The intricate musical production of K-Pop songs can be a hard act to follow, but this virtuoso guitarist’s covers more than do the originals justice.
Sungha Jung, a popular YouTube musician, is well known for his amazing covers of K-Pop songs. In fact, his covers have become so popular that he’s even performed with popular idols such as 2NE1, BIGBANG‘s G-Dragon, and SISTAR‘s Hyorin.
The guitar prodigy has amassed a following of over 4 million subscribers on YouTube and has uploaded well over 900 videos. This year, he performed shows in 10 different countries and is looking to go on another world tour next year.
— 정성하 / Sungha Jung (@jungsungha) December 16, 2016
To celebrate his success, here are 10 of the best K-Pop covers by Sungha Jung!
1. BTS – “Blood Sweat & Tears”
BTS’s “Blood Sweat & Tears” was one of 2016’s biggest songs and, while the original song is complex and full of electronic sounds, Sungha has been able to capture the essence of the song.
2. TWICE – “Cheer Up”
TWICE‘s massive hit “Cheer Up” led them to break sales records for Girl Groups in 2016. While the song frequently jumps between different styles and rhythms, Sungha’s cover captures them all and blends them together, creating a very different feeling from TWICE’s version.
3. Taeyeon – “11:11”
Taeyeon’s ballad, “11:11”, already has a gentle, acoustic composition, lead by a lone acoustic guitar. Sungha Jung builds from the song and merges this guitar with the vocals and other parts of the song to create his stunning cover.
4. AKMU – “Re-Bye”
The sibling duo Akdong Musician returned earlier this year to promote their EP, Spring, led by the jazzy single, “Re-Bye”. The cover by Sungha perfectly condenses the jazz-inspired, bouncy feel of the song into one instrument, resulting in this extremely fun cover.
5. Eric Nam – “Good For You”
Sungha takes this R&B song from Eric Nam’s second EP, Interview, and, as always, merges aspects from various instruments in the song to form his cover. He’s able to recreate the same feeling as the original in his own style of playing.
6. 2NE1 – “Lonely”
In spite of the fact that this is one of his older videos, it’s arguably one of his best. Sungha’s cover of 2NE1’s 2011 single, “Lonely”, is so good you can almost hear the actual vocals coming from his guitar. With the group having recently announced its break-up, it is a great time to go back and remember some of the older hits.
7. Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin (EXO) – “For You”
Originally part of the OST for Moon Lovers: Scarlett Heart Ryeo, this cover is yet another display of Sungha Jung’s great skill in arranging. The original song has many things going on all at once, but the cover picks and chooses different aspects of each when distilling it down from an entire band to one guitar.
8. Zion.T – “No Make Up”
This kind of song is where the guitar prodigy can really shine. The original, released by Zion.T in October 2015, doesn’t feature a guitar at all and makes use of a synthesizer. This causes the cover to have its own feeling, an alternate acoustic version that sounds unique while still being recognizable.
9. Ailee – “If You”
In the original version of “If You”, the instruments play second fiddle to Ailee’s powerful vocals, but it is in Sungha’s cover that the composition itself is allowed to shine
10. PSY – “Gangnam Style”
The song that put K-Pop on the map internationally, PSY’s 2012 release was a landmark for K-Pop. It’s hard to imagine an acoustic version of PSY’s huge hit, but thanks to this cover the results are right there to see.