BTS' Spring Day, Red Velvet's One of These Nights, and more; 5 K-pop songs with tributes to Sewol Ferry tragedy

Marking 10 years since the Sewol Ferry tragedy, we honor the victims through K-pop tributes. From BTS' Spring Day to Red Velvet's One of These Nights, these songs offer solace and remembrance.

Published on Apr 16, 2024  |  02:56 PM IST |  180.2K
BTS, Red Velvet; Image Courtesy: BIGHIT MUSIC, SM Entertainment
BTS, Red Velvet; Image Courtesy: BIGHIT MUSIC, SM Entertainment
Key Highlight
  • April 16, 2024 marks a decade since the Sewol Ferry tragedy took lives of 304 people
  • 5 K-pop songs that hold references in tribute to the Sewol Ferry tragedy

Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of death.

As we mark the solemn anniversary of the Sewol Ferry tragedy, which claimed the lives of 304 individuals, the K-pop industry has offered poignant tributes through music. Five notable songs stand as poignant reminders, weaving themes of solace and remembrance into their lyrics and melodies.

About the Sewol Ferry tragedy

The Sewol Ferry tragedy, which occurred on April 16, 2014, stands as one of South Korea's most heart-wrenching disasters. The ferry, en route from Incheon to Jeju, sank, claiming the lives of 304 individuals, most of whom were students from Danwon High School. The nation was left reeling from the shock and grief of the loss, compounded by the revelation of negligence and misconduct by the ferry's captain and crew.

The aftermath saw a wave of social and political upheaval, with widespread criticism directed towards the ferry's operators, regulatory bodies, and the government's handling of the disaster. Despite legal proceedings resulting in some convictions, many families continue to seek justice and closure, grappling with the pain of their unimaginable loss.

As South Korea commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Sewol Ferry sinking, the world stands united in remembrance, honoring the memory of the lives lost and advocating for accountability to ensure such tragedies never recur.

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5 K-pop songs that pay homage to the victims of the Sewol Ferry tragedy

1. Spring Day by BTS


BTS' Spring Day is not just a song; it's a poignant tribute layered with symbolism. While the lyrics convey themes of loss and longing, the music video's visual storytelling resonates deeply. Many fans and media outlets have speculated that the imagery in the video references the Sewol Ferry tragedy, honoring the memory of the lives lost on April 16, 2014.

BTS' artistic interpretation, coupled with heavy symbolism, transcends the boundaries of a typical music video, transforming "Spring Day" into an emotional homage to the victims and a powerful reminder of the collective grief endured by a nation.

2. Yellow Ocean by Cheetah and Jung Sung Hwan


Yellow Ocean emerges as more than just a song; it becomes a vessel for collective mourning and a plea for remembrance. Cheetah's raw rap delivery, paired with Jang Sung Hwan's hard-hitting vocals, creates an emotional journey through the depths of despair and the quest for closure.

With each verse, they confront the haunting aftermath of the Sewol Ferry tragedy, urging listeners to confront the harsh realities of loss and injustice. Through their performance, Yellow Ocean transcends entertainment, becoming a heartfelt tribute to the lives lost and a call for societal reflection and healing.

3. Stardust by Lee Won Hee


Stardust by Lee Won Hee embodies the ethereal essence of memory and loss, woven into the fabric of a haunting melody. Inspired by the profound grief of parents who lost their children in the Sewol Ferry tragedy, his composition serves as a poignant tribute to their enduring love and longing.

Sung by Kim Dongwan of Shinhwa, the song's tender notes resonate with the universal ache of loss, evoking a sense of cosmic connection between the departed and the living. Through Stardust, Lee captures the essence of shared sorrow and the luminous legacy of those who shine on as celestial beacons in the night sky.

4. Red Light by f(x)

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Red Light by f(x) encapsulates the turmoil and urgency surrounding the Sewol Ferry tragedy with its dark and intense concept. The song's lyrics, laden with phrases like "warning" and "emergency exit," subtly critique the disaster, echoing the sense of crisis and impending danger felt during the incident.

Through its urban rhythm and electro-house genre, Red Light serves as both a sonic warning and a poignant reminder to pause and reflect on life's fleeting moments, mirroring the sentiments of loss and introspection in the aftermath of the tragedy.

5. One of These Nights by Red Velvet


One of These Nights by Red Velvet subtly references the Sewol Ferry tragedy through its somber themes and symbolic imagery. The song's release date coincides with the tragic incident's lunar calendar date, while the blurred image of member Yeri on the album cover represents her being the same age as the victims.

Scenes in the music video, such as Yeri lying on a boat and drowning, along with other members' actions symbolizing escape and observation, further allude to the disaster. The use of candles and hoods in the video serves as a commemoration of the incident, while the delay in the MV's release hints at the government's slow response to the crisis.

Disclaimer: The references drawn in each song and its music video are entirely based on fan observations and theory. 

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ALSO READ: What are BTS' representative animal emojis and what do they mean? EXPLAINED

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About The Author

Saumya is Journalism & Mass-Communication graduate with a specialization in digital journalism. She comes with nearly a

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Credits: BIGHIT MUSIC, SM Entertainment
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