The Ultimate Fictional Band Playlist: K-Pop Edition

GeekDad
5 min readApr 9, 2024
The Ultimate Fictional Band Playlist: K-Pop Edition

Recently, a short film, Seoul Switch, has been getting some attention in the film fest circuit. Directed and written by Liann Kaye (The Blessing), the film is about an insecure Ohio kid and an international K-Pop star who happen to look uncannily alike. Upon meeting, they decide to switch identities for a while, and the two explore the trials and triumphs of each other’s lives.

Since I haven’t gotten a chance to see this new short, I’ll just say star Kevin Woo (an American-born former member of the boy group U-KISS) looks like he is throwing his heart and soul into the role.

Woo isn’t the first member of U-KISS to join the ranks of the fictional K-Pop idol, but it is always interesting to see an idol-turned-actor become an idol once more via their chosen roles. As a matter of fact, many “fake” K-Pop and Korean rock groups have released some pretty great music, thanks to the presence of real talent. Shows like Imitation and Let Me Be Your Knight have done a good job showing the unpleasant side of life as an idol, from exploitation by their companies to dealing with brutally toxic fans (though not all fans, of course). It also solidified the diverse talent of some of these performers.

I haven’t created a “fake band” playlist for GeekMom since I wrote about bands from Spinal Tap to Sex Bob-Omb to Robin Sparkles in 2016 and 2017, so it is time to update my list… with an all K-Pop and Korean rock lineup.

Shax: “Amen”

Shax is the main boy band in the series Imitation. The moody leader, Ryeok, is portrayed by former U-KISS member Lee Jun-Young. Lee is now a prolific actor, and you’ll be seeing him later on this list. Other members included musician Yuri Park, who’s done some amazing solo and collaborative work, Hwi Young and Kang Chan-Hee of SF9, and Jong Ho of ATEEZ. The big song pushed was their hit “Malo,” but “Amen” has a more driving sound that I like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znZIbxT727U

If you’re an ATINY, you already know about Jon Ho’s presence in the series, as well as three other members of ATEEZ cast as part of another boy band:

Sparkling: “Diamond”

Sparkling was another group under the same management of Shax and included the series’ secondary love interest, played by Yunho of ATEEZ. Personally, he would have been my choice, but anyway. The group also featured ATEEZ members Seonghwa and San, as well as Hyung-ho from the group Boys Republic. According to our family’s resident scholar on all things ATEEZ, my oldest daughter, they were cast in this show because ATEEZ was going to actually become successful as a group. Well, ATEEZ more than made it, and we’ll be seeing them as the first K-Pop boy group to perform at the Coachella music festival this month!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1bPYvccOFQ

Tea Party: “Show Me”

This is the primary girl group in Imitation, which features the show’s main character, Ma-Ha, played by actress Jung Ji-So. None of the members were actually former K-Pop idols, but that doesn’t matter because they nailed the look and sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_mSPGiJ3zQ

Luna: “Beautiful Breakup” and “Love Paranoia”

Luna was the band-in-crisis in Let Me Be Your Knight, and once again the leader is played by Lee Jun-Young. Every member of this band is a solid musician, (even non-idol Jang Dong-Joo. Members who are idols are JR from NU’EST, former Wanna One member Yoon Ji-Sang, and Kim Dong-Hyun of AB6IX. This is one band that could easily sell records. Their sound is so good, I had to give you two songs, starting with their aptly named album title track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJQAUKIS36s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XkGK_1i4yA

Watermelon Sugar: “Shining”

Okay, technically this ’90s band pre-dates the wave of K-Pop idols today, but the series Twinkling Watermelon was popular last year, and they packed a big punch. All of the band’s members are skilled performers, and actor Ryeo-Un (Eun-Gyeol) learned both guitar and sign language for the show. However, none of the band members are idols. The actual song is performed by musician Kim Han Gyeom (who is excellent, by the way).

There are members of a boy band in the cast. Bong Jae-Hyun of Golden Child, who played Eun-Gyeol’s hearing-impaired brother, and Eun Gyeol’s “future” band, Spine9, features Koo Jun-Hoe of iKON.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhxOp19Bzhk

If you want a little more on the plot of Twinkling Watermelon, check out my post on the show.

Come Back Madonna: “A Million Roses”

The drama I Am Legend goes back to 2010, but these wonderful older women (in the idol sense) deserve some love. They prove you can strive and make your mark once again in the world, regardless of age. None of these band members are or were idols, but they are all going strong in the drama world. If you can find this drama, I recommend a watch. If not, give them a listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUPgEMyMFIY

We’ll go back to 2011 for the final installment:

The Stupid: “You’ve Fallen for Me”

This Heartstrings band consists of two members of the pop-rock band CNBlue, with vocalist/guitarist YongHwa (who is also currently touring with a solo career) and drummer Kang Min-Hyuk, which explains why this group of amateur students sounds so dang polished. This song is the actual title of the drama, which for some reason is called Heartstrings in some regions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNlHfWh3HRs

They also did a cool rock cover of Bizet’s “Habanera” with the help of the more traditional-minded WindFlower (featuring Doctor Slump star Park Shin-Hye).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnI3smMEwrQ

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — -it doesn’t matter if the characters in the band are fictional, if the music is good, they are really enough for me. If any of these bands catch your fancy, grab a light stick, practice your fan chants, and…

Make some NOOIIISEEE!

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