8 K-Pop Songs That Depict Different Aspects Of LGBTQ+ Relationships

The realities and the fantasies of being queer and in love.

South Korea is still a widely conservative country that holds on to its reservations against ideas that challenge set rules of gender and sexuality. So, as an industry that is heavily dependent on public opinion, K-Pop has not allowed many artists the necessary space to talk about same-sex relationships. But the scenario is changing bit by bit. Even though it is still a controversial topic, some K-Pop artists have put out songs based on stories of same-sex love.

Anti-LGBTQ+ protestors at Seoul Pride Parade in 2019 | The Economist

Here are 8 K-Pop songs that represent homosexual love in a very humane and sensitive way:

1. “Nar_C”- HOLLAND

There is no way a discussion around K-Pop and LGBTQ+ community can be started without Holland. As the first openly gay K-Pop idol, Holland has constantly created songs that carry his perspective. Nar_C is a bitter-sweet song that depicts the bright aspects of a loving relationship between two men until they have a sad fallout. The song tells the story in a simple way that touches any listener easily.

2. “Goodbye”- Wheein

“Goodbye” tells the story of a sapphic relationship where a girl falls in love with her art teacher. But the teacher already has a male partner. The heartbreaking music video portrays the grief of the girl who is unable to accept that the woman she loves is with someone else. The art teacher looks in pain too, when she realizes how much the girl is suffering because of the situation.

3. “Please Don’t” -K.Will

This song portrays a similar storyline as that of “Goodbye.” Here, two men who are in love get separated as one of them decides to get married to a woman. Touching upon all the finer emotions of sadness, jealousy, and helplessness, the music video shows the double-life queer people often have to lead in a heteronormative society.

4. “Shutdown”- Moonbyul ft. Seori

“Shutdown” is very assertive of sapphic sexuality. The lyrics, as well as the music video, depict a sensual back-and-forth conversation between the two singers. There is no sensationalization, however. Both in terms of the lyrics and the visuals, it is remarkable how well they have portrayed the sexual tension in a clean-cut manner.

5. “Help”- 10 CM

The song encapsulates a broader theme but still addresses the pain and struggle a queer couple has to go through in society. The music video shows people facing different difficulties, including a gay couple who cannot openly express themselves in public, as the song in the background pleads, “Somebody, please help me tonight.

6. “One More Day”- Sistar, Giorgio Moroder

Even though the song itself has an upbeat sound, the music video addresses some difficult topics. The story revolves around two women who are in love with each other, but one of them is in an abusive relationship with a man. In order to defend themselves, the girls end up murdering the guy in the end and run away together.

7. “159 cm”- Tenny

The music video of “159 cm” shows a sapphic relationship between two teenage girls who fight their families to be together. The story very appropriately catches the spirit of young love, rebellion, and desire.

8. “Lover”- Kevin Oh

“Lover” is another heartbreakingly beautiful song that portrays the fading love between two individuals in a relationship. The music video features two male actors who are shown to be in a relationship. The song is written from the point of view of the person who fell out of love but is scared to disappoint his partner.

It’s been over a decade that K-Pop artists have been addressing queer experiences through their art, with a mixture of hits and misses. As the country slowly opens up to these discussions, hopefully K-Pop will also make space for not only queer experiences and stories but also queer voices like soloist HOLLANd and former Wassup member Jiae.