7 Ultimate Sad Songs: Korean Female Vocalist Edition

What is it for sadness? What is it means by feeling sad? What is it means by being sad? Is it so much for sadness? I don’t know, but I believe that some things are meant something. Hence I believe that sadness also has its meaning. Even though we may feel sad out of the blue, there must be something about it. Even though we cannot explain exactly why we feel that way, there must be some sort of explanation of it. However, feelings aren’t that simple. And sadness is more complicated than we used to know. Sadness doesn’t always come when we feel bad about something. Sadness isn’t solely about negative feeling. Sadness is not the same as unhappiness. It is similar, but it is not entirely the same. There is always a little bit of sadness within happiness. And there is a little bit of sadness too within gratefulness. And love; love always brings a little bit of sadness along with it. Love always has two sides like a coin; we cannot buy the one without the other. And that is the true essence of being in love; to be able to feel both happiness and sadness. Same thing goes for a love song. There is always a little bit of sadness in every love song. Here is the list of seven saddest songs sung by Korean female vocalist as the fourth part of Ultimate Sad Songs series.

7. 2NE1 – 그리워해요 (Missing You)

"Missing You" single cover by 2NE1 | source: www.maniadb.com

Starting the list on number seven is a hit by the-now-has-disbanded Korean girl group, 2NE1, titled “그리워해요 (Missing You)”. It was released as a single with the same name in 2013. Written by the famous composer Teddy Park, it’s a hip-hop ballad with a slow-medium tempo. Unlike other 2NE1’s fierce and dynamic songs, this one is very melancholic and heart-drenching. The song’s lyrics follow the story of someone who meets the first love that had gone away and bids the last farewell. When it comes to the first love, it’s always hard to meet them again, moreover when the love had ended painfully and we had become estranged. No matter how hard we try to be comfortable and calm, we just can’t. There are so many thoughts inside. We met them during our youth days when love goes on and off quickly, but that was not the thing for us. It doesn’t go off quickly like that. And at times, though it doesn’t mean that we want to go back, we cannot help but missing it.

“I still hate you, who have let me go. My frozen heart still yearns for you. Missing you, missing you, missing you, missing you, I’m missing you. The love of my young days has ended like this. You have to be happy. Even until a long time has passed by, let’s remember each other, that we had each other back then.”

6. Taeyeon – 만약에 (If)

"Hong Gil Dong" original soundtrack album cover | source: www.maniadb.com

Up next on number six of the list is a song performed by the leader and lead vocalist of Korean front-runner girl group, Girls’s Generation, Kim Taeyeon, titled “만약에 (If)”. The ballad track was released in early 2008 as an original soundtrack for KBS’ drama series “Hong Gil Dong”. Taeyeon’s soft and mesmerizing vocal stands out in this sweet-sorrow song about unrequited love. We never know whom we will fall in love with. Sometimes, someone falls in love with a person they’ve known well for a quite long time, perhaps their best friend. When that happens, there’s this fear; a fear of losing the friendship and the love at the same time. And we keep on hesitating and wondering and asking to ourselves, ‘What if?’

“If I were going to go there, if I were going to get close to you, what would you think of? I don’t have the courage to know. If you were going to go, if you were going to leave, how could I send you away? That keeps haunting my mind. It scares me. Because I’m like a fool, I can only look at you from a distance. Because perhaps your heart would turn away, therefore, we could become estranged and distant. Because I’m really foolish, I can’t even say that I love you. Because perhaps waiting for us to meet again would be painful, and I’m afraid my days would become sad.”

5. Baek Ji Young – 여자 (That Woman)

"Secret Garden" original soundtrack part 1 single cover | source: www.maniadb.com

The Queen of soundtrack, Baek Ji Young, is on number five of the list with one of her biggest hits titled “
여자 (That Woman)”. It was released in 2010 as the first single taken from the soundtrack of SBS’ television drama series “Secret Garden”. Due to the immense popularity of the drama series, the song itself also gained success, both commercially and culturally, since this pop ballad track is the signature song for the drama series. Baek’s sorrowful voice stands out in this heart-wrenching song. The lyrics are a confession. Since the more sincere the love, the more it is hard to confess. It begins by telling it through third person point of view; that she knows there is a woman who is sincerely in love with him, that the woman is always watching over him, that the woman is silently keeping her desperate feelings only for herself. In the end, she reveals that the woman is her.

“One woman loves you, that woman loves you with all of her heart. Every day, like a shadow, she follows you around, that laughing woman is crying inside. How much, just how much longer do I have to look at you like this all alone? This love that came like the wind, this helpless love, will you love me if I continue this way? Come just a little closer, just a little, when I take one step forward, you take two steps back away. Me, who love you, is standing still beside you now, that woman is crying.”

