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10 Most Heartbreaking Korean Songs About Love

Updated on May 12, 2016

If there’s one theme that the South Korean entertainment industry loves, it’s romance. So it stands to reason that they’ll have the monopoly on love songs, but what is a bit amusing is that for an industry that loves positive, upbeat visuals and sounds, they also play host to many of the saddest love songs you’ll ever hear. Here are 10 of the most heartbreaking Korean songs about love.


#1- Those Obvious Words by Jung In

Heartbreaking Sentiments

Written by Kang Gary for Jung In, the song didn’t use any gender-specific pronouns, the fact that it is sung by a female and the music video shows Jung In reveals that it is told from the perspective of a girl.

The girl falls in love with a guy and the guy promised to be with her forever. The sad part is that the girl always knew that the promises will be broken and the love will eventually disappear. The even sadder part is that she decided to push through with having a relationship with a guy, she marries him and shares his ups and downs even if she knew he will eventually hurt her.

She decided to love even if she knew she will be hurt eventually.

Those Obvious Words shows the hopelessness of someone who loved so much that she doesn’t even have the option of hating the guy.

Best Parts of the Song

Because from the moment I first saw you, my heart was yours

You often told me, “let’s never break up”

I wanted to believe those obvious words

Because I loved you a little more than you loved me


#2- How Come You Don't Know by Kim Jong Kook

Heartbreaking Sentiments

How Come You Don’t Know Me is a song from the point of view of someone who has fallen in love so much but is so helpless because he doesn't know what he could do to make the girl feel his love. He has been "beside" her all the time but she doesn't know how he feels. The guy doesn't know what to do but continue to hope that someday, the girl will realize he is the guy for her.

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Best Parts of the Song

Do you know how it feels
To love someone so much that you hate them?
You don’t know, this foolish me
If I take a step closer, you get farther away
Don’t you know how I feel? I love you

#3- Voice by Baek Ji Young

Heartbreaking Sentiments

At first blush, the lyrics to Voice seems like it tells a generic story of a woman who can’t let go of an ex – she keeps hearing his voice and she misses him, no matter how many relationships she has after theirs has ended.

However, the parts where she mentioned the waves and the ocean hints at something: it paints the picture of a woman who is grieving over the loss of a partner, and that she’s now laying him to rest by scattering his ashes over the ocean. This makes the song even sadder as their separation is final: you can still get back with an ex if you rekindle the romance and have forgiven each other, but there’s no way the person in Voice can get back with her deceased lover.

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Best Parts of the Song

Sadly, this guy called Time flows by so fast
No matter how much I try to hold on
Like a wave, you came and left
Even if 100 people who are better than you come
I don’t want to be in love with anyone but you

#4- Love by Kim C/Hot Potato

Heartbreaking Sentiments

The song is sung from the perspective of a guy who is explaining how painful it is if you fall in love, the real kind of love, when you are forced by situation or fate to let go of a person, even though there’s no way you can let go of what you feel for him or her.

The Best Parts of the Song

Love. How can I explain you about love
Tears fall without reasons
So I stare blankly ahead. Love

#5- Wild Flower by Park Hyo Shin

Heartbreaking Sentiments

The lyrics are nondescript so they can apply to any gender, but it doesn’t matter if the subject of the song is male or female, it paints a lonely picture using winter imagery, within the context of a blooming flower. Obviously, most flowers will not bloom in winter, which is why the song is sad. The song likens the feeling of losing a loved one to a flower that has been stuck in the cold embrace of winter, it has to endure and survive until springtime, or at least die trying.

The Best Parts of the Song

Only good memories, only a longing heart
On the path where you left me
I’m standing alone
Only until I can forget you, until I will be alright
I’ll swallow my tears and at the end of my wait
I will bloom once again

#6- Blue Bird by Jo Jeong Hee

Heartbreaking Sentiments

The song seems to be about a one-sided love affair, with a person choosing to love her object of affection from afar. It uses a lot of symbolism in order to express both the person’s intense love and equally intense sadness over not receiving love in return; first, she likens herself to a blue bird that sings for her love, but the blue part is not just for visual symbolism – it also refers to the euphemism for being blue. She’s a blue bird because she’s sad that her love is so far away, and won’t even acknowledge her existence. The most heartbreaking part is her stubborn refusal to forget, wishing that the person never fades away from her mind even though it’s causing her a lot of pain.

Best Parts of the Song

Every time you look away
I pray here
Even when you turn away
My love will wait here
Never ever fade away
From my mind

#7- Empty Space by Eddy Kim

Heartbreaking Sentiments

The appeal of Empty Space as a heartbreaking song hinges a lot on Eddy Kim’s pained, lonely voice but the lyrics themselves, though vague, also add a lot to the bleak, isolated feeling. The “empty space” in the song does not refer to an actual place, but an allegory for the deep longing that the person feels. The song hints that a loved one is gone, and that the “empty space” it left in his heart can never be filled by anything or anyone else.

Best Parts of the Song

Empty space, emotions that I just can’t handle by myself
Please come back to me, please come back to me
I don’t even have sad feelings now
When even the promised love turns its back on me

#8- Memory of the Wind by Naul

Heartbreaking Sentiment

The lyrics are nondescript, merely using wind as a metaphor in order to paint images of a person reminiscing about a loved one long since gone, while deriving some sort of happiness at the memories instead of wallowing in self-pity. However, the music video sort of gives you a little bit more insight (assuming that Naul intended the video to be canonically tied to the song,): the video showed a young girl during happier times with an older man (most likely her father.) The video then cuts to a scene where the man saves her from burning things falling from the sky.

It’s not clear if they’re bombs or meteors, and it’s also not clear whether events happened or were just a metaphor, but it still hammers home the point that the song is about a girl remembering the father who sacrificed so much for her.

Best Parts of the Song

The unfinished memories of life that are inside me
When they bump against and pass me by
Then look at that place

Our trust, our love
The eternal promises
If you remember me, then strongly walk forth

#9- Etude of Memory by Kim Dong Ryul

Heartbreaking Sentiment

The lyrics can be interpreted differently but since it was used as the theme for the movie Architecture 101, which had a part where a guy missed an opportunity to reveal his feelings to a friend, it’s easy to assume that Etude of Memory focuses on a person who’s in love with his friend but has been relegated to the proverbial “friend zone” for failing to express his true feelings.

Best Parts of the Song

Now you say you can’t leave this
With an empty laughter, you lie on my shoulders
Even though you closed your eyes
You can speak
Your sad eyes go into my heart
Makes it hurt

#10- I Believe by Shin Seung Hoon

Heartbreaking Sentiment

It’s hard to emancipate this song from the movie that uses it as a soundtrack, My Sassy Girl, but perhaps it is that fact that makes this song so heartbreaking. One of the passages really makes you remember the saddest parts in the movie, when the protagonist and the unnamed girl had to part ways due to mitigating circumstances, even though they’ve proven time and again that they’re a perfect fit for each other.

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Best Parts of the Song

Was the world dazzling before I met you?
Underneath that sky, all I'm left with are tears
I will save this place next to me.

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