Of all Korean girl groups, Girls’ Generation has the longest catalog of title tracks. They’re one of the few kpop acts who have managed tremendous success in Japan, and most of their j-pop singles are as good (or better) than their Korean material. Throughout their lengthy career, they’ve tackled almost every color of kpop, from the bubbly to the fierce and back again. So how do their singles stack up? I’ve gotta say, quite a few great songs just barely missed the list. Before we get started, special honorable mentions have to go to Hoot, Run Devil Run, and Love & Girls.
10. The Boys (2011)
Not one of their more melodic tracks, but an important, more hip-hop oriented, shift in their sound. It succeeds more as a spectacle than a song, but what a spectacle it is!
9. Oh! (2010)
Resistance is futile the moment the song opens with that 80’s-esque hook. And the thing is, that’s not even the main chorus! Girl’s Day can thank Oh! for basically being the template for their entire first three years of their career.
8. Bad Girl (2011)
Mr. Taxi established this sleek dance-pop sound earlier in 2011, but Bad Girl showcased a stronger hook and more effortless melody.
7. Flower Power (2012)
The best example of the group’s more electronic Japanese sound, Flower Power boasts a bright synth line and a hook that hits you harder than expected.
6. I Got A Boy (2013)
A Frankenstein tapestry of song fragments, I Got A Boy is one of the most complex, genre-smashing singles in their entire career. You’ll either love or hate its abrupt transitions in sound and melody. Either way, it stands as a fascinating entry in the kpop genre.
5. Gee (2009)
Certainly their most iconic single, and one of the best-known songs in all of kpop. There’s no denying the power of Gee‘s bubblegum blast. The only thing that holds it back from being higher on the list is a sense of novelty that makes it feel more like a kpop moment rather than an actual song.
4. Paparazzi (2012)
The crowning achievement of their Japanese discography, with an epic music video to match. The beat struts forward with an intense throb, framing a giant, fierce chorus.
3. Into The New World (2007)
As a fan of the group’s meatier sound from back in their debut days, Into The New World represents a certain, jpop-inspired production that bursts forth with energy. The girls would rarely return to this anthemic, propulsive style.
2. Girls’ Generation (2007)
It seems strange to rank a cover song so high, but as one of the group’s debut tracks, Girls’ Generation will forever be tied directly to them. It’s a marvel of glossy, full-bodied production, with a hook that fully displays the power a nine-member vocal group can create. Coming out of the gate so flawlessly during their debut year, it’s no surprise that they quickly became Korea’s number one girl group.
1. Tell Me Your Wish (Genie) (2009)
Following on the heels of Gee‘s gargantuan success must have been daunting, but the girls quickly came back with the best single of their career. Though not quite as iconic as Gee, Genie does one better by offering edgier, more hard-hitting production, addictive choreography, and a series of rapid-fire hooks that have held up for over half a decade. Of all their singles, it’s the absolute best representation of what makes Girls’ Generation so special.