Originally, this post was going to be a larger ranking of all the songs I’ve liked over the years, but that list ended up being way too hard to pare down to something reasonable. I had to come up with some way to limiting it otherwise the list would just keep on growing. In the end, I came up with these:
- To qualify for the list, an artist had to have more than one song that I particularly liked
- Only the top 20 in terms of number of songs liked would be on the list
- Of the artists that made the cut, I’d pick the song I liked the most
- In the case of a tie, the best song would be the tiebreaker
- Subunits/Solo Endeavors count under the main group
*Just as a reminder, this is a ranking of the songs themselves, not of the artists that sing them. The alternate songs are listed in order of release.
20. BoA – Number 1(2002)
It kind of kills me to rank BoA and this song so low, but try as I might, I couldn’t rank it higher. This song does have a special place in my heart as it was one of the very first Kpop songs I ever heard and probably why I gave it the edge over Meri Kuri. It’s been covered countless times over the years and is still one of the most recognizable songs in the industry.
Also Considered: Atlantis Princess(2003), Meri Kuri(2004), Smash(2015)
19. Davichi – Turtle(2013)
Davichi is one of the few groups that I really want to hear live, but just haven’t had the opportunity. Much has been made about the duo’s vocal abilities, especially Lee Haeri, so I’d be very interested to see how good they are in person. This song was pre-released from their second album, and as you can see has become my favorite for them.
Also Considered: Don’t Say Goodbye(2011)
18. Wonder Girls – Nobody(2008)
It was a coin flip between this song and the other one that was considered, but in the end, I gave the nod to arguably their most popular song. The success of the song may have hurt them long run as it was probably one of the reasons that JYP made the curious decision to try to make it in the US market. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but one has to wonder just how big the group could have gotten had they stayed in the Asian market and competed with 2NE1 and SNSD.
Also Considered: Be My Baby(2011)
17. After School – Shampoo(2011)
This is the song that really made me start listening to After School and to this day is still their best song. Interestingly, this is the one group where for the most part I’ve liked the subunit songs more than the main group. Orange Caramel has long been more active and relevant in the Korean Market and I kind of wished they’d kept with the AS Red and Blue Concepts as those songs generally appealed to me more. That being said, this song still edges out any song any of the subunits released.
Also Considered: AS Blue – Wonder Boy(2011), Orange Caramel – My Copycat(2014)
16. miss A – Goodbye Baby(2011)
As you may have noticed already, 2011 was a pretty good year for me songwise. I absolutely loved this song when it came out and it’s a regular on my playlists today. I always thought it was a shame that they’ve never been able to reproduce the popularity they had early on as a group, but Suzy is a household name at this point and Fei is getting there too.
Also Considered: Good Girl, Bad Girl(2010), Only You(2015)
15. NS Yoon G – I Got You(2012)
Like with After School, the song that made me a fan of NS Yoon G is still my favorite song of hers. She’s never won a music show and she pretty much flies under the radar for most of the Korean public it seems, but she’s one of my favorite singers to listen to. She was also pretty damn entertaining on Crime Scene Season 1. There’s no such thing as too much NS Yoon G so here’s hoping her next comeback is a success and leads to more variety appearances.
Also Considered: If You Love Me(2012)
14. Fin.K.L – Ruby(1998)
This was a hard pick for me, and even harder finding decent quality clips of the songs. Fin.K.L has so many classic songs to choose from that picking the best took some time. In fact, this song is a late entry for favorite since I only heard it last year on Infinity Challenge. I never listened to them in their prime so I can’t say that they bring back memories for me, but I can see why they were such a powerhouse group back in the day. Even now, I still find their hits better than a lot of current songs.
Also Considered: To My Boyfriend(1998), Eternal Love(1999), Now(2000)
13. S.E.S. – Love(1999)
Like the above mentioned Ruby, this song was really only brought to my attention through Infinity Challenge. I can see why Bada calls it her favorite as it’s become mine as well. S.E.S. is another group where it was difficult to pick just one song. These are songs that are probably still sung on a regular basis at karaoke and covered endlessly on music programs and specials. I wish Eugene had been able to perform with Bada and Shoo on Infinity Challenge, but Bada did mention they’d always talked about making a comeback so maybe we’ll get to see them again in the future.
Also Considered: I’m Your Girl(1997), I Love You(1998)
12. SISTAR – Loving U(2012)
I’d been generally aware of SISTAR before this song, but this was the first song of theirs that I really enjoyed. My first experience with them was probably at the 2011 KMF in LA. At the time, I considered them a side act to Secret and 4minute, but they’ve surpassed them by a huge margin in popularity now. The koreanjjang can attest to the fact that I’ve never really been a huge fan of the group, but I can’t deny they release some catchy songs.
Also Considered: How Dare You(2010), I Swear(2014)
11. APink – Mr Chu(2014)
While other groups have changed their image over the years, APink has stayed the course with the fresh and innocent look. Guess it paid off in the end as they’re now one of the most popular acts in Korea and probably my 3rd most favorite group. They’ve been slowly gaining popularity with each passing year and one has to wonder if they will continue this image as their members get older. The eldest, Chorong, is only 24 so they could conceivably keep going with it for a few more years, but I’m sure the members would love to do something different. Whatever they do, as long as the music’s good, I’ll still be a fan. Also, please send Na Eun out on more variety. Thanks.
