Billboard recently put out a list of K-Pop songs that made the 2010s. It was a pretty solid compilation but as a person who can’t seem to be contented with anything, I decided to come up with one. Think of it as some other hits from the decade that may have flew over your radars but will remind you how definitive they were for the expansion of this genre. Get into it below.
P.S.: These are in no definite order because they are based on when I remembered them, lol.
Infinite | Be Mine – Most fans would consider “The Chaser” as the group’s magnum opus (a solid argument, yes) but it was Be Mine that built the foundation. Be Mine is the template that Sweetune used in creating classic boy group pieces with their signature sound and style.
9Muses | Ticket – It’s difficult to choose a song from the Muses to best represent their presence and impact in the 2010s with their almost perfect streak of title tracks. For the purposes of this post, I chose “Ticket” as it best represents the 9Muses breakthrough that did not take off the way we wanted to.
Marionette | Stellar – In retrospect, Stellar may have started the discussion about the elephant on the room that the industry tries to deliberately avoid. What started out as a bid for a flicker of fame with the more suggestive “Marionette”, Stellar became vessels of the harrowing open secrets of this industry. While the group may have not found the biggest success they rightfully deserve, Stellar will remain as one of the bravest and most intelligent groups to have graced the K-Pop scene. Metapop queens, come through!!
SECRET | Poison – This quartet was one of the second-generation groups who were able to hop back and forth from two contrasting concepts with ease (the other one being Girls’ Generation) and Poison is a manifestation of them pulling off sexy and brassy comebacks like the bosses that they are. I miss SECRET!!!
Snuper | Platonic Love – Platonic Love came in a time when Sweetune’s presence in the industry was close to non-existent after the big names associated with the team ditched them for other producers. But with smaller groups like Snuper bringing them on board, it proved that their sound is timeless and will work regardless of the group they are collaborating with. It’s a great move for the group too as it separated them from the slew of rookies pandering to trends in order to secure a hit.
B.A.P | Warrior – If only TS Entertainment got themselves together and did not fuck everything up, B.A.P would have been where BTS is now to be honest. They were the original antithesis to the monopoly of the Big 3 in K-Pop and a key character in the transition of genre to the third generation. This group came in as warriors with an impeccable debut, fought through their career as warriors, and will be honored as warriors.
After School | Let’s Do It/Bang! – This is a song that I will always brag to non-fans and basically those who wonder why the hell I stan these groups whose songs I don’t understand. In an arena such as pop music where legitimacy is always questioned, we have After School who always went beyond standards and went on to become performance artists. Let’s Do It!, along with their other performance pieces, was a testament to the hardwork and creativity beaming in this industry.
Red Velvet | Automatic – Red Velvet’s dual concept has been a great help to the group in displaying versatility. In an arena of girl groups finding base among cute, fierce, or sexy concepts, you will see Red Velvet gliding through quiet storm tracks like Automatic that no other modern girl group can replicate. Interestingly, all their Red tracks have inspired their contemporaries (sometimes to even better results) but it is the group’s Velvet persona that makes them the best idol group alive, just like what Billboard sunbaenim said.
Girl’s Day | Twinkle Twinkle – Right before this group found success with a shift to a sexier image, Girl’s Day were in a league of their own with their comical brand of K-Pop. It’s sad to see them let go of a concept that is arguably novel to them but with all the crap they deal with, they better go where the dough is!
CHI CHI | Love Is Energy – A lot of you may not know CHI CHI but they are a short-lived group that served pretty original bops. Both this and Longer deserved more shine and them not getting what’s rightfully theirs is a proof that there are tons of diamonds in the rough totally buried in this cutthroat industry.
2PM | A.D.T.O.Y – 2PM maintained their titles as “beast-dols” quite well when they were actively promoting and A.D.T.O.Y was a great evolution of this image. A softer yet more sensual side with this comeback but with the trademark 2PM charm surely made them stand out from the rest.
Lovelyz | WoW – It’s sad to see WoW shunned when we talk about Lovelyz as this is one of their finest moments. Combining their signature concept with an effervescent splash of funk and jazz is something you wouldn’t expect from them but hey, this is K-Pop we are talking about – anything can happen. And Lovelyz did that!
SHINee | Everybody – 2013 was an exceptionally loaded year for SHINee with successive comebacks which displayed how much of a force they are to be reckoned with. Although there are a lot to choose from to represent this group, it’s in the over-the-top energy of Everybody where they displayed how superhuman K-Pop can get that it’s mind-blowing sometimes.
Orange Caramel | Lipstick – The best sub-unit of the 2010s without a doubt (sorry, TTS), Orange Caramel’s Lipstick showcases their brand coming in full circle – commercial yet undeniably kooky and klutz at the same time.
TVXQ! | Spellbound – TVXQ has repeatedly displayed their capacity post-OT5 but it’s in their jazzy 2014 era where they showed everyone why they are indeed the rising gods from the East. A spin of Spellbound and its MV will show you how much the newer kids have to catch up on.
SF9 | Now or Never – In a nutshell, this is one of the best songs from the newer wave of boy groups. And it is totally frustrating to see them not bank of this sound when it fact it’s the concept that will give them the identity they’ve been looking for.
BIGBANG | Love Song – This K-Pop royalty may be known for their “electro-hop” sound but I do prefer moments like this when I find them really “cool”. Bad Boy may get this kind of reputation but I will argue that Love Song, with its angst and edge, deserves the same amount of shine.
Ga-In | Bloom – Sexy concepts in K-Pop usually only scratch the surface in discussing the beauty of sexual liberation. Unless you are Ga-In. With this diva’s releases, sexuality can be tormented (Fxxk U), rebellious (Paradise Lost), and in the case of Bloom – blissful. Without a doubt, her solo career is one of the most trailblazing movements in bringing almost “taboo” concepts to mainstream consciousness and if that didn’t define the decade, I don’t know what else would.
Park Ji Yoon | Beep – From being a pioneer in mature concepts in the 2000s to a formidable force this decade, Park Ji Yoon is a soloist that thrived in repackaging herself every time she comes back. Beep, in particular, sees her blend in with the fresher crowd easily. And when paired with her other promotional track “Inner Space”, it exposes the spectrum of the art she has established over the years.
Crayon Pop | FM – FM is like one big energy ball containing all the forces that make K-Pop unique – from its kitsch down to its unabashed capacity to steer its vision wherever it wants to. What makes it more special is the fact that it is lodged to us by Crayon Pop, who will forevee remain to be one of the industry’s biggest rebels. What an honor.
What other songs from the 2010s do you think made an impact in the Hallyu world? Let me know in the comments below. And here’s a YouTube Music playlist for these bops because I’m obsessed with this app.