to reach out to someone. Whenever I listen to this, I can’t help but stare out the window as the mellow tempo plays.

“Lie Again” by Seventeen

“Lie Again” by Seventeen

Song Year: 2019

Another sad K-pop song you should consider checking out is Seventeen’s “Lie Again.” Its lyrics talk about ending a relationship with someone you love when you don’t feel the same for them anymore and how parting ways with them is better than seeing the relationship dwindle every time you see them.

The mellow tempo and deeper vocals give it an extra sense of melancholy a person might feel while convincing themselves that pushing away love is for the best.

“In Heaven” by JYJ

Song Year: 2011

Losing and missing a friend is an event that can impact many people. JYJ’s Jaejoong wrote this song to express his feelings about his friends who passed away. It has a laid-back melody and quiet lyrics that emphasize the feeling of guilt when you lose someone.

The song was initially released on JYJ’s album, ” In Heaven,” which topped Gaon’s Weekly Album Chart in early October and their Monthly Album Chart in September.

“You Are” by Pentagon

Song Year: 2016

Although Pentagon has a dedicated following, some avid fans who gravitate to their more prominent albums might not recognize this track from their first extended play.

You can interpret the lyrics as the narrator apologizing to the people they ignored and lost precious time with during the years by pushing themselves to provide the best for the people they love.

Despite the song’s gloomy vibes, its vocals have a breathtaking harmony that can lift any person’s spirits.

“It’s Fine” by Urban Zakapa

Song Year: 2013

I associate the lyrics of Urban Zakapa’s “It’s Fine” with feelings of self-doubt. Sometimes we feel like nothing matters, and things would be better if we weren’t here, so this song’s lyrics might strike a chord with those feeling down.

The song’s slow piano arrangement enhances its lonely and heartfelt mood. It’s the type of song I like listening to on a dark, rainy night if I’m having a rough day.

“Apology” by iKON

Song Year: 2015

“Apology” by iKON is a moving piece that resonates with anyone who experienced a rocky romantic relationship. The lyrics depict the narrator going through a breakup and apologizing for treating their love poorly and taking them for granted.

Regret is a feeling that many sad songs represent, and the overall message of a person saying sorry to a loved one and telling them to forget them hits close to home.


Song Year: 2016

“Stay” is a song about craving someone to love and wanting them to stay, a feeling that I consider universal in several ways.

Like many sad K-pop songs, it has a straightforward presentation in its message and lyrics. However, unlike many of BLACKPINK’s most famous songs, this emotional single has a slower tempo and incorporates a folk-like sound.

This song ranked within the top ten on the Gaon Digital Chart and Billboard’s US World Digital Chart.

“Innocent Love” by Astro

Song Year: 2016

This song is about how someone might feel when experiencing their first, short-lived love, from sadness to gratitude. Most of the song is a slow ballad, but it has a few rap bits to reflect how the singer worries about their first love’s feelings and the impact of how they’ll learn from this experience.

The song was featured on Astro’s extended play, “Spring Up,” which ranked within the top ten of a few US and Korean weekly charts.

“Starlight” by N.Flying

Song Year: 2020

Although N.Flying’s “Starlight” sounds upbeat and lighthearted, its lyrics stem from loss. The K-pop group’s leader, Lee Seung-hyub, wrote this song after his grandfather’s death. As a result, most of the lyrics are bittersweet yet nostalgic, inspired by his grandparents’ relationship.

It also has a poetic feel, as if the singer wonders if someone who’s gone will remember them beyond death. Family deaths can be rough, but their memories will remain within you.

“I’ll Smile Even If It Hurts” by Ladies’ Code

Song Year: 2015

Ladies’ Code released this song a year after the deaths of two of their group’s members, EunB and RiSe. Many of this song’s lyrics reflect how losing someone can happen when you least expect it. Even if you try to move on, their loss can still get you feeling emotional.

The slower parts of the song have a soothing rhythm provided by a piano and strings accompaniment. I can’t help but shed some tears while smiling while listening to this song.

“Always Remember” by TANY

Song Year: 2016

TANY wrote this song in memory of the victims of the Sewol ferry tragedy in 2014. The lyrics have a repeating message of never forgetting the ones we lose throughout our lives. The song has a slow tempo, enhanced by a piano and flute accompaniment. Avid K-pop fans might find this song’s lyrics more emotional following TANY’s death in 2018.

“8:45 Heaven” by Drunken Tiger

Song Year: 2007

Drunken Tiger’s “8:45 Heaven” has a distinct rap and hip-hop vibe that contrasts nicely with its sad lyrics. This song is about central member Tiger JK’s grandmother, with the title referring to the time of her death.

Although this single didn’t have any significant rankings on Korean and international charts, it’s still a stand-out song that perfectly encapsulates the grief you feel after a close family member dies and the desire to prevent their death.

“Eyes, Nose, Lips” by Taeyang

Song Year: 2014

Another one of the saddest K-pop songs I listened to is Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips.” It opens with low-key piano accompaniment before incorporating an R&B-style sound.

The song’s about a man looking back on his love life and how each one that fell apart affects him. The lyrics showcase a desire for intimacy as the singer recounts his love’s titular eyes, nose, and lips, based around a previous relationship Taeyang experienced.

“The Fool” by Jung Seung-hwan

Song Year: 2016

Sometimes, we redirect our sadness and pain onto others. “The Fool” embodies this feeling with lyrics about the singer stating how the person they loved is responsible for the singer’s conflicting emotions and blaming themself for letting these circumstances happen. 

The sad piano at the start and end of this ballad enhances its lonely and heartbroken lyrics. Jung Seung-hwan’s vocals and lyrics relate to anyone experiencing heartbreak.

“Only Then” by Roy Kim

Song Year: 2018

Roy Kim’s “Only Then” is a simple yet emotional song about a person trying to prevent a breakup with someone they love. The song’s softness matches how the singer doesn’t want to give up on their relationship.

However, love and breakups are a trial and error experience, and the lyrics reflect that by stating that if the singer’s lover wants to be with someone else and leaves them alone, they’ll consider that the signal to let them go.

“No Longer” by NCT 127

Song Year: 2018

The striking lyrics and vocals of NCT 127’s “No Longer” perfectly represent how the feeling of someone not needing them can tear them apart, especially if they don’t want to leave them.

The song has a slow tempo, like many sad K-pop songs, but incorporates R&B elements to make the group’s vocalists stand out.  It was featured in their album, Regular-Irregular, which ranked on several international charts.

“Butterfly by BTS

Song Year: 2015

“Butterfly” by BTS is another song I often listen to whenever I’m in the mood to listen to some sad K-pop songs. This song’s lyrics reflect a person’s feelings about the fear of losing someone they care about, such as through a breakup or death.

The song’s namesake embodies this feeling vividly since life is as fragile as a butterfly and can become short-lived for reasons typically beyond someone’s control.

Sad K-Pop Songs, Final Thoughts

Sad K-pop songs have a unique flair that resonates with many people, from their emotional lyrics to immersive instrumentation based on several different genres. No matter which you prefer listening to, there’s one for everyone to enjoy.

We hope you enjoyed our selection of songs and are considering adding them to your next playlist of sad songs.

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