Korean Rock, the genre that is not often talked about among Hallyu fans. Now you may have heard a few of these names or heard some of these songs, but lets get into other groups and how it all started.
According to wikipedia, Korean Rock music started back in the 1950s with Shin Jung Hyun aka Korea’s “The Godfather of Rock”. So Shin Jung Hyun, set out to make music, and created a very distinct style of Rock music. To a lot of people, his style was very similar to the American Rock group, The Doors. In the 1970s, Shin was arrested on drug charges and the Government was censoring a lot of music, which put Rock music on a huge hold in Korea.
Listen to Beautiful Rivers and Mountains
So in the late 1970s a trio by Sanulrim made their debut saving Rock before the Pop wave came. Their songs were all over the place, some being children songs to some more 70s – 80s psychedelic rock. The group was actually all blood brothers, Kim Chang-wan, Kim Chang-hoon, and Kim Chang-ik. They started in University, and have released 13 albums. The group broke up in 2008 when the maknae of the group, Chang-ik died in an accident. The eldest brother, Chang-wan, went on into do other work, such as acting, and was in the popular drama, Coffee Price as Hong Gae-shik.
Listen to Will You Arrive in Autumn
1980s rolled around and Rock music got a bit heavy! With 3 major rock groups, Boohwal, Beakdoosan, and Sinawe.
Boohwal was said to have more Korean-style melodic rock ballads, than the other two groups. Throughout the years they have had many group member changes. They produced 13 albums and won Best Rock Performance in 2009.
Listen to The More I love
Beakdoosan, may sound similar due to the Japanese fighter game, built by Namco, Tekken 2. Unfortunately that isn’t the person we are talking about. Beakdoosan came out with 9 albums. They are very similar in sound to American Glam Rock, not so much style. When listening to them, my mind went straight to Motley Crue and KISS.
Listen to The Moon on BeakDoo Mountain
Sinawe is your Korean Glam Rock. I do find them a lot more similar to Beakdoosan than to Boohwal, but I also see why these were the 1980s big 3. Sinawe is considered to be the first heavy rock group in South Korea. Shin Daechul is actually Shin Jung Hyun’s son, and formed Sinawe in 1986. Just like Boohwal, they also had a LOT of members leave and go. The released 12 albums, and also was featured on several albums.
Listen to 희망가
In the early 1990s Korea took a change in leadership and Korean youths discovered more
and more music from around the world. This is the first time Punk music was fully introduced in Korea. Our first couple groups were, Crying Nut and No Brain. Around the time we had Sum 41 and Blink-182.
Listen to 넌 내게 반했어 by No Brain
Crying Nut has been around since 1995, but didn’t get famous till 1998 with their debut album Speed Up Losers. They are considered the Godfathers of Korean Punk music, A lot of Godfathers of music here! They also recorded 2002’s Fifa World Cup‘s Song for Team Korea. Which is actually, according to my mother, was my second World Cup. Korea and Japan hosted this World Cup, making it the first time in Asia, and Brazil one that year. Later Crying Nut was in a law suit against CNblue for the song Deadly Offside. Since then, as of 2014, they have 7 full length Albums!
Listen to Speed Up Losers
Late 1990s Ska Punk was really pushing forward. For those who don’t know, Ska is a type of Jamaican music, Similar in sound to Sublime. So Ska Punk is just a fusion of the two, and this produced Lazybone. Debuting in 1997. Due to their Ska sound they were very popular with TV commercials.
Listen to SanoRamen
Soon came along 2006, we have Dickpunks! Coming in Second place on Superstar k 4, in 2012, they hoped to gain more fans! Now Dickpunks is one of my favorites! They all participate in writing and creating their music. They have a total of 6 albums, and actually don’t have a guitarist. Hyun-Woo, the Pianist, thought the group would sound much better being a Piano based group.
Listen to We Young
Let’s get into our FNC Rock groups, FTisland, and CNblue. FTisland debuted back in 2007, and 2008 in Japan! They have 6 Korean albums and 7 Japanese albums, along with Solo albums. They are one of the bigger known groups, due to countless promotion idea FNC as thrown lead vocalist Lee Hongki into. Hongki has been on many TV shows, and acted in many dramas. He often talks about his members, sex and drinking, almost like your typical rock star, but stays humble to his true being. Compared to their brother group, CNblue, FTisland considers themselves the Companies guinea pig group; and rather not be compared to CNblue. Hongki has stepped forward and has said the Company puts FTisland through things they would never put CNblue or AOA through, making them FNC’s experimental group. With Lee Hongki acting in dramas such as You’re Beautiful as Jeremy, and being a guest star on We Got Married, the group has gained more popularity.
Listen to Take Me Now
A couple years later, CNblue was formed! CNblue has a more Jazz Pop feel than FTisland. Lead vocalist Jung Yonghwa, has done many duets with other artists and also acting! Releasing only 2 Korean albums, they have released 7 Japanese albums! Their CEO said he would most likely leave the company in the hands of Jung Yonghwa instead of Lee Hongki starting a controversy among the groups.
Listen to You’re So Fine
Rock music in Korea has gone a long way! There are still so many groups to talk about and so much history behind each group! I hope you learned something new today, I know I did. I’ll make a list below of some other groups you got to give a listen! Tell us your favorite Korean Rock Band!
Mistake by Drug Restaurant
Congratulations by DAY6
Cherry Blossom Ending by Busker Busker
Wiing Wiing by Hyukoh
Everything by The Black Skirts
The Ship Going Down by SkaSucks
Run Away by Royal Pirates