Also Considered: No No No(2013), U You(2013)
10. f(x) – Danger(2011)
f(x) has always been the edgy little sister to SNSD and always seemed to be in their shadow. Starting with this song, I felt they broke out of that shadow and in alot of ways surpassed SNSD in terms of musical quality. Obviously they don’t have the sheer popularity of SNSD, but if you asked me which title song I preferred in each year since 2011, I’d give it to f(x) every time. Victoria needs to come back to variety as she’s always been funny, and baby Jung is always entertaining in her own way whenever she ventures out. Given with what happened with her sister though, it’ll be interesting to see how long Krystal sticks around. Guess I’ll enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Also Considered: Electric Shock(2012), Beautiful Stranger(2012)
9. Secret – Shy Boy(2011)
Guess the 2011 songs are starting to make their final push. It was a tough call between this and my 2014 best song winner, but in the end, I went with the song that really shot Secret to its current level of popularity. I still don’t know how only this and Starlight Moonlight have won on the weekly music shows as Secret’s discography over the years has been pretty damn good. Song Ji Eun has also become arguably my favorite individual singer in Kpop, overtaking my personal bias Jessica, Ailee, Minah, and others. I keep hoping to see her out in variety more, but she’s usually better with at least one other member with her. At least there’s always instagram
Also Considered: Love is Move(2011), I’m in Love(2014)
8. Kara – Step(2011)
To me, this was Kara at its absolute best. It stayed within each of their respective vocal abilities, the instrumental was fantastic, and I’d argue this period was when each member looked their best. I overlooked this song during my 2011 list, but it’s quickly grown to be a favorite. It’s really too bad Nicole and Jiyoung went their separate ways, but you can’t blame them for wanting to pursue other interests and escaping from the craziness of daily idol life. Youngji has been a good addition to the group, at least.
Also Considered: Mister(2009), Dear Kamilas(2011)
7. DalShabet – Be Ambitious(2013)
According to Google Play, this is the song I’ve listed to the most since I’ve started using it exclusively and it’s not even close. Despite all the controversy surrounding this song, it’s one I’ve always really enjoyed from the first time I’ve heard it. I really hope they make a breakthrough soon in popularity as they’ve been active for 4 years now without much commercial success. You barely even see them on variety, and other than Ah Young, they’ve only really had bit roles in acting. Serri deserves some love too, but her day in the sun has yet to come.
Also Considered: Joker(2015)
6. IU – You and I(2011)
Thekoreanjjang probably thinks it’s ridiculous that I ranked this song so low, but I think it’s pretty high. I’ve been pretty much just splitting hairs for the entire list, but really 3-6 is pretty interchangeable for me. IU’s rise to fame was pretty meteoric and even now she’s one of the most popular names in Kpop. Even though all her songs have charted #1 ever since Good Day, I still think her early work was more entertaining to listen to compared to the more mature musical side she’s shown since then. Hopefully, she relaxes a little with her next release later this year
Also Considered: Good Day(2010)
5. Ailee – Evening Sky(2011)
I honestly could not describe to you why this song resonated with me so much. Ailee’s released other ballad tracks on her own albums and for OSTs, but this one stands head and shoulders above the others. It’s the only ballad that doesn’t get an automatic skip when it comes on my playlist in the car and is really the song the solidified her as one of my absolute favorite artists to listen to. I have nothing against her dance tracks, but I think this song is her best by far. The other two songs listed below are a pretty distant second and third.
Also Considered: I Will Show You(2012), No No No(2013)
4. Girls Day – Don’t Flirt(2011)
This was another pretty hard choice for me. Maybe the 2011 influence won me over, but I gave this song the slight edge over the other tracks that were considered for my second favorite group. I still don’t remember how I stumbled upon this song, but it was long after I’d become a fan of theirs. Sometimes I wonder what the group would be like with this lineup with Jihae, but it’s hard to hard to complain with the success they’ve had with the current group. Upbeat songs are definitely their strong suit and hopefully they give one to Minah for her next solo instead of the travesty they gave her this year.
Also Considered: Expectation(2013), Please Tell Me(2013)
3. 4minute – Heart to Heart(2011)
I had the pleasure of hearing this live in 2012 when they performed it in Irvine, CA and it’s still one of my favorite concert memories of all time. It’s a shame that Gayoon wasn’t there, but the others filled in admirably. 4minute, like miss A, I always felt peaked early in their career. Their debut mini album I’ve always felt was their best overall with their first full album a close second. This song in particular has always worked for me partially because I feel it’s one of the most evenly distributed of all their songs. Each member participated equally and generally seemed to have fun on stage with it.
Also Considered: Hot Issue(2009), What a Girl Wants(2009), 2yoon – 24/7(2013)
2. SNSD – Genie(2009)
While I haven’t been as big a fan of SNSD’s music the last several years, their early work was spectacular. There’s no doubt they’re still a powerhouse in the industry, but they’re still more known for the songs released in the first half of their career. I absolutely love the intro where they split and reveal Taeyeon and her solo is still one of my favorite parts of any Kpop song. I’ve been fortunate to hear/see this performed live a few times and it’s sad to think that this will never be performed with the full group again.
Also Considered: Just see here. Posted 3 years ago and still correct.
1. T-ara – Cry Cry(2011)
I couldn’t pick my favorite performance of this, so I found 20 of them. It’s no secret to readers of this blog who my favorite group is and picking my favorite song for them was the hardest of all. T-ara is the one group where I can say the I’ve really enjoyed pretty much every song they’ve released. I debated this back and forth more times than I can count but inevitably settled on this one. 6-ara is still my favorite lineup, but this 7-ara lineup with Hwayoung was definitely when they peaked in popularity. If not for Hwagate, I’m convinced T-ara would rival SNSD and 2NE1 in terms of popularity at this point. Since I can’t change the past, though, I’ll just have to settle for them putting out great music year after year.
Also Considered: TTL(2009), I Go Crazy Because of You(2010), Roly Poly(2011), Number 9(2013), Sugar Free(2014)