Trot music plays a significant part in Korea’s cultural history. One can trace its origin as far back as the early 1900s. And as this was an era of the country under Japanese rule, it understandably carries a lot of Japanese influence. However, it also has a mixture of more Western and of course, distinctly Korean flavours which sets it apart from all other musical genres.
Despite suffering ups and downs in its popularity over the century, it has enjoyed quite a revival over the past two decades as many young K-Pop stars have given us a new version of the style.
We hope this playlist adequately depicts both the traditional and the modern takes on this great area of music!
1. Cho Yong Pil – ‘Dear Friend’
Whilst Cho Yong Pil is not exactly a trot singer, his work could be said to straddle the older and newer phases in South Korea’s musical history. He really is a legend of music, and he is looked up to by many modern artists. His fans range from young to old and this particular song shows just how easily he can enthral his audience even with more solemn tracks.
2. Jang Yun Jeong – ‘Omona!’
Jang Yun Jeong is one of the many modern artists accredited with bringing Trot back into the forefront of modern consciousness. This track was a very big hit for her when it was released back in 2005. You can really hear the classic Trot-style of singing which requires a powerful, yet well-controlled singing voice.
3. Park Hyun Bin – ‘Shabang Shabang’
Park Hyun Bin is a singer that really seems to feel the music when he performs. He has a phenomenal voice, and ‘Shabang Shabang’ is a song that will surely get you moving and smiling no matter what your opinions are on the Trot genre as a whole.
4. Hong Jin Young – ‘Love’s Battery’
Another sweetheart of modern trot here. Hong Jin Young has enjoyed a large amount of popularity over the years and her recent appearances on variety shows have compounded her image as an energetic, yet friendly individual. ‘Love’s Battery’ is one of her best-known tracks to date.
5. Super Junior T – ‘Rokkugo’
Super Junior’s sub-groups show that they are idols with a lot of versatility – perhaps this is to be expected from a group originally intended to be ‘variety-dols’. Super Junior T (Trot) is a group that arguably fulfils that intention as the usually cool idols are shown being silly and cross-dressing in this MV. Unfortunately, SM Entertainment has not re-visited this sub-group for a few years now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy what they have already given us! Get up and dance!
6. Tae Jin Ah – ‘Companion’
Coming back to the traditionalists again, here we have another long-time heavy-hitter in the Trot genre. Tae Jin Ah has been active since the early 70s, but is still gaining recognition today. His raspy voice and sweetly joyful demeanour are sure to put a smile on your face.
7. Daesung – ‘Look at me, Gwisoon’
Were you waiting for this guy to make an appearance? Yes, Daesung is what comes to the mind of many young K-Pop fans when the word Trot is mentioned. This infectious song was actually written by his fellow BIG BANG member G-Dragon after he came up with the hook-line on a whim when the group were appearing on a variety show. We have a performance of the Korean version here, but he recently released a humourous MV for the Japanese version. If you are in need of a pick-me-up, look no further!
8. Park Sang Chul – ‘Unconditional’
You only need to have seen a few programmes to have heard this particular song. It is almost done to death in the form of modern performances and parodies. However, this is clearly within good reason. You can see all the typical traits of Trot portrayed through this single track – the strong voice, effortless vibrato, catchy hook and simple beat.
9. Na Hoon Ah – ‘To Ignore’
Another trot legend, Na Hoon Ah, has a voice like velvet. Unfortunately, scandals and a rather eventful press conference in his later life have meant that he is often talked about for reasons other than his singing talents. No matter what though, he continues to draw large audiences to his concerts. He’s still got it!
10. Gag Concert Trot Special
To finish off this playlist, we have a Gag Concert Trot Special from a few years back. Here you can see many of your favourite K-Pop stars perform silly trot versions of their songs!
Did you like this playlist? Listen to it on YouTube here!