K-pop Christmas
December 22, 2013 4:11 PM   Subscribe

It's that time of year when Korean entertainment companies / music labels release Christmas songs, typically featuring all the acts from the label. Christmas 2013 saw songs from the smaller labels, Cube, Starship, Jellyfish, MYSTIC89, Bighit. Of the big 3 (SM, YG, and JYP), SM and JYP released all-company Christmas songs in the past, although they seem to be skipping them of late in favor of individual releases. SM's 12-member boy band EXO had the melancholy "Miracles in December", YG's Park Bom (from 2NE1) and Lee Hi covered "All I Want for Christmas Is You", and JYP avoided Christmas songs altogether. Crayon Pop had a Lonely Christmas, being Chrome Entertainment's only signed act until late this year.

More from Christmases past and present, including "Winter" releases, which get regarded as Christmas kpop songs because Christmas is all about dating and being with your one true love:

Various artists, Fluxus (2009) "All I Want for Christmas Is You"
Alex from Clazziquai and Winterplay, Fluxus (2008) "White Christmas"

Various artists, Jellyfish (2012) "Because It's Christmas"

Secret (2013) "I Do I Do"

Lee Jong Hyun (CNBLUE) and Juniel, (2013) "Love Falls"

Various artists, Starship (2012) "White Love"

Orange Caramel and Nu'est, Pledis, (2012) "Dashing through the Snow in High Heels"

Various artists, Pledis (2011) "Love Letter"

Infinite, Woollim/SM (2011) "White Confession"

TVXQ/DBSK/Tohoshinki, SM (2004) "Magic Castle"
posted by needled (12 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
What? No Psy? What is he, a Buddhist? (Or just Buddha... yes, I went there)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:46 PM on December 22, 2013

OK I clickedied on All I Want for Christmas is You because well this is a song I actually saw perfromed live by Vince Vance and the Valiants, and all I can say is dubya tee eff.
posted by localroger at 6:10 PM on December 22, 2013

I think bom&hi's video for "all I want for Christmas" may quite possibly be the trippiest Christmas music video ever made.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:27 PM on December 22, 2013

The Bom & Hi video made me think of Korean horror movie A Tale of Two Sisters.
posted by needled at 6:35 PM on December 22, 2013

For anyone just browsing, the Infinite song and Crayon Pop's Lonely Christmas are both good enough to play in other months besides December.

EXO have a whole Christmas album. The funniest one (because guys doing "sexy" the same way girls do sexy is funny, obviously) is Christmas Day. Though I find "Miracles in December" to be kind of funny too, in the cases where they have the stage done up like a Sunday-devotional Christian cable channel stage.

To be a little more serious though, the mini is nice... The biggest hit off it is a song called First Snow, and they also redid Olivia's My Turn to Cry.
posted by subdee at 7:43 PM on December 22, 2013

Bom & Hi's "All I Want for Christmas" cover isn't all that great, but 2NE1 (Bom's group) have a mostly-decent original song out called "Missing You" that has a Christmas vibe. LEDApple have a great (BUT VERY SAD) acoustic cover of it up.
posted by subdee at 7:44 PM on December 22, 2013

Also here's one more from Koyote:

posted by subdee at 9:41 PM on December 22, 2013

Just to add to localroger's comment, that All I Want For Christmas video is fuh-reaky!
posted by kuanes at 7:47 AM on December 23, 2013

Thanks for this! I haven't really bothered with any of the winter releases yet (except for Romantic J's "Love Falls", mostly because I love Jonghyun's voice), so it's nice to have them all in one place. I'm really looking forward to watching the BOM&HI MV because the teaser I saw for it made me think this is going to be the creepiest take on this song ever, like... "all I want for Christmas is to KILL you..."

