K-pop has had a meteoric rise throughout the years, and with each succeeding generation of K-pop groups, the star only burns brighter, proving that music truly transcends language barriers. This has also opened many doors for K-pop idols to collaborate with Western artists, blessing us with tunes that are now staples in our playlists. Here are the 8 K-pop-Western collabs we have on replay!
1. “Ice Cream” – BLACKPINK with Selena Gomez
Selpink in ya area! Sugary, ice-cream sweet with a fun, catchy neat, “Ice Cream” promises to be our new summer bop. While most BLACKPINK songs have some English lyrics in them, “Ice Cream” stands out for having most of the lyrics in English, which makes it easier for international fans to groove along to (not that having Korean lyrics ever gave us pause, oops). It was a treat to hear the girls singing in English so extensively, especially since their singing voices sound a tad different than when they sing in Korean. Selena Gomez’s lines also fit in seamlessly in the melody; her soft girlish vocal style is such a great fit with “Ice Cream”! Sweet yet saucy, this was everything we could have asked for in a summer collab track.
Will we ever get to catch them performing this live together? We can only hope!
2. “Boy With Luv” – BTS with Halsey
Playful, light-hearted, and oh-so-catchy, “Boy With Luv” was one of the highlight releases of 2019 (certified Platinum to boot!). The funk pop track has so much color in it, with the lyrics taking us on a flight towards positive growth. I thought Halsey’s contribution made for an interesting addition — think honeyed vocals played off by the subsequent rap verses that create an addictive contrast.
With BTS being well-known for their choreographies, it was a no-brainer that Halsey got in on the action too, and the collective dance shot that ensued was epic!
The name of the song says it all, and boy, what a song to get up and shimmy to! “Let’s Shut Up & Dance” has a dark, sexy vibe threading to it that was perfectly complemented by the fluid movements showcased throughout the music video.
The K-pop-Western collab also took time to celebrate dances and dancers of all walks of life in a nod to how the artistry of dancing, much like music in this case, rises above cultures. This paired wonderfully with the cinematic shots of different cities, from the tropical colorfulness of Jamaica to the downtown area of Seoul.
And let’s be honest, how could you have a tune to inspire people to get up and dance without the dance legends that are EXO’s Lay and NCT 127!
4. “Play It Cool” – MONSTA X with Steve Aoki
“Play It Cool” has Steve Aoki’s signature all over it, and we are all for it! The track is perfect for driving to (as Aoki proves in the start to the music video); MONSTA X’s smooth and mellow voices meld with the beat, and when the bass drops, you can’t help but groove to it.
MONSTA X’s sleek choreography only serves to make the dark, gritty beat work harder as we pivot from their relaxed scene in a bar to the dance break in a dimly-lit hall.
5. “Different Game” – GOT7’s Jackson with Gucci Mane
One of Jackson’s solo works, “Different Game” is special not just because it is a collaboration, but also because of the cross-cultural references that were peppered throughout the music video.
In it, the rapper makes a point to highlight how his career and works span across cultural boundaries with GOT7 and Team Wang in an upbeat track that you can’t help but feel pumped up by. Gucci Mane features with a verse that further hypes up their joint accomplishments.
In what constitutes a flawless collaboration between Grammy-nominated Gallant, Eric Nam, and Tablo, “Cave Me In” is an R&B track that blends the trio’s unique musical styles for an intoxicatingly smooth slow jam.
It’s a song that will take you through some emotional ups and downs, so best to slip this one into a playlist for your Tipsy Thursdays (some songs are better appreciated when you’re mildly tipsy and full of feels!).
7. “Freal Luv” – EXO’s Chanyeol with Far East Movement, Marshmello and Tinashe
One thing for sure, “Freal Luv” tied many artists and influences together with this one, and what a treat it is to see and hear how the R&B, electro, and pop vibes all fuse together.
EXO’s Chanyeol’s smooth flow criss-crosses with Tinashe’s melody to create a sensual track to vibe to. With the song fully in English, it was particularly impressive that Chanyeol had a hand in both composing and writing the lyrics!
8. “Written In The Stars” – Red Velvet’s Wendy with John Legend
Born from a collaboration between two absolute vocal legends, it’s well safe to say, “Written In The Stars” is a beautiful and soulful piece!
Wendy’s soft, tinkling voice harmonizes with John Legend’s deeper baritone to deliver an enchanting love ballad about star-crossed lovers who almost came to be.
The duo even teamed up to shoot a romantic music video set in the Californian desert, so be sure to check this one out!
Hey Soompiers, which other K-Pop x Western artist collabs do you hope to see in the future? Let us know in the comments below!
Aetcult is your friendly K-beauty enthusiast who loves her tea on and off her face (no lie). In between bouts of tinkering with new beauty products, she will probably be writing about her finds, revising her Korean language coursework and jamming to the latest K-pop song. Say hi to Am on Tumblr.
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