When SM Entertainment announced that EXO would be releasing Miracles in December, many international K-Pop fans, most specifically those in the West, assumed that the song would emphasize the miraculous stories often told around Christmastime. Once the single was released, many international fans expressed confusion over the subject matter of the song, which had nothing to do with immaculate conception and more to do with rekindling romance with a lost loved one. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the music on EXO’s mini album sounds like. With song titles like Lonely Christmas, K-Pop focuses not only on those who are in a relationship, individuals who are without that special someone.
In Western societies, particularly the United States, elaborate gift giving and routines have started to outweigh the aspect of spending time with others at Christmas. In South Korea, 30% of the population is Christian, making it one of the largest populations for Christianity in East Asia. Christmas is recognized as a public holiday in South Korea, unlike China and Japan. Korean Christians will incorporate attending church services, however, among the general population Christmas is more of romantic and family holiday.
While Korea has many couples holidays, Christmas joins Valentine’s Day and White Day as a holiday to commemorate the joys of love. Couples will often time their 100 day anniversary to synchronize with the celebration of Christmas and customs such as dining out on the holiday are common. The difference in the dynamic of Christmas is reflected in the most recent K-Pop releases.
Cube Entertainment’s Christmas Song addresses the juxtaposition of Christmas as both a time for those who are single and those who are celebrating romance. As it is a label wide song, the emphasis on surrounding oneself with friends can be seen in the music video.
2BiC soulfully sings about not being able to recover from an unforgettable romance. The concept is reconciliation and strongly delivering emotions during a Lonely Christmas.
For couples who want to celebrate togetherness at Christmas, FNC Entertainment is set to release Juniel and CNBLUE Lee Jonghyun’s Romantic J with the romantically shot music video Love Falls. Love Falls will convey a sweet high school romance and may be the much needed antidote to the influx of sad holiday music.
As the world comes together for the holidays, couples in Korea will make up or break up for Christmas. K-Pop continues to reflect both social and marketing trends by offering songs that cater to both ends of the spectrum. Upcoming releases like Juniel’s Love Falls and the full EXO mini album will be much welcome additions to the music library of K-Pop audiences.