I'll also add in last year's sentimental holiday ballad from Sunny Hill (sans Janghyun, who was serving his enlistment at that time), Goodbye To Romance -- which I love because it's all one long take. And I've been told that the extra space to their left during the final group shot was for Janghyun, which makes me go "aww" (even if it's just fanwankery, it's still a sweet thought).
posted by paisley sheep at 7:54 AM on December 23, 2013

I was mostly interested in the all-company Christmas songs, but they seem to be getting rarer - this year in particular they seemed to be restricted to the smaller and newer labels. MYSTIC89, established by songwriter Yoon Jong Shin, was for a long time a collective of singer-songwriters and this was its first year as a more diversified label, which I think prompted its Christmas song as a way to showcase their current and upcoming acts. Fluxus, another mostly singer-songwriter label, seems to have stopped producing any label all-hands efforts altogether. It seems once labels get to be a certain size or more established they stop releasing these types of tracks.

This year, Cube was the largest of the labels still releasing an all-label song, in terms of artists and sales (some figures place it above JYP). Its Christmas song featured 4MINUTE (포미닛), BEAST (비스트), G.NA (지나), BTOB (비투비), Roh Ji Hoon (노지훈), Kim Ki Ri (김기리), Shin Ji Hoon (신지훈), A-Pink (에이핑크), and Huh Gak (허각). Cube may follow SM, YG, and JYP and stop releasing this type of song altogether, as just the practical logistics of recording and shooting the music video were probably considerable. Jellyfish, a male balladeer-heavy label, last year had a music video with all its label artists together, but this year opted for one with some lovely sand art. Again, I wonder if it just got too hard to get everybody together in one room as the label acts got more successful.

(Not Christmas-specific at all, but my favorite all-label collaborative effort is Antenna Music Warriors, in particular their rendition of Jung Jae Hyung's "Running". Antenna Music these days is best known as Yoo Hee Yeol's label, due to his appearance as a judge in the current season of Kpop Star. Antenna is another singer-songwriter label, including the band Peppertones among its acts. What the heck, here's another Antenna Music Warriors performance, about which the Peppertones' bassist said in a later interview he could almost taste blood after trying to hit the high notes in the song's chorus.)
posted by needled at 8:01 AM on December 23, 2013

I'm thinking all-label collabs are getting rarer just in general (because I'm struggling to come up with the usual list of "family concerts" this year, i.e. YG Family, JYP Nation, United Cube, SMTown. I'm especially sad at the lack of YG Family concert this year because I'd read somewhere they were thinking of having one by the end of the year, and I was especially looking forward to seeing Epik High be a part of it -- but YG is nothing but a pro when it comes to trolling. Sigh).

I hope Cube doesn't start focusing on single artists, though, because I think of them being one of the labels that really loves putting all their groups together. But it definitely seems like sub-units are the new thing, what with Troublemaker (and, for the holidays, Romantic J and BOM&HI). I'm also wondering if the Woollim/SM merger had any impact. (Tbh, I was a little weirded out by seeing Infinite listed along with the rest of the SM artists in the Season Greetings promo because it just felt wrong). Now I'm getting all cynical, wondering if the labels think maybe they could make more money by selling Season Greeting packages (and songs) of individual groups or special sub-units, rather than everyone together. It's probably cheaper to just pay one group (even if that group is made up of twelve people) than to pay three times as that for everyone to part of one song. I can't see how that would be cost-effective.

Hmm. I'm thinking of all the smaller and not-as-popular labels where a collab would be brilliant (TS Entertainment; J Tune; Pledis; CCM) and probably make more financial sense. Or maybe with all the Gayo Daejun mix'n'match collaborations between the different artists, there's less incentive to produce their own. Because I'm pretty sure it comes down to whatever would be cheapest and most profitable to make.

But now I'm wondering more about the indie non-mainstream-k-pop labels (as you mentioned above, and btw, I love the Peppertones!) -- for some reason I feel like it's not unusal for collabs to happen with these types of smaller labels. Although this may be because I'm more familiar with the indie hiphop labels and collabs are a way of life, there. Especially since I know Brand New Music had a "family concert" sometime this past year, which sorta makes up for all the big labels who didn't.
posted by paisley sheep at 9:03 AM on December 23, 2013

MYSTIC89 just posted a set of videos of a joint Christmas-themed performance to their YouTube channel :
Lim Kim "Santa Baby"
Jane Jang "Let It Snow"
Hareem "O Tannenbaum"
posted by needled at 1:22 PM on December 24, 2013

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