[OP-ED This post reflects the opinions of the author and not those of allkpop.]
Even with all of the amazing comebacks, it feels like idol groups have been having a hard time charting this year. Asides from a select number of releases like BTS’ “Boy With Luv,” ITZY’s “Dalla Dalla,” and a few other songs by other artists, even top groups like Red Velvet are having difficulty making it into the Top 10. The lack of idol presence on the charts comes down to one main reason: the rise of ballad singers.
Korea’s love for ballads doesn’t seem to end. In fact, EXO’s Chen crushed EXO’s listener record with his solo releases. In 2019, Chen made his debut with the EP “April, and a Flower” which peaked at number two on the Gaon Album Chart. Later in 2019, he also released his second EP “Dear My Dear” which had just as much success, if not even more — charting at number one upon its release. Furthermore, Akdong Musician’s first single following Chanhyuk’s return “How Can I Love the Heartbreak, You’re the One I Love,” claimed number one on the Gaon Digital, Download, and Streaming Chart for the month of October.
Independent artists have also been releasing some amazing new singles that have been irresistible. Jang Bum Joon’s OST “Your Shampoo Scent in the Flowers,” Im Jae Hyun’s “I’m a Little Drunk,” and Paul Kim’s OST “Hello” are just a few of the many ballad songs that are in Gaon Digital Chart’s Top 10 for the month of October. There are no idol group songs on the Top 10 (with the exception of Akdong Musician), which is a little surprising.
Hotel Del Luna’s success during the summer may have also impacted the chart results. During the time when many artists were promoting, including Red Velvet with their summer comeback “Umpah Umpah,” Hotel Del Luna’s OSTs completely took over the charts. In fact, at one point, Gaon’s Digital Chart looked like this:
- Hotel Del Luna OST - Punch
- Hotel Del Luna OST - Paul Kim
- Hotel Del Luna OST - Gummy
- Hotel Del Luna OST - Taeyeon
- Hotel Del Luna OST - Maktub
Given the fact that Red Velvet achieved an entire PAK with their “Power Up” summer comeback last year, I was really surprised to find that they were unable to even make it to the Top 10.
This isn’t to say that these ballad singers are not talented, or are less deserving of success than idol artists. It’s just interesting that despite the numerous releases from K-Pop groups, Korea consistently continues to love their ballads.
So even though idol groups may not be charting as well this year, fans shouldn’t be disappointed. There are certainly many songs and artists that should have gotten more recognition, but we can’t change the fact that ballads have been loved in Korea for a long period of time, and will continue to be loved.