(**Outdated list — check out the 2021 update here!)
Super Junior are one of the biggest groups in all of Korea, and have developed into legends in the world of kpop. So how do you rate a legend? With Super Junior, it was a little easier than I anticipated. Though they’ve been around for over a decade now, their career boasts several peaks that stood out to me right away. They’re also a group with numerous solos and sub-units, none of which will be eligible for this list (though at some point I may work on a separate countdown with those specifically in mind).
10. Dancing Out (2006)
I doubt whether Dancing Out is on too many people’s best of lists, simply because it’s not one of the group’s better-known comebacks. Released on an SM summer compilation nearly a decade ago, the song impresses with its upbeat, catchy melody and party atmosphere.
9. This Is Love (2014)
While I was somewhat underwhelmed with Mamacita, This Is Love stormed in two months later with a sleek, suave concept and an addictive chorus. For me, it was the beginning of their resurgence.
8. Superman (2011)
While it may not be an official comeback, this special song for the fans effectively showcased a more hip-hop oriented sound for the group. It’s a bit silly in places, but those thundering drums help sell the track’s reach for grandeur.
7. Twins (Knock Out) (2005)
Their debut single, and if you can get past the bad hair and styling in the video, the song itself holds up as a surprisingly effective, rock-tinged funk assault.
6. It’s You (2009)
An early career standout. The repeated vocal ad-lib acts as a rhythmic through-line, but the surging chorus is the song’s knockout punch and one of the group’s best melodic moments.
5. A-Cha (2011)
For several years, Super Junior specialized in a certain brand of rhythmic, beat driven dance music. A-Cha added rock guitars, resulting in a punchy power pop production that stands as one of the most energetic tracks they’ve recorded.
4. Sorry, Sorry (2009)
Their most iconic moment, and one of the most well-known, enduring kpop songs of the last ten years. Its skeletal beat and melody translate effectively to any culture. Younger idol groups will be covering that chorus for decades to come.
3. Sexy, Free & Single (2012)
Building on the successful template of Sorry Sorry and Mr. Simple, Sexy, Free & Single injected a fresh jolt of synth-splashed 80’s funk to craft a potent dance track that manages to overcome some truly cringe-worthy English lyrics through the sheer power of its euphoric sound.
2. Mr. Simple (2011)
The meatier, more addictive older brother to Sorry, Sorry, Mr. Simple is the product of a bygone era in kpop. While I usually favor songs where melody takes the lead, it’s impossible to resist the jagged, staccato delivery of the shout-along chorus and the electric energy thrown off from its off-kilter production choices.
1. Devil (2015)
Longtime Super Junior fans may balk at such a new song taking the top spot, but the truth is, no SJ track has ever charmed me as much as Devil. It’s the perfect combination of expertly distilled pop melody and effortless cool. You hear it once and you’re hooked. You hear it twice and you’ll never be able to forget that breezy, knockout chorus. It may not be their most dramatic or representative song, but it features the band at a point where they no longer need to prove themselves, and can take a blissed-out victory lap around the competition instead.