4. Lyn – 시간을 거슬러 (Back in Time)

"The Moon that Embraces the Sun" original soundtrack part 2 single cover | source: www.maniadb.com

The strongest contender for the Queen of soundtrack, Lyn, is on number four of the list with one of her biggest hits titled “시간을 거슬러 (Back in Time)”. It was released in 2012 as second single taken from the soundtrack of MBC’s television drama series “The Moon that Embraces the Sun”. The drama series’ popularity was high through the roof back then, and so was this song as the drama series’ signature soundtrack. Lyn’s sang with her beautiful soft voice; making us feels the deep sorrow of the song. Her vocal went well with the heart-wrenching melody of the song as the lyrics tell a story about someone who wants to turn back in time so that they can feel the love that has gone away. It is about someone who cannot let go of the shadow of the past. And if they could, they would go back in time just to be able to feel the love again.

“As the light dims from the clouds; as cold as the raindrops that pour down the window, the memories that are grabbing onto my heart and refuse to leave. Sunk in the longing that gets heavier as time passes, can I travel back in time? If you hug me just like you did before, then I will be okay now.”

3. Lee Sun Hee – 인연 (Fate)

Lee Sun Hee's 13th album cover | source: www.maniadb.com

Opening up the big three of the list is a beautiful song performed by the legendary female singer, Lee Sun Hee, titled “인연 (Fate)”. Written by Lee herself, this song was released in 2005 as the soundtrack for the Korean box office movie, “King and the Clown”. With the heart-wrenching sorrowful lyrics, this song is like an epic poem with the touch of the oriental ballad melody. It speaks about unfinished feeling; an unfinished love in an entangled unfinished fate. It’s about two people who meet in at the wrong time with a right feeling, which makes their future together is uncertain. What they feel for each other can’t be wrong, but what if the time doesn’t aside with them? They certainly are made for each other, but what if the uncertain future beholds them? Indeed love is not measured by the amount of time they spend together, but by the depth of their feeling instead. As they go their separate ways, they make promise for each other to not let go when they ever met again; which they believe they will, because it’s their fate.

“Our meeting was short like a drunken stupor, but the love settled in my heart. Even if our love doesn’t last, I have no regrets, ‘cause nothing lasts forever. This is what they call destiny. It’s something I can’t resist. Will the day as beautiful as this one come again in this lifetime? I have a lot of things I want to say, but you would know what’s in my heart. If we ever met again one day after a long journey, don’t let go again.”

2. Jo Sumi – 나가거든 (If I Leave)

"Empress Myeongseong" original soundtrack album cover | source: www.maniadb.com

On the runner-up position of the list, here is a song which performed by the worldwide-famous Korean female soprano, Jo Sumi, titled “나가거든 (If I Leave)”. This epic ballad track was written by the famous composer, Lee Kyung Sup, and was recorded and released in 2001 as the soundtrack for KBS’ big hit drama series, “Empress Myeongseong”. This heartbreaking song has lyrics that tell about the sadness of life; the sadness that makes someone wondering about the reason why they were born into this world; when this world that they live in is so harsh and cruel. It’s a song about the loneliness in life; the loneliness that makes someone wondering whether they have lived their life in vain; when in the every end of the day they find themselves all alone. The saddest thing from the sadness and loneliness someone feels is that it has drifted them away from their love. And they could do just nothing about that. In the end they could only wish that they will be remembered if they leave; and that they will be loved, even their sadness and loneliness too.

“When I can see my shadow lying there, underneath the lonely cold moonlight, shall I just tell you so that you can hear how I feel inside my heart? When the wind blows at the breaking dawn, telling me again that another day has passed, should I just give out a sigh and ask myself, why am I still living my life? Though I may be sad I’ve got to live, because I feel sad so I must go on living. I know that I will understand when I’m gone, the reason why I came to live in this world. If I leave, please remember me, and tell me you love even my sorrow.”

1. Lee So Ra – 제발 (Please)

"Flower" album cover by Lee So Ra | source: www.maniadb.com

I present you, on the top position of the list is one of the saddest ballad songs; it is a song titled “제발 (Please)” by Korean legendary female singer, Lee So Ra. The song was first released in 2000 as the lead single of Lee’s fourth studio album. The highlight of the song is her emotional voice, which blends so well with the sad melody of the song. It has been covered by many other great Korean balladeers since then. However, nothing could beat the original. The lyrics speak the longing for the past lover; a pleading and heartbreaking wish to come back and start all over again. When there are so many things we’ve spent together with our past lover, those can’t be easily forgotten. Thus, that person can’t be easily replaced. The funny thing about love is, the person whom we love so much is the person who has the greatest chance to hurt us. And after growing apart with that person, that’s when we realized that there are so many things we’re sorry for. That’s when we plea towards that person to come back, ‘Please.’

“You said I was the only one you wanted. Therefore the memories of our laughter and tears shouldn’t be erased by another love. I don’t want our memories fade away. I hope you’ll find your way back to me somehow. I beg that we could start all over again from the beginning. I say that I’ll be waiting for you, but don’t take too long. Don’t go farther away from me, come closer, please.”


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