The music, and the scene, are seemingly inescapable. Aside from K-pop tracks topping global charts, the fandom has an overwhelming internet presence, and many Western artists, such as Halsey and Lady Gaga, have teamed up with groups for record-breaking collabs.
Aside from collabs, many South Korean artists and groups have delved into performing in English. They’ve even covered some well-known American tracks in completely new ways.
We decided to show you 10 alternative covers by Korean artists that you need to hear this year. Hopefully, it inspires you to delve deeper into the K-pop and K-rock universe—or at least gives you a new song to add to your playlist.
ATEEZ’s Kim Hongjoong – “Numb” (Linkin Park)
Kim Hongjoong, one of the members of the K-pop band ATEEZ, recently transformed the classic “Numb” by Linkin Park into the ultimate K-pop hit. Along with his vulnerable retelling of the song’s lyrics in both English and Korean, Hongjoong manages to give “Numb” a modern pop makeover by implementing elements of EDM and trap music.
BLACKPINK’s Rosé – “The Only Exception” (Paramore)
BLACKPINK are one of the biggest names in K-pop right now, and Rosé blessed the internet with this hauntingly beautiful cover of Paramore’s “The Only Exception” in 2020. The cover shows off Rosé’s raw vocal talent and transforms the song into something all her own.
Suzy – “Skinny Love” (Bon Iver)
Suzy, who was a member of the K-pop group miss A before they disbanded in 2017, is an idol with the voice of an angel. If you need more proof, check out this 2016 cover she did of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” which is guaranteed to move you to tears.
DAY6 – “High And Dry” (Radiohead)
If one thing is true, it’s that we fell in love with DAY6 in 2020. That goes not only for their original music but also their wide array of covers. This Radiohead cover will give you goosebumps. It shows that the band cannot be put into a box, as they can truly master any kind of music they want.
Luna & Trax – “Bring Me To Life” (Evanescence)
In this throwback video from 2010, K-pop singer Luna and the group Trax came together to perform a badass cover of “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence. This is the crossover that truly unites K-pop fans and scene kids everywhere.
Taemin – “Get Up” by Skrillex and Korn
Speaking of badass, it doesn’t get heavier than Taemin’s cover of “Get Up” by Korn and Skrillex. While the cover itself goes hard, it’s even better to see the K-pop choreography intertwined. It’s the best of both worlds.
BTS – “Fools” (Troye Sivan)
Before their global big break, BTS members Jungkook and RM released this emotional cover of “Fools” by Troye Sivan. It shows that they aren’t just amazing performers but truly talented vocalists who can take on any genre. Let’s hope there’s a collab in the future.
The Rose – “Chocolate” (The 1975)
J.Fla – “High Hopes” (Panic! At The Disco)
South Korean singer J.Fla rose to fame from posting amazing covers on her YouTube channel from artists such as Billie Eilish, Halsey and this cover of “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco. Truly, her vocal talent is unmatched, and there’s nothing that she can’t sing.
DOYOUNG – “idontwannabeyouanymore” (Billie Eilish)
NCT member DOYOUNG is, like all of us, a major Billie Eilish fan. He’s covered a few of her songs, including this raw take of “idontwannabeyouanymore.” However, his version takes on more of a show-tunes vibe. He performs in a subway station, proving his vocals are on point, no matter where he is. If you like this, check out his renditions of “wish you were gay” and “bad guy” here.