2011 was a great year for Kpop. Just about every major group released at least an album, and there were multiple surprise songs that took home awards at the weekly music charts. Here I will discuss the top 10 songs from 2011 that I really enjoyed.
10. Don’t Say Goodbye – Davichi
The pop ballad duo of Davichi has always put out good songs, but this one is definitely my favorite. In an industry flooded with idol groups, to succeed simply on the strength of their singing abilities is amazing. As always, Kang Min Kyung and Lee Haeri display their incredible vocal abilities to create an impressive melody that leaves you wanting more. They skillfully weave their voices together to vividly display the heart-wrenching emotions of the song. I especially loved the chorus for the song and am apparently not alone as they took home wins on both Inkigayo and Music Core. Listen to it here.
9. Be My Baby – Wonder Girls
The Wonder Girls returned to the Korean music scene after an absence of almost a year and a half and showed why they are one of the leaders of the Kpop wave. When I started following kpop they weren’t very active, and I was really only familiar with “Nobody”, so I was interested in seeing what they would put out. This song not only met my expectations, but completely blew them away. The strong vocals and interesting dance routine made this one song that routinely watched on the weekly music shows. They won a triple crown on Inkigayo and took home an additional 2 wins on M! Countdown. Listen to it here.
8. Danger – f(x)
Though I did like Nu Abo, I was really thankful when they released this song because it meant I didn’t have to listen to it everytime they went on a variety show. That being said, Danger is definitely my favorite song of theirs. I think this concept visually played to all the strengths of each individual members, and I was happy to see Krystal have an increased vocal role as well as she’s my favorite member of the group. They took home triple crowns on Inkigayo and M! Countdown, and won twice on Music Bank. Listen to it here.
7. Goodbye Baby – miss A
This is, hands down, their best song in my opinion. Yes, Bad Girl, Good Girl was arguably more successful, but at the end of the day I’d much rather listen to this one. Also, this is the song that made me a fan of theirs. I believe they should have won more on the charts, but they went up against some stiff competition: T-ara, 2NE1, 2PM, and Super Junior. As it stands they still took home a win each on Inkigayo, Music Bank, and M! Countdown. Listen to it here.
6. Intuition – CN Blue
Just like how I’m impressed with Davichi’s ability to succeed as a purely vocal group, I’m impressed with CN Blue’s ability to succeed as a band. In my opinion, they’ve passed labelmate FT Island for most popular band in the industry at this point in time. The person they can thank most for this is lead singer Jung Yong Hwa. His role in You’re Beautiful and being on We Got Married with Seohyun of SNSD really helped them get their name out. You can read about them here. That said, this song is still one of my favorites of the year and won 3 times each on M! Countdown and Music Bank, and once on Inkigayo. Listen to it here.
5. Shy Boy – Secret
Secret has had some successful songs in the past, but none as popular as the one they release in January of last year. Ditching their previous fierce image for a cuter one, Shy Boy caused the group’s popularity to skyrocket. I was one of the fans who was surprised by the change, but I really enjoyed the upbeat tempo and was impressed by the improvement that each member showed vocally. This song definitely solidified them as one of the top girl groups in the country. They took home 3 Music Bank wins, and a win each on Inkigayo and M! Countdown. Listen to it here.
4. You and I – IU
Since her massive hit “Good Day” in 2010, IU’s been dubbed as the “nation’s little sister”. Well, little sister sure can sing. To succeed at such a young age and as a solo singer isn’t something just anyone can do. Her vocal talent is one of the best in the industry, and I’d personally place her in the top 3 female singers, if not singers all together. Her MV was also especially well done, and you can read about it here
. There were high expectations for her newest song and she did not disappoint. Despite going up against the likes of SNSD, Wonder Girls, and T-ara, the 18-year-old vocalist emerged with an Inkigayo triple crown and an amazing 6 straight wins on Music Bank. Listen to the song here.
3. Heart to Heart – 4minute
Didn’t see this pick coming, did you? What about Mirror, Mirror, you might ask? Well, it’s a good song, but my favorite song of the year from 4minute, and 3rd most of the year, is this one. In a change of pace from their usual sound and style, 4minute released an album of songs that showed that they weren’t limited to the style that made them famous. Sure they didn’t win any awards for this one, but it was nice to see them try something different. I found the music video extremely entertaining as well as you get to see the girls exact revenge on Lee Jung Shin from CN Blue. Listen to it here.
2. Cry Cry – T-ara
Let’s face it, this song had no chance of winning the weekly music show awards. Going up against SNSD, Wonder Girls, IU is a monumental task, but still they managed to win twice on M! Countdown. Accolades aside, Cry Cry was one of the few songs that I liked from teaser to release. I was already a huge fan of T-ara and was still somehow surprised by how much I liked this song. I also greatly enjoyed the extended storyline MV that was released. You can read my full analysis of this song here
. Suffice to say, 2011 was a good year for T-ara and their Cry Cry promotions ended the year strong. Listen to the song here.
1. Roly Poly – T-ara
Sure I might be showing my own bias, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the two songs that played most on my mp3 player were both by T-ara. It is also a testament to how good of a year they had. This is another song that won less than some of the others on this list, but this was still arguably the song of the year. It appealed to all age groups and demographics and was far and away the most downloaded song of the year according to the various music portals. You can read my full analysis of the song here. This song was the first of 3 that T-ara would release in 2011 that hit #1 on the music portals and definitely my choice for song of the year Listen to it here.
Special Mention: Almost – Jessica(SNSD)
While not a song that was released on any album, this cover that Sica performed during SNSD’s Japan Tour is definitely one that ranks up there with any of the others on this list. No long description here, I’ll just let her show you why she’s my favorite